Howdy crew, excellent forum here!
I have been lurking for a while, absorbing the pearls, but, being a brewing neophyte I have a few rudimentary questions. I have borrowed a mates stuff and turned out a few brews thus far, and am enjoying this game. Just bought another fermenter, and I have a very slow cider just about right to bottle, and an ale that's been cooking for a week. This ale is only my 4th homebrew, so really I am just playing about with hops, malt extracts and techniques.
1. Racking - without wanting to reopen any old sores - beyond better clarity, what is the benefit? How careful do I need to be? Do I have to be super careful not to splash or expose the brew to oxygen?
2. Cold conditioning and lagering. If my reading is right, both of these are just storing the beer in cold conditions. Is there much other difference? Coopers excellent ales are bottle conditioned, can lagering be done in the bottle? Is making a good lager more difficult than making a good ale?
3. Storage of ingredients. I live in the sticks in central Vic with no dedicated HBS. There is a health food shop about 20km from my place which sells slightly overpriced kits and bits. I have bought most of my ingredients from there, but I am a bit worried about how old some of it is. I noticed that after I pitched a Safale last week that it was a couple of months out of date, although it was refrigerated and is going very nicely! The hops are on the shelf, but do seem to work ok. They have a very limited range of stuff, but they are as friendly as they are ignorant. Is their stuff safe to buy? How long do malt extracts / specialty grains keep? Do kits go funky if they sit around for ages? Is liquid malt ok if it comes in clear plastic deli-style containers?
Righto, that better do for now. Cheers
Currently drinking: BIAB DrS GA, BIAB Californian lager, doppelbock of sorts
In the Pipeline: landlord?