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  1. #1

    1st Brew ever - MJ Belgian Pilsner


    So, I started my first ever brew on Friday last week.

    I thought things weren't great when the powder I had to add was a solid block and some smaller clumps made it into the fermenter (luckily I was told that it happens and it's not such a biggie). We added a little more hot water than was called for. This extra hot water took the temps up way too high to pitch the yeast, so I decided to wait till the next morning.

    After pitching the yeast, it started to to work after a few hours. The airlock has been going crazy 24/7 since then. This morning I go look and see it's calmed down a lot and only bubbling now and then.

    From what I've read so far, it seems that the general consensus is that one should wait a few days longer than the recipe says. If I remember, the recipe calls for 5-7 days. I'm in no rush, even though I'd love to get going with my second batch. I was thinking that maybe Sunday or Monday would be a good day to think of bottling? What would you experienced people advise?

    Then regarding the bottling and bottles. I found someone that has 14 cases of empty Lion lager court's, cases included. He said he would sell it to me for R500. Is that a fair price? Will those bottles work with my Mangrove Jack's Micro Brewery kit's capper and caps?

    When I have my beer bottled, where do I keep them, because I don't really have anywhere warm to keep them that I know of. The only spot I can think of is on the other side of a North facing garage door. Not against, but maybe 20 cm or so away from the metal door? How long does it need to stand before I can start testing the first ones?

    I expect the last beers to be the best, because I can't imagine myself waiting for the beer to be perfect before starting to test the crap out of it.

    So after all my reading on the topic of brewing beer, I think I want to buy an Urn and start BIAB or All Grain soon. Maybe a 35L stainless pot for starters. I can easily see why people enjoy this hobby. I just want to brew. Also want to get a still, then one day I might just make my own dark rum like my good friend Captain Morgan hehehe



    All positive help and advice always welcome.

  2. #2
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    First thing - You're in Pretoria - can I get a case or two of those quart bottles if you're not going to use all of them? I love those 750mls, they work like a charm...

    Secondly - yes, it's a good idea to wait a few more days. If you have a hydrometer, do a reading today and another one tomorrow. It'll give you an indication of how far the fermentation is. Do another reading in a day or two, and if all 3 readings are the same, you can bottle.

    On storing the beers post-bottling, store them in the same temperature and so on as the fermenter when you fermented the beer. It's the same process - the yeast in the beer needs to consume the sugars you'll add to each bottle (or to the batch in whole) in order to carbonate the beer. From experience, it needs to stand a minimum of one week. From 2 weeks the carbonation starts to turn a bit more quality though, with finer bubbles and better pouring experience as the yeast has also settled a lot more by then.

    I usually place a bunch of beers in the fridge after Week 1, and then enjoy them by Week 2.

    Oh, and finally, going BIAB is probably the best "next step" any new brewer can make, if you ask me. It's a lot more time and effort on brew day, but that's also part of the fun. I still find myself getting up and checking the mash temps and boiling rate every few minutes even though I don't touch a single thing.

  3. #3
    +1 on everything Toxyc said. Except the bottles I'm not close by so I'll have to keep using my own. But they will be fine for bottling.

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  4. #4
    Senior Member JIGSAW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toxxyc View Post
    <>

    Secondly - yes, it's a good idea to wait a few more days. If you have a hydrometer, do a reading today and another one tomorrow. It'll give you an indication of how far the fermentation is. Do another reading in a day or two, and if all 3 readings are the same, you can bottle.

    <>
    Not the same advise i would have given. he is on day 4 of fermentation and he did say:
    Quote Originally Posted by RudiC View Post
    The airlock has been going crazy 24/7 since then. This morning I go look and see it's calmed down a lot and only bubbling now and then.

    From what I've read so far, it seems that the general consensus is that one should wait a few days longer than the recipe says. If I remember, the recipe calls for 5-7 days.
    So yes it's definitely still bubbling altho much slower. ... therefor leave it the full 5-7 days before even attempting any check. ... and let it sit minimum 10days before any attempt at bottling. Patients is the key ... of wat sÍ ek Mr Toxxyc
    The Problem With The World Is That Everyone Is A Few Drinks Behind.!


  5. #5
    Thanks for all the valuable information guys, I do appreciate the replies.

    I'm in no hurry, decided that if I rush this one, I'd probably never try it again. So the decision was made to do it right and be patient. Patience isn't something that comes naturally for me, but will just have to do it anyway.

    Only picking up the bottles tomorrow, so that will already be doing into day 8. Then I want to soak the bottles in a bath or something for a day to get the other 200 000 people's lipstick and crap off the bottles from 10000 years of SAB beer drinkers. Then maybe only getting to bottling early next week.

    I've also just completed a new 20+L batch of hard lemonade and going with Mead yeast, so that will also take another two weeks or so.

    Not long then I will have a constant supply, then patience becomes slightly easier bwahahaha

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  6. #6
    Just to add. I haven't opened the fermenter since pitching the yeast.

    Is it better to leave it till it's time to bottle, or would it be better to open it up and stir it a little and close up for a few days?

    Thanks

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JIGSAW View Post
    Not the same advise i would have given. he is on day 4 of fermentation and he did say:


    So yes it's definitely still bubbling altho much slower. ... therefor leave it the full 5-7 days before even attempting any check. ... and let it sit minimum 10days before any attempt at bottling. Patients is the key ... of wat sÍ ek Mr Toxxyc
    LOL. He said it's slowing down, so on Day 4 it could be done. That's why I said do a test, wait a few days and test again. Most people don't wait 10 days. I'm getting it more and more. People are like me. Impatient :P

    Quote Originally Posted by RudiC View Post
    Just to add. I haven't opened the fermenter since pitching the yeast.

    Is it better to leave it till it's time to bottle, or would it be better to open it up and stir it a little and close up for a few days?

    Thanks

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    Leave it completely. Unless you're opening the fermenter to fine, don't open it. The less you open it, the better.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Toxxyc View Post
    Leave it completely. Unless you're opening the fermenter to fine, don't open it. The less you open it, the better.
    I will leave it then till Sunday or Monday. There is slight pressure in the airlock, but I will leave it alone. Thanks

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  9. #9
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    I've found that after fermentation my airlock will completely stabilize - as in, the water level will return to the same level on both sides of the airlock. It's not a measure of the fermentation completion, so don't think it is, but in my case that's how I can see fermentation is done. Every time I've seen that and I test, it's done. I've had a mead before where there was just a slight pressure in the airlock and I thought it was done, but the hydrometer showed it wasn't. Yeast just did a slow job, and it eventually did finish 4 days later.

    Keep in mind that post fermentation, there is some CO2 dissolved in the beer. This CO2 is slowly released, which also produces some pressure in the airlock, and that release can last several days, or even longer.

  10. #10

    Ok that's why I thought it would be best to wait.

    I will drink some rum and have a Windhoek or two so long, hopefully with the lockdown going to level or stage 3 end of the month, I would be able to buy a few beers.

    Unless someone in Pretoria has a few extras lying around collecting dust bwahahaha

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