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Old 04-23-2012, 06:21 PM   #1
akbrew55
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Default Fermentation time vs. gravity reading

This was my first brew. The instructions said to wait 14 days. At day 9 i took a gravity reading and it was exactly what i needed it to be. 1.022. If i would have kept it in there for the full 14 days, would the gravity be lower even though it was in the maturation phase? May be a dumb question, just wondering if i bottled too early. Thanks.

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Old 04-23-2012, 06:29 PM   #2
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That depends on a couple of things... Assuming this was an extract brew and you used the recommended yeast strain for the recipe or kit you brewed, then chances are you'll finish up right at or near the projected final gravity.

If it was an all grain brew and/or you used a different yeast, then there can be quite a few variables. Mash temperatures can lead to wort that's more or less fermentable. Some yeast attenuate more or less (some times a LOT more or less) than others. Etc, etc...

That said - there's a lot of other things going on at that point in fermentation, and just because a beer has reached a specific gravity does not necessarily mean that it's ready to bottle. In general, you want to be sure that it's reached a constant gravity for at least 3 consecutive days before you bottle (to make sure that you don't wind up with any bottle bombs!). Also, if you give the beer a few days after reaching final gravity, the yeast can clean up some of the by products of fermentation, often leading to a cleaner tasting beer.

However, I do know a guy who, as a general rule, kegs dang near everything at day 10. And I can honestly say I haven't had a bad beer that he's made.

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Old 04-23-2012, 06:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akbrew55 View Post
This was my first brew. The instructions said to wait 14 days. At day 9 i took a gravity reading and it was exactly what i needed it to be. 1.022. If i would have kept it in there for the full 14 days, would the gravity be lower even though it was in the maturation phase? May be a dumb question, just wondering if i bottled too early. Thanks.
You usually want to bottle when your gravity readings stop changing. Just because the directions say it's supposed to be a certain gravity doesn't mean you'll get the exact same. Might be close or even spot on but you wont be sure until the beer is finished. Even then you can keep the beer on the trub for a while longer so the yeast can clean up after themselves. Congrats on the first brew!!
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:41 PM   #4
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the general HBT rule of thumb would be a 3 week primary and 3 weeks in the bottle.

I ferment my beers anywhere from 10-21 days.

To me a lot of it depends on the style and ingredients used.

I like to leave my IPAs for atleast 21 days in primary with a 7 day dry hop before kegging.

However, a blonde ale i brewed just passed the 10 mark has been at FG for 3 days, will be kegged tonight or tomorrow.

The biggest thing is making sure your fermentation has bottomed out, as stated above, consistent hydrometer readings for 3 days will let you know that your main fermentation is finished.

Thus beginning the lengthy debate on how long to leave on the yeast cake.

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Old 04-23-2012, 06:44 PM   #5
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Err on the side of patience. You can't harm a beer by bottling a week after it's ready but you can harm it by bottling a day early. If it is supposed to finish at 1.022 then I assume it is a very big beer. Longer primary might be a very good thing. What was the OG?

All that being said, I bottled my first beer after two weeks and drank most of it by the time it was two weeks in the bottle. So, I know how tempting it is to speed things along on that first one!

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Old 04-23-2012, 09:15 PM   #6
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Thank you everyone very much for the information.
To Genjin: It is a Porter with a 1.060 OG. And i am trying my best to leave it alone while its priming in the bottles. I cant wait! Thanks again.

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