Homebrew Advice

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  • Homebrew Advice
  • One my second beer kit and things are progressing slower than expected:

    I’ve got a batch of St Peter’s Ruby ale in the fermentaion bucket at the moment. It’s been there since last Friday but is still bubbling slowly away. Hydrometer measures 1019. I doubt it’ll be done by Sunday. After which I am busy until the following Friday.
    My plan is to leave it in the bucket until next Friday 29th (another week) and then transfer it a new bucket (leaving the sediment behind). I’ll then bottle and add sugar on the Monday 2nd.

    Assuming all remains sterile is this likely to work?

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager

    2 weeks in the primary? No problem at all my friend. [Just drinking a nice American IPA that I left 3 weeks in the primary because I was too busy to bottle it – turned out great].

    You’ve got to really ignore your brew before it gets to be a problem (yeast autolysis is the term if you want to read up on it). 2 weeks is nowt.

    it’ll be fine. some kits do have a tendency to “stick” at around 1020.

    Give it a stir now & make sure it’s reasonably warm (ie about 22-23C).

    if you add the sugar to the secondary before bottling, you’ll get a much more even carbonation, bottle to bottle. I use about 120g of brewers sugar just stirred into the secondary a day or two before bottling, seems to work for me


    Anyone have any experience with wine kits? I dabbled many years ago with varying degrees of success. Wondering if there are any decent kits around nowadays.

    I like California Connoisseur (sp) and Beaverdale wine kits


    Personally I wouldn’t even bother racking it to a secondary.
    I tend to give all my brews around 3 weeks give or take in the primary before racking it to a another bucket for batch priming then bottle it straight away. I used to use a secondary for a couple of weeks after a week in primary but there isn’t really any point. Never had problems with off flavours or too much sediment in the bottles.
    Cold crashing for 2-3 days before bottling can help as well

    Great stuff thanks! I can stop worrying about. I don’t know why the beer kits say 4-6 days. I don’t have a heater but my kitchen cupboard (where the beer is) stays pretty much at 20C all day long.
    I was debating putting an old aquarium heater in but I couldn’t get it clean enough after a single soaking in the sterilizer. I’ll risk it when I’m brewing something from the hedgerow.


    Just had a pint of my homebrew Bitter. I can’t get over how nice it is. 😉

    if it stays at a steady 20 then I can’t see the need for a heater. one less thing to introduce infection

    I’ve got a bottle of my version of Old Peculier waiting for me…

    Premier Icon bigblackshed

    2-3 weeks in primary is fine.

    If you follow the instructions and leave the lid unsnapped during primary I’d snap it down after 4-5 days. I never bother, snapped down from day one. Never a problem. The CO2 given off during fermentation will help keep the beer sterile.

    I never transfer in to a secondary fermenter. As said 2-3 weeks in primary then syphoned gently in to a barrel with 80g of caster sugar for 40 pints. About a week in the house then in to the shed. 2-3 weeks and good to go. Never stir the brew after the first stir when pitching the yeast. All you are doing is stirring up dead yeast that will require more time or finings to settle out again. Also it can add yeast bite to the final tasting.


    Just to toss my opinion into the mix, I’m very much a 3 week fermentation brewer. I just forget about it, means I don’t have to take multiple hydrometer readings, just original and final, and I know it’s finished.

    I did a St Peter’s ruby red kit, it stuck at 1020 (i tested after 2 weeks), but by 3 weeks it only got down to 1015. Not ideal conversion, but it does taste great having been 6 months from brew date now. Look up munton’s kits sticking at 1020 for it being a relatively common issue, but doesn’t manifest itself in bad beer.

    mmm old peculier, tastes better than the real thing*

    * I think they’ve changed the recipe, definitely not what it used to be. Graham Wheeler’s AG recipe is much nicer 😉

    this batch started at 1063. after a week it was 1020. I left it another two weeks after giving it a stir. 1019. I realised that was as low as it was going to go & bottled it about 4-5 weeks ago.


    Don’t know much about kit brews, I do all grain brews but on the subject of stuck fermentations…..

    I’ve had a couple of brews get stuck, one (a basic pale ale), restarted after putting it on a heat pad to warm it up up few degrees.
    The other (a Belgian Saision) I had to repitch some more yeast. Saisions are rather notorious for sticking at around 1.035 for 2 weeks I just chucked in some fairly neutral tasting ale yeast (Safale US-05) and it dropped to the FG in about 3 days.

