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Old 02-23-2009, 07:55 PM   #1
Feb 2009
San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 304
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If the hydrometer tells you when primary fermentation is done, how can you tell when the yeasties are done cleaning up and conditioning and its time to bottle?

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Old 02-23-2009, 08:09 PM   #2
Sep 2008
Houston, Texas
Posts: 152

One in the same. When you get to your final gravity you can bottle. But what the experienced guys told me, and I have now come to find out myself, is that a little extra time in the fermenter improves the quality of the beer, which may be what you are asking. I now leave my beer in the primary for 3 weeks.

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Old 02-23-2009, 08:10 PM   #3
Aug 2008
pittsburgh pa.
Posts: 287

I typically do the 1,2,3 method as my guideline. If your hydrometer says you've reached the target gravity specified by the recipe, your ready to bottle.

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Old 02-23-2009, 08:26 PM   #4
ArcaneXor's Avatar
Nov 2007
Posts: 4,572
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Originally Posted by bgough View Post
If the hydrometer tells you when primary fermentation is done, how can you tell when the yeasties are done cleaning up and conditioning and its time to bottle?
It takes some expertise, but you can tell visually (by clarity) and by taste. The standard technique for clean-tasting beer is to start allowing the fermentation temperatures to rise as fermentation winds down, and then letting the beer sit in primary at room temperature for about a week or two after final gravity is reached (depending on the style). After that time has elapsed, you can evaluate the beer and decide whether anything needs to be modified, such as doing a secondary, lagering/cold conditioning, cold crashing, adding finings or additional fermentables. If not, you can safely bottle.

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Old 02-23-2009, 08:30 PM   #5
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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I bottle a month after I pitch my yeast for most of my beers....
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Old 02-23-2009, 08:52 PM   #6
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Feb 2005
Atkinson (near the Quad Cities), IL
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When my hydrometer says so...
HB Bill

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Old 02-23-2009, 09:02 PM   #7
Jan 2009
New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 155
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I'm taking hydrometer readings only as a means of comparing the current batch to previous batches. I pitch the yeast and then bottle 3 weeks later (unless I run out of primaries and get an itch to throw on another batch... Then I'll rack one that has been in the primary for 2+ weeks into the secondary so I can reuse the primary).

If I wasn't keeping a journal of my brews, then I probably wouldn't take a hydrometer reading at all, as I've gotten 70%+ attenuation on all of my 12 beers so far, regardless of the yeast (Muntons included!) or beer type. The only constant so far is temperature (my crawl space stays at exactly 68F/20C -- no variation at all).

That being said, if I had even one batch that didn't finish fermenting or had any issues, I would worry much more than I do.

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