Questions, questions...

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Thank you all sooo much for all the info I've gleaned so far being a lurker.
I cannot tell you the value I place on being able to access this kind of
expertise.  You are all wise beyond your years and a veritable cornucopia of
wizened brewing knowledge.

<<obligatory ass kissing over>>

Terribly sorry to express my ignorance, but what is DME?  I know... make fun
of me, tell me I should already know.  As a chemical engineer, I should be
able to figure this shite out, but would rather try to "meet" new people and
gain knowledge from their experiences.  Well:  Hello people.  Nice to meet
you.  I'm new at this, but am going to try to drink everything I bottle.  It
may kill me, but what the hell.  You only live once, and I haven't slept
well in 6 weeks.  I'm starting to look forward to the great oblivion.

Another question...  second stage fermenting...  is there a need for
additional sugar, or is the second stage just for getting the brew off the
dead yeast in the bottom of the 1st stage fermenter.  As you may have
guessed, the newbie that I am, I see no other reason to move the liquid from
stage one, but the typed instructions the Eastern European brew store lady
had said to do so.  It's still giving off CO2, so EtOH is still being made.

Color...  I made the mistake of boiling the malt extract (dry and liquid) in
only one gallon of water (again, the nice lady with the funny accent said to
do it) and may have scorched the wert.  It was very brown (supposed to be a
"Canadian, Aye" style beer (kit, I know, newbie, not experienced, should
just stick to buying 6 packs of mico brew).  Picture says yellow beer.
Still a week to go in the second stage, but it is very dark.  After 3 days
of primary fermenting is there still enough of the dark malt sugar in there
to make it so dark?

Finishing...  I hate to bring this up because one should learn to walk
before learning to run, but I read about adding a gelatin to the secondary
just before bottling to remove suspended solids.  Is this advisable?

TIA.  Gotta run.  The baby's crying.


Re: Questions, questions...
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There are a few experts in this newsgroup, but many of us are still new at
homebrewing.  I've been brewing for about 4 years now, so I suppose I'm
somewhat of an intermediate brewer.  I've still never brewed all grain,
though I intend to try it very soon.  I usually do extract brews with some
steeped grain or a partial mash.  I've read many books and many many
magazine articles, and I've been on this newsgroup for a few years.  The
more you read, and the more practice you get, the more you know.

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Dry malt extract.  Very yummy and very sticky.  Similar to cotton candy if
you get steam on it when you pour it into your brew kettle.

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I'm a chemical engineer myself.  It's funny how many of us homebrewers have
technical backgrounds.  Homebrewing is both an art and a science.

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FYI, you cannot die from anything you brew.  A bad batch might taste like
crap, but it's safe to drink.

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"Racking" to a secondary container is optional.  Rack it when the brew stops
giving off very much CO2.  Racking helps to clarify the beer (i.e., the
yeast and other sediments settle out) and it can help get rid of some
off-flavors.  You do not need to add any sugar at the racking stage.  Not
until bottling.

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Boil volume definitely makes a difference in the color of the brew.  If you
want your brew to be anywhere close to golden color, you have to use only
the lightest extracts or grains, and boil the entire volume.  In other
words, if you're making a 5 gallon batch, you must boil all 5 gallons.  If
light color doesn't matter as much (if you're brewing a red ale or a stout
or a porter, for instance), then it's often easier to brew a smaller volume
and just add water at the end.  Another thing I should mention... I'm not
sure if anyone else has noticed this phenomenon, but I often find that the
finished beer ends up being a little bit lighter than the unfermented wort,
probably because some of the suspended solids settle out.  So if your wort
is just a little bit darker than you'd like, hopefully it will lighten up a
little after it has time to settle.

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If the beer is clear, you don't need to use gelatin.  If it's cloudier than
you want, you can try adding some gelatin or similar flocculating agent.
One time I had a cloudy mead (I think it was bacterially infected), and
within seconds after I added gelatin I could literally watch the cloudy
stuff clump up and settle to the bottom.  Gelatin doesn't always seem to
work, but it's sometimes worth a try.  Personally, I rarely use gelatin.  A
little bit of cloudiness never hurt anyone.

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Been there.  My little guy just turned one a few weeks ago.

"Just a drink, a little drink, and I'll be feeling GOOooOOooOOooD!" --
Genesis, 1973-ish

Re: Questions, questions...
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That sounds like a challenge, but where would I find a volunteer tester???

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