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Old 03-23-2010, 05:03 PM   #1
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Default Is my beer ready to bottle?

I have a Belgian White Beer in the fermenter. Been in there for 3 wks today. Last week on the 2 week mark, I opened the fermenter and there was lots of foam and bubbles still on top. Checked the gravity and it was at 1.022, the final gravity is supposed to be 1.012. So I let it go another week. Today, after 3 weeks in the fermenter I opened it up and there is still a lot of foam and bubbles on the top. I haven't checked the gravity yet. Question is, whats with the foam and bubbles on the top? I've only made 3 other batches, but with them after 2 weeks they've been ready to go and the top there has been no foam or anything, just beer. Should I check the gravity or leave it until there is no foam or is the foamy head on the top nothing to worry about? Thanks.

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Old 03-23-2010, 05:13 PM   #2
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Check the gravity. The foam may or may not go away in due time. I have a belgian blonde that has been in the fermenter for 2.5 weeks and there is a lot of CO2 bubbles on the top and even some yeast that never dropped out of suspension.

Here's what you should do: check your gravity today, tomorrow, and the day after. If it stays the same all three days then you're fermentation is about as far as it's going to get. If you're too high you need to decide if you under-pitched your yeast or if you have unconverted starches in your wort that's holding you up, then you can decide on a course of action based on that (add more yeast or add amylase enzyme). If you're at your target gravity then bottle it up and put that bad boy in the fridge!

'Kilgore Trout once wrote a short story which was a dialogue between two pieces of yeast. They were discussing the possible purposes of life as they ate sugar and suffocated in their own excrement. Because of their limited intelligence, they never came close to guessing that they were making champagne.'

—Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions
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Old 03-23-2010, 05:17 PM   #3
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For normal gravity beers, like a witbier, 3 weeks would normally be sufficient. But if i saw krausen on top, I would definitely be guided by my hydrometer. Take a series of readings over the next few days and see if its steady. If it is, that means the fermentation is done and its safe to bottle. If its still dropping, leave it for another week or two and check again.

This is what i love about this avocation - you can never predict exactly how things will turn out!

edit: What he said ^^^^^^
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:01 PM   #4
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the foam is the yeast and the CO2 that they produce. You really want to wait for the yeast to fall to the bottom before bottling. Some patches of foam after 3 weeks is probably OK but if there is a think layer of foam that keeps you from seeing the liquid I would wait and give that time to clear up.

Some wheat beer yeasts take a long time to flocculate.
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