First two brews.....

IanBIanB Posts: 7Member
Hi all, quite new to this so just wanted to share some first time worries and observations......

First brew was a Festival IPA. Followed instructions to the letter and didn't see a bubble through the airlock at all. Massive crust on the brew and kept an eye on the gravity readings which confirmed that primary fermentation was complete despite no bubbles. I found so much conflciting information about bottling, secondary FV, temperatures etc. that I just took the plunge and put it in a 2nd FV for a week in a warmish place, then bottled it and put it in the garage. Three weeks a later and it tastes as good as I'd hoped so I'm pleased!

I now have an Admirals Reserve in the FV. I can see this bubbling but still no airlock action. I'm thinking that the plastic buckets don't seal that well, or maybe it's just the large free area at the top of the bucket compared to the relatively small bubbles that stops it bubbling? Anyway, I pitched this with the 6gm of yeast that it came with and also another 6g pack as apparently these kits have a reputation for getting "stuck" midway. It's probably just internet gossip but I didn't think it would hurt to have a bit of extra yeast.....and I reduced the water volume to match the "commercial" brew recipie.
The brew started at 1048 and 1 week later is at 1014 so it's almost there - I'll take another reading in a couple of days. I had a taste and have to say it's got a really full flavour already so I'm looking forward to this. I'll probably do the bottling the same as the IPA with the Foxes drops.

Any thoughts? I'm happy with my results but appreciative of any pointers......



  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Posts: 1,939Administrator
    Hi IanB, great news on the Festival IPA and it will improve with time too. We get very few reports of brews sticking but it is possible, just try to keep at a good temperature (around 20 degrees C for most brews) and they usually ferment away with out issue. Airlocks not bubbling is a common concern, however you don't have to brew in an airtight vessel so this is nothing to worry about - the main thing is to keep any contaminants out, if your lid has a hole pop an airlock in it part filled with water, just to be on the safe side. There is a guide here on this link below with reasons why the airlock may not bubble, but as long as you keep the brew covered don't worry:
  • IanBIanB Posts: 7Member
    Great thanks, I'm not too bothered but it would be nice to see a bit of action!
  • BUDFORCEBUDFORCE Posts: 264Member
    I don't use airlocks at all, I buy the lid without the gromet and only loosely fit the lid on, as above just to keep contamination out.

    I know some kits say to keep it airtight but there is an argument against that, considering must home brew kits get carbonation through secondary fermentation it serves little purpose in my opinion to try and keep it airtight.

    I have a book by Graham Wheeler and he suggests that better fermentation is achieved when the primary fermentation is allowed to breathe.

    The most important thing by far is temperature control, you want to keep it between about 20-24c at all times, there are a range of heating devices available, if you can keep your brew at a stable constant temperature there is really very little that can go wrong in terms of fermentation.
    Beer League: 1. Young's - American Pale Ale 2. Bulldog Brews - Imperial Red Bad Cat 3. Young's - IPA 4. Young's - American Amber Ale 5. Bulldog Brews - Evil Dog Double IPA
  • WCGWCG Posts: 74Member
    I usually brew in cheap sealable-lidded buckets, similar to what they sell paint in.
    Sometimes they're airtight, sometimes not.
    I never worry about it when brewing beer, but when making wine or cider I use 2" wide self amalgamating tape to ensure the lid's airtight.

    When I was last making home-brew beer ( 30-odd years ago ) I didn't even bother with lids, usually just chucked a cloth over the top to stop dirt, bugs & larger wildlife getting in :)
  • IanBIanB Posts: 7Member
    Thanks all, the brew tastes great so that's good enough for me! Just about to put the Admirals in a 2nd FV for a few days. It tastes good already though...... o:)
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