Frequently Asked Questions
What Should the Fermentation Profile Look Like?
Normal fermentation will begin 5-15 hours after pitching the yeast. During this “lag phase”, yeast become acclimated to their environment and uptake sugars and oxygen they will need for the fermentation. The first sign of fermentation activity will be a raised airlock. This signals CO2 production. A fine layer of foam will then form on top of the liquid. Within a few hours the head will get rocky and the airlock will quickly expel CO2. Fermentation will usually be complete in 5-20 days. If there is not enough room for foam, the foam may get into the airlock and then blow the airlock off the container! So be careful and allow plenty of headspace, or use a blowoff tube for the first 3 days. The airlock will bubble very slowly, and the yeast will begin to drop to the bottom of the fermentor. Check the gravity, if fermentation is complete and yeast is still on top of the beer, either cool the fermentor to force the yeast down or transfer the beer into a different container. Now the beer is ready to keg or bottle!
How do I exchange Co2 tanks?
We always recommended that you call in advance to make sure we have tanks in stock as they turnover quickly. Then bring your tank(s) in and we can exchange them. If you want to keep your existing tank there is a 1-2 week turn-around time. All tank refills require your tanks to be certified, tanks need to be re-certified every 5 years unless stated differently on the tank. There is an additional $25 fee if tanks need to be re-certified before being filled.
Do you offer Gift Cards?
You bet we do! We offer gift cards in any denomination and will also mail them to the recipient at no extra charge.
Can I custom order SS Brewtech Equipment?
Everyone brews differently and every setup is unique, we are happy to help design and order equipment to make the perfect home brewery!
Do you still make mistakes when brewing?
Yes, seriously everyone makes mistakes from beginners to professional brewers, we all do. Never be afraid to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. You will often hear us say “Don’t be a stranger, ask questions because we have screwed it up so you don’t have to.” That is from years of making mistakes.
While mistakes are inevitable how you handle it can change the outcome. Here are a few ways to make sure your brew day go smoother.
- Plan in advance and organize – “Mise en place” is the French culinary phrase which means “everything in its place” take that to heart. Lay everything out the night before to ensure your ingredients are all there and its never a bad idea to have an extra packet of yeast “just in case”.
- Clean as you go – Nothing is worse than not having what you need when you need it. Have a bucket of cleaner and a bucket of sanitizer on the ready. If you use something drop right in the cleaner when you are done. When you have a free moment clean it and drop it in the sanitizer for use later.
- Lay out your hops and additions – Lay out and measure your hop additions, label the order of hops and the time when they need to be added to the kettle.
- Use the proper chilling methods – Using a ice bath is cheap and easy but not efficient and it sure cannot be used for full 5 gallon recipes. An immersion chiller is the next best option for chilling down 5-10 gallon batches. An immersion chiller is a copper coil that you put in the boiling wort and run cold water through it. This method is much faster and significantly more efficient with low(ish) cost. The last cooling option is a counter flow chiller/plate chiller. These chillers are extremely efficient but also expensive and require a pump. These chillers force the wort to through a copper channel with cold water moving in the opposing direction in a separate channel exchanging heat.
*Keep in mind you want to get a chiller that will grow with you.
- Drink, but maybe not so much – Drinking and brewing are like peanut butter and jelly. Just don’t over do it… Not till your yeast is pitched and the air lock is on.
- Have fun – You are making beer what is more fun than that.
Is my beer infected?
Fermenting beer can look strange to new brewers. Early fermenting beer will have a krausen, which is a thick foamy layer on top of the beer. Krausen can leave some ugly looking lacing on the inside of the fermentor above the beer, and then you may see yeast rafts floating on the surface once the krausen drops. With a clear sided fermentor, you may even see large chunks of yeast moving about. All of this is perfectly normal.
It’s unlikely that your beer is infected, and even if it is you probably won’t know it is until after a number of months. You may have consumed the beer before this point. A telltale sign of infection is called a pellicle, which is a white/off-white skin (biofilm) that forms on the surface of your beer; it may even develop bubbles of gas that get trapped under it. Not all infected beers develop pellicles, but all beers with pellicles are infected (sometimes on purpose).
If you suspect your beer is infected you should rely on your nose and your tongue more than your eyes. Infected beer will smell sour or possibly fecal or other things that are disgusting (sulfur smell coming from your beer is normal for certain yeasts and not a cause for alarm). If the beer doesn’t smell off, taste it, don’t worry nothing that can harm you can grow in beer. If it taste fine, then you can generally assume it is fine, if it tastes sour or like vomit or poo then it’s infected and you should probably dump it, though some souring bacteria is acceptable in sour beer styles if the sour beer still tastes good to you, feel free to let it ride if you have the space and patience.
Do you even lift bro?
12 oz curls every day.