First homebrew - first post
I brewed up my first batch of homebrew almost 2 weeks ago. It was from 5-gallon a kit I got for Christmas - a True Brew American Bock - which I modified by adding and changing a couple of things (may have gotten bad advice, but not sure). First, I added an extra can of Muntons Dark Malt Extract to increase gravity. Once that was done, I added 1 oz of Cascade hops(in addition to what was already in the kit) at about 25 minutes left on the boil. I substituted a smak-pack of Wyeast 1098 British Ale Yeast for the dry pack that came with the kit. Now for the questions...
1.) I added the activated yeast at 72 dgrees F, and it began fermenting by the next morning. I had dropped the fermentation temp to around 62-64 degrees F at this point. By the end of the next day, the airlock was bubbling fairly vigorously, and this continued for about 2 more days. Then it began to slow down a good deal, and has been going at the same slow clip for about 7 days now. Is it still fermenting or is it done? My starting gravity was 1.072 - was one packet of yeast enough for this, or did i overwhelm it with the high-ish gravity?
2.) Once the bubbling has stopped completely, do i still need to allow it to settle out for a few more days? if so, at what temperature?
3.) Will this slow fermentation mean that i won't get good carbonation once i eventually bottle the beer?
Thanks for any and all help!
Grats on the first brew
To answer your questions:
1a) 68F is a fairly popular fermentation temperature. If you go to Wyeast's website and search for the yeast you used:
Temperature Range: 64-72 F, 18-22C
Alcohol Tolerance: 10% ABV
If you get over that range, 72+, you risk introducing off flavors such as banana.
Note that Saison yeasts like warmer temps (75F-85F) and lagers are a different story entirely.
1b) Your beer is done when the gravity reading is the same from one day to the next, assuming you're within the temp range for the yeast. In practice, I just ferment for 3 weeks at 68F, take a final gravity reading and if I'm in the ball park of the expected FG, I call it good.
1c) For high gravity beers, if in doubt, make a starter, although out of about 50+ batches, I have only had 1 smack pack that failed to ferment a high gravity wort. A lot of people report great success without starters, using just dry yeast. Nottingham comes to mind. A good rule of thumb with smack packs is to activate them and let them sit 1 day for each month since they've been manufactured. The date is listed on the front of the pack. My one bad experience was with a pack shipped out of Austin TX mid summer that sat around for 4 months before I used it. Just remember there is a race between the yeast you want eating the beer, and other nasties that want to eat the beer. Stack the odds in favor of your yeast.
2) It's your call. After primary, some people will "cold crash" at around 34F for 48 hours to clear the beer up before bottling or kegging.
3) After primary (and/or secondary and/or cold crashing) there will be plenty of yeast left to condition with the 5 oz of priming sugar you will probably use. Hefeweizens conditions relatively quickly, I would say generally the more complex and layered the beer flavors, the longer to condition. Most beers should be carb'd within 4-6 weeks at 68F. As long as you're within the temp range of the yeast you will be carbing. I try to let my beers bottle condition as long as possible. I just had a Tripel that I'd been saving for 6 months and it was much better than bottles from the same batch at 2 months.
Good luck with your future brews,
Thanks for the input. Not really having any personal frame-of-reference to go on, it's good to have some outside input. I guess it's true what they say about patience being a virtue...maybe whoever coined the phrase was a home-brewer. Thanks again, and cheers!
My understanding is that partial mashes work best for recipes that do not depend on the malt profile. IPAs, Hefeweizen's, Maibocks, and Stouts are good candidates, while Pale Ales are not.
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