Answers to Homebrewing questions

beer mug and glass

Q: Where can I find information regarding the second fermentation process in order to improve the clarity of my beer? I have already prepared two batches of American Lite beer and I want to improve the clarity.

A: I recommend putting the hops into a steeping bag and tying it off before placing into the pot. This makes discarding the spent hops very easy. I also recommend the use of a carboy for secondary fermentation. Most of the sediment should stay in the pail when you rack the beer into the carboy. After fermenting the beer in your ale pail, siphon it into a clean and sanitized carboy. Then place a rubber bung into the carboy opening and your fermentation lock into the bung. The beer stays in the carboy for two weeks until you're ready to bottle. The minimal sediment at the bottom of the carboy should stay in the bottom. When you're ready to bottle, rack the beer into the bottling bucket and then bottle as usual. Another important thing to remember to keep the sediment from being disturbed is to make sure you don't move it on the day you plan on bottling. These steps should help keep your beer more clear. If your beer clarity still doesn't improve after trying the above steps, you can try using gelatin. Add ½ teaspoon to ½ cup cold water and soak for 1 hour. Then heat the gelatin solution until it dissolves. When it cools, add it to the carboy before racking from primary fermenter.

Q: The Hopped Extract Kits on your site say you can use them with Mr. Beer, the cans say to add DME or sugar, but in your directions for use with Mr. Beer it does not call for the addition of the sugar. I have two Mr. Beer fermenters, should I split the Coopers between two of them or use one full can of Coopers in one fermenter if I do not add the additional sugar. Will it hurt to use the FULL can in one fermenter?

A: The reason you add 4 to16 ozs. of DME to the Cooper’s kits is to extend it to make 5 gallons. One can of Cooper’s will make 3 gallons without the added DME. One can of Hopped Extract in a Mr. Beer fermenter is a little overkill as the Mr. Beer makes just 2 gallons. I would split the can between the two fermenters and experiment by adding 1 lb. of DME to one of them and see what you come up with. If you do add DME, you’ll need to bring some of the wort water to a boil, add DME and boil it to sanitize for a few minutes before chilling the wort down and continuing with the instructions.

Q: I'm not seeing any fermentation activity in my English Pale Ale, what's wrong?

A: To verify that fermentation hasn’t begun, check for condensation on the underside of your fermenter pail lid. Also check for a scum ring around the pail above the wort. If neither of these is present, use a sanitized long handled spoon to stir the wort vigorously. Wrap an electric heat belt or a heating pad around the pail to see if you can get it started that way. If there is no action in the airlock for another day, pitch in another packet of brewer’s yeast (such as SAFALE S-04 ENGLISH ALE YEAST).

homebrewed beer with malted grains and hop flowers

Home Beer Brewing

Brewing beer is an American Tradition.