    How hard it it to make a decent stout? A couple of bottles of Sam Smith’s Imperial has whet my whistle. I only have the kit to do stove top/brew in bag, and only enough space over the hob to make about 10l. Can I get even close to Imperial, Old Engine Oil, Hopback Stout, etc?

    I bottled a “Belgian” dubbel last week, tasted promising (and strong) but time will tell, and already have the ingredients to get a golden ale on next week, but fancy trying something heartier before winter’s out.

    I’ve got a loverly chocolate stout recipe – you can leave out the cocoa if you don’t like chocolate stouts… and I do mine BIAB…

    scaled down to 10L:

    Pale Malt 1676g
    Chocolate Malt 246g
    Flaked (Porridge) Oats 95g
    Torrified Wheat 95g
    Black Roast Barley 50g

    mash for 90mins at 67deg with (optionally) 60g cocoa powder

    90 min boil
    19g Fuggles @ 90mins
    5g Fuggles & 3g Irish Moss at 15mins
    5g Fuggles at flame-out

    Danstar Nottingham yeast
    OG 1045, FG 1011 or thereabouts

    If you like Saltaire Triple Chocoholic Stout, you’ll like this
    I gave our bass player a bottle of this without telling him what it was aiming at. “Like Triple Chocoholic, only smoother” was his opinion

    or, if you like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, how about this similar recipe… again, scaled down to 10L

    “Dirty Celebration Ale” American IPA

    Pale Malt 1880g
    Munich Malt 242g
    Caramalt 157g
    Carahell 100g
    Wheat Malt 100g
    pale crystal 47g
    Torr. Wheat 47g

    mashed for 60 mins at 67deg

    now this is where it starts to get expensive on a full 5G batch….
    60min boil

    Chinook 10g @ 60mins
    8g each of Cascade, Amarillo & Centennial at 15mins
    same again at 5 mins
    same again at flame out

    2g Irish Moss at 15mins

    US-05 yeast (SNPA original “Chico” strain)

    OG 1057 FG 1011 6% ABV
    Colour 17 EBC, Bitterness 67 IBU

    John Drummer, you are a star! That looks fantastic, duly bookmarked. I’m hoping to get an order in soon (not in UK, no LHBS either, so have to club together with mates to split shipping costs).

    Do you make a starter for this? Assuming this is the same yeast?

    (edit: I mean the triple choc)

    that’s the one. instructions on the back, but basically it just needs rehydrating in 100ml of water, previously boiled, and cooled down to 25-30degC. Pitch when the wort is under 25degC
    should ferment out in about a week at 23deg

    (technically mine is only a double choc – once with the choc malt, twice with the cocoa powder. Saltaire also use chocolate syrup but my mate Steve can’t tell the difference (other than mine is smoother!)

    OK, I think I’ll give it a bash. Will post up here when it’s done. Cheers!

    Last question (sorry, I’ve not been at this long!) – I just leave the brew in primary for 3-4 wks/FG, then rack to a bottling bucket – OK to do it like that? I take it there’s no need to add priming sugar?

    Re stuck or sticking fermentations.
    Could be a number of reasons . Lack of oxygen at pitching is common. Lack of nutrients and / or zinc . So either all of the protein stripped out and none for the yeast, or conversly way too much protein carry over and it can coat the cells and stop budding.

    Cloudy cold breaks will tell you if you are carrying over too much protein . Cold breaks with bright wort and cotton wool clouds are overfined.

    Stirring beer mid ferment is a waste of time and infection risk imo. Better to aim a hairdryer at your bucket for 20 mins and try to add 1-2’c to get some activity. USO5 does seem to pause for us as well sometimes .

    Sticking or stuck not so important for home brew as you dont need to worry about any legislation. Also all that unfermented suagr make the beer bacterially unstable ( huge food source ). Bottles might become grenades though with 4+ degrees of fermentables.

    Those recipes sound good. I would try adding some hops 5 mins after boil off as well. Also hops added around 15 mins before boiling will suppress foaming and keep the wort in the boiler.


    Ive got a batch of St Peters IPA on the go. One week down, I think Ill leave it for another 2-3 wks & the bottle it using Coopers Carbonation Drops.

    Anyone got any input on doing things that way?

    Carbonation drops are just expensive sugar, albeit a measured amount. Half a teaspoon of ordinary sugar is just as good. Get some measuring spoons. Or add 80-130g of brewing sugar to the bottling bucket and stir it in, leave half an hour before bottling

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