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Old 01-19-2008, 03:23 AM   #1
Jordanmilo
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Default When can I bottle?

This is my first batch. OG 1.042, was supposed to be ESB, but the original gravity read somewhat low (and I'm ok with that--I just want to get batch #1 under my belt). Fermentation took several days to really get going, but when the bubbles finally were a minute apart I racked to the secondary fermenter. The beer looked good, smelled good and tasted good, with no flaws other than being a little watery, and the gravity was 1.012. That was 5 days ago.

Now the bubbles are just shy of 3 minutes apart and I'm kind of in a hurry to bottle because there's a pretty large air gap in the carboy, since I left a bit of beer in the primary fermenter. I'm concerned that air gap is opening the door to contamination.

Do I have to wait until there's no bubbling at all before I prime and bottle or am I close enough to avoid explosions?

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Old 01-19-2008, 04:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordanmilo
This is my first batch. OG 1.042, was supposed to be ESB, but the original gravity read somewhat low (and I'm ok with that--I just want to get batch #1 under my belt). Fermentation took several days to really get going, but when the bubbles finally were a minute apart I racked to the secondary fermenter. The beer looked good, smelled good and tasted good, with no flaws other than being a little watery, and the gravity was 1.012. That was 5 days ago.

Now the bubbles are just shy of 3 minutes apart and I'm kind of in a hurry to bottle because there's a pretty large air gap in the carboy, since I left a bit of beer in the primary fermenter. I'm concerned that air gap is opening the door to contamination.

Do I have to wait until there's no bubbling at all before I prime and bottle or am I close enough to avoid explosions?
Your first post. You racked to secondary without waitng for fermentation to complete. You just want to get it over with.

Take a hydrometer reading. Write the results down. Then, wait til the next day and take another. Record it again. If they are the same readings, you can rack the beer to seconday. Or, wait a another week or so and bottle.

Patience is huge in crafting beer.

Good Luck
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Old 01-19-2008, 05:36 AM   #3
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You really need to have some more patience I know the first batch is exciting but getting it into the bottle does not make it ready to drink, you still have to wait, You really need to read your hydrometer and not depend on that Airlock.

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Old 01-19-2008, 05:38 AM   #4
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A general rule of thumb is to leave it a week in the primary, two weeks in the secondary, and three weeks in the bottle. As Gammon said, you really should use your hydrometer if you want to be sure your primary fermentation is done. The secondary is really just a clearing tank. All fermentation should be done by the time you rack there. The yeast will still be working by cleaning up some of the byproducts and the remaining yeast will flocculate out and drop to the bottom.

Don't be in too big of a hurry. Brewing is a game of patience. Most times it's better to leave the beer too long than to move to another step too early.

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Old 01-19-2008, 11:37 AM   #5
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Thanks -- but what hydrometer figure am I looking for?

To explain my impatience, the air gap in the carboy is making me nervous, as I've read that that dead air can carry bacteria and should be flushed out with nitrogen or CO2 before replacing the air lock. So, I'm not really in a hurry because I know I've got a few weeks in bottle before I can drink, I'm just afraid of contamination.

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Old 01-19-2008, 12:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordanmilo
Thanks -- but what hydrometer figure am I looking for?

To explain my impatience, the air gap in the carboy is making me nervous, as I've read that that dead air can carry bacteria and should be flushed out with nitrogen or CO2 before replacing the air lock. So, I'm not really in a hurry because I know I've got a few weeks in bottle before I can drink, I'm just afraid of contamination.

Sloooooooowwww down.

First off, you don't have to worry about the dead space since as the yeast start doing their thing and the bubbling starts, that air is being flushed out and replaced with CO2.

Second if you are doing extract or extract /w steeping grains, don't get too caught up with the starting gravity (SG). Fermentability is set when the extract is made so it's more a function of quantity to volume of water.

Short version: use something like the 1-2-3/3-3 method.
Long version: The SG can be calculated based on the amount of extract used. What you would typically do is figure out your estimated FG (final gravity) based on the yeast's attenuation and rack as you get to that number or when your gravity doesn't move for a few days in a row. See www.howtobrew.com for more info.

If you have been diligent with your sanitization, you don't have to worry much once everything hits the fermenter and starts bubbling away.

Let it sit in your secondary since fermentation will likely continue..take a gravity reading and see where it is in two weeks or so.
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