A few new brewer questions

BeervaiBeervai Member Posts: 16

Completely new to home brewing and recently brought the st peters golden ale starter kit from HBO. Fantastic helpful phone service by the way and very quick dispatch and delivery thanks!

I've already made up the kit and its been brewing for 7 days now.

I have a couple of questions for the experienced brewers. (apologies for wall of text in the first question!)

The st peters kit instructions says 4 - 6 days for brewing and it is complete when it stops bubbling or i get a stable reading of 1.14 or less. I never had any bubbling through the airlock but I've read that that's not unusual or a worry. (i know fermentation has been taking place as i could see a tide line of foam through the container plus there seems to be about a centimeter of white silt collected at the bottom of the brewing tub. The hydrometer reading has been about 1.17 / 1.18 for the past couple of days. Is this a problem when its supposed to go below 1.14 after 4 - 6 days? (assuming its not been too cold) > Further information that may be important. I followed the instructions for hot and cold water volumes and put in the hops and yeast after it had all been stirred well. Despite following the guidelines the temperature was 26 and the package says 18-20 temperature for fermentation. (I assume they are aware that with the stated volumes of boiling and cold water that the temperature will be above 18-20) It has taken about 7 days for the temperature to come down to 20 and stayed at about 22 for most of that time (24 temp for nearly 24 hours) despite the air temperature in the house being about 18-19 (we've not had the heating on yet) < Also a possible mess up on my part I poured the tins into the tub after I'd added the boiling water before adding the cold. After re reading it said to add the tins then add the boiling water, then the cold.. Also i just poured the yeast and hops packets on top of the mix, it didn't say to stir it in so i didn't and i wonder if you were just supposed to stir it any way even if it didn't say to.

The second question I have is about the Tap on the fermentation tub. On the inside of the barrel part of the tap is a semi circle opening for the liquids to enter. I positioned this towards the bottom of the tub assuming it should be that way so that you didn't end up leaving lots of liquid at the bottom of the barrel when it was ready to bottle. However, as there is now about a centimeter of sediment at the bottom of the fermentation tub, I'm wondering if its potentially going to suck in the sediment when i come to bottle and therefore should have put the semi circle opening towards the top.



  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Administrator Posts: 2,115
    Welcome and it sounds like the brew is going well, the reading being a little on the high side can suggest it needs a little longer, give the brew a stir to re-suspend the yeast and then leave it for another couple of days and check again. The sediment will re-settle and the reading may well drop the last few points. If it drops no further then it is very close and you will be OK to proceed, stirring and leaving is just a double check. Adding the liquid and ingredients in the wrong order is not a problem, as long as the yeast is added last so the liquid is around the right temperature. You know the temperature of your brew was good as the fermentation has occurred.

    When bottling the little bottler draws the brew out steadily and it is unlikely the sediment will be disturbed, you will get a little in the first bottle but the rest will be OK. Please let us know how your brew turns out....
  • BeervaiBeervai Member Posts: 16
    Thank you for the reply.

    I've gave it a good stir with the stirring tool (after sterilising it of course). Will let you know how it turned out in a few weeks when its ready to drink!
  • BUDFORCEBUDFORCE Member Posts: 275
    They say you should let the temperature drop below 26c before adding the yeast as its possible this temperature or above could kill the yeast.

    Those St Peters Ale kits are relatively easy to do and from what you posted I think your brew will be fine.

    I generally leave the kits longer than the instructions say, the only harm in leaving them longer is the added risk of contamination, but I generally leave the St. Peter Ale kits in for 2 weeks and the more premium kits 3 weeks.

    If you like the St Peter Ale kits and you want to move on to something more advanced (not that there is really much more to it!) try some of the more premium kits. Not to say there is anything wrong with the St Peter's Ale kits they are great, but I find them bland compared to some of the premium kits.

    If you like a good hoppy pale ale try one of these:


    They generally just take a bit longer but otherwise not much difference in the method.

    Good luck either way.

    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
  • BeervaiBeervai Member Posts: 16
    Thanks Budforce. I like the look of that. :-)
  • ajbajb Member Posts: 38
    sounds like it is coming on nicely, when fermenting the temperature will be at least a couple of degrees higher than room temp. Going forward try the festival range of kits.
  • BeervaiBeervai Member Posts: 16
    So the wait is over!!

    Final FG was 1116 so a little closer to the recommended.

    Following the instructions was bottled with one primer tablet and left in a warm place for two days. Followed by 14 days in the cold. I actually managed to hold on despite the urge to sample my first ever home brew attempt.

    I tried a couple of bottles the first which had been kept in the fridge for the 14 days of cold (after the 2 days of warm recommended on the box) was flat and no head at all. So tired one that I'd been cooling in the shed which would have been warmer than the fridge and there was a little opening hiss but again flat with no head. The second one did taste a little better but that may have been the second bottle effect. (I have a theory that only the first bottle of wine needs to taste good then after that drain cleaner is all good hahaha)

    I've done quite a bit of random internet reading about flat/headless homebrew and it seems that box instructions are not long enough for secondary fermentation and that 5-7 days in the warm is the way to go (rather than 2). Followed by at least 14 days cold storage.

    I also found a tip that I'm trying out with the other bottles that I had refrigerated. Apparently putting them back in a warm place and standing the bottles on their heads for 3 days followed by 3 days the right way up then back into the fridge often works wonders for carbonation problems. Not sure if I'll need to bring the ones out of the shed inside again or if they will be fine just requiring a good while longer to carbonate.

    Budforce: I have a American pale ale kit waiting in the cupboard I plan to make that next when I get enough empty bottles to start. I've actually made up a mexican cerveza kit as my second brew which is already bottled. But I got the APA kit in ready. ;-)

    AJB: Thanks for the recommendation, I'll have a look at them.
  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Administrator Posts: 2,115
    Hi Beervai, you're exactly right, the manufacturers often say to keep somewhere warm for 2 days, ideally though leave them in there a week so that the priming sugar/drop can fully dissolve, then move somewhere just a few degrees cooler. The amount of time left to carbonate will affect the head and carbonation, ideally leave for as long as possible, we always suggest a good few weeks or ideally a couple of months. This also mean that the flavours will continue to improve too, sometimes dramatically. The manufacturers seem to be keen to get you drinking it quickly, we find in reality though the time needs to be much increased to drink it at it's best, and it is nearly always worth the wait - a brew lacking taste or carbonation will nearly always improve with more time. It will do no harm if you wanted to speed up the ones you have bottled by moving them somewhere warmer for a few more days
  • BUDFORCEBUDFORCE Member Posts: 275
    3 weeks in primary fermentation

    1st week of secondary at room temperature

    3+ more weeks of secondary at a cooler temp (garage, shed etc)

    Thats 7 weeks at least - this is the minimum really, at least that I find with the ale kits.
    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
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