Couple of new brewer questions

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by HopsintheSack, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. HopsintheSack

    HopsintheSack Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2012 California

    Brewed my first extract session IPA a couple weeks ago (Conundrum kit from Northern Brewer). Sitting in the secondary now dry-hopping. So far I have a few simple questions I was hoping some experienced brewers could answer.

    1. I have one of those sample thief that the tip depresses to steal a sample, but it seems to suck trub off the bottom with the sample. Does this affect the reading? I suspect so and was thinking of getting a classic one where you just place your thumb over the hole to seal the thief and pull it out. That way I could do it from any level and not grab any trub.

    2. After the reading, do you put the sample back in the fermenter? I did put the sample back after the OG reading and once taking a FG reading, but felt pouring it back in was introducing too much oxygen. Am I being overly concerned with putting it back in?

    3. In the dry hopping process, the recipe says to do this for 1-2 weeks. I was listening to a podcast about dry hopping and I took away that a shorter period of time would leave more aroma and longer would start to produce grassy flavors. Is this accurate?

  2. HeyLady

    HeyLady Aspirant (291) Sep 17, 2015 New York

    I've only been home brewing for a year but think I can answers these questions.

    1. I dont think the trub will affect your reading. Maybe try just pulling the sample form the top of the ferment and not sticking it all the way to the bottom.
    2. Definitely DO NOT put the sample back in the fermenter. More than oxygen you run the risk of introducing wild yeast and bacteria. It can definitely infect your beer. It's not worth the risk for a few ounces of beer. Just give it a sip, taste it and dumb it down the drain.
    3. This is really going to come with time and what works best with your system and what hops you are using. I tend to dry hop 5-7 days, this gives me what i'm looking for on my equipment. I have personally gotten grassy flavors when I have dry hopped 2 weeks.
    HopsintheSack likes this.
  3. HopsintheSack

    HopsintheSack Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2012 California

    The thief I have is the auto one, so you have to push the tip of it against something. At the angle I can get pushing against the side of the carboy to be above the trub it does not pull enough to float the hydrometer. I think I will just get the old school finger stopped thief and then pour into a cylinder to read. Even if it doesn't affect the reading, it does disturb the trub at the bottom.

    Most things I have read said you could re-add the volume back to the fermenter and I am using star san to sanitize anything within 3 feet of the fermenter. I understand anytime you expose the beer you take the risk however. I will probably just check less frequently and dispose of the pull from now on.

    I am using a 6 1/2 gallon glass carboy for primary and 5 gallon for secondary at the moment. Seems to work good and leaves ample head space.

  4. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,453) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Is it one of these?
    If so, just submerging it in the wort/beer should cause it to fill to the same height as the top of the liquid. You should be able to get enough for a reading without reaching the trub an any common 5 gallon batch fermenter. What size is your fermenter?
    bushycook likes this.
  5. HopsintheSack

    HopsintheSack Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2012 California

    That's the one. Wonder if I have a wonky unit, mine doesn't fill unless it has the tip depressed. Size wise works for the 5 gallon, but the 6 1/2 I had to use the siphon to fill it up enough to float the hydrometer.
  6. Brewday

    Brewday Initiate (108) Dec 25, 2015 New York

    I'm a curious cat and always drink the sample.
    Mothergoose03 and HopsintheSack like this.
  7. HopsintheSack

    HopsintheSack Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2012 California

    Hell I didn't even think of that. Ty.
  8. Capt_Quint

    Capt_Quint Initiate (112) May 29, 2015 Massachusetts

    Same here. I'm not wasting a drop!
    inchrisin likes this.
  9. AngryDutchman

    AngryDutchman Aspirant (218) Aug 8, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Even just the bottling wand without the spring tip attached submerged a few times and covered with your thumb should allow you to pull a sample.
    You never put it back -you taste it! You have to get to know your beers at every step of their lives. And never forget that they are alive.
    Mothergoose03 likes this.
  10. inchrisin

    inchrisin Initiate (0) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    It's for science!

    If you're new to the obsession, a young beer usually tastes like crap. I don't care who says they drank 3 beers from the fermenter on bottling day. They're not as good as they're going to get. They shape up over 6 weeks to 6 months and usually get much better.
    B33R_4U and Mothergoose03 like this.