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Can i bottle at FG 1.013?

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mrdodo

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Hi everybody,

Just brewing my first batch, a düsseldorf alt, from a brupak kit. Everything has gone fine but according to the kit I should be ready to bottle now. I checked the gravity and it was 1.013, and I've seen online that 1.01-1.014 may be a good FG for this sort of beer.

But, I'm using a Stevenson Hydrometer and all over the instructions it says 'DO NOT BOTTLE UNTIL GRAVITY IS JUST BELOW 1.006'. Am I really supposed to wait till its so low? Or can I bottle now?

Thanks
 

Golddiggie

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When you get a pair of MATCHING hydrometer readings that are at least 3 days apart, you should be at FG. Then it's a matter of if the brew is actually ready to be bottled. It's not just a matter of reaching the target FG, but making sure the brew tastes right/ready. You can reach FG in a matter of days, but that doesn't mean it's ready for bottle that soon.
 

BluBruShack

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Typically 2 weeks in primary 2-3 in secondary to allow the beer to mature enough to be bottled and taste decent. Reaching your FG is is a good sign but the yeast still needs time to clean up after itself :) If you already knew that sorry. Happy Brewing
-BBS
 

Golddiggie

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Read up on the threads about how racking to a second vessel is unnecessary ~99% of the time. Simply roll the 'secondary' time frame into primary as needed. Use better yeast (higher flocculation rating, better for the brew, etc.) and you'll need less time in primary. There are plenty of other things you can [easily] do to improve the batch and NOT open up to the risks associated with racking to the second vessel.
 
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mrdodo

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Dammit, I was hoping somebody may say "Ignore the hydrometer, it is not uncommon to bottle at 1.013".

The instructions that came with the kit instructed to following (post Wort):

- Ferment for 5-7 days (primary fermentation, right).
- Get the beer off the sediment and siphon into another vessel (is this the secondary racking you refer to?).
- Wait two days and then bottle with a 0.5 tsp per pint.
- Store bottles warm for 7 days (secondary fermentation, right).
- Store the bottles cool for 7 days.

So I followed this:

- 7 days primary fermenting in a bucket with a heater.
- Checked the gravity: 1.013. Thought a bit high, but assumed it would lower over the two days clearing period. Siphoned into another bucket and added beer finings.
- After the two days checked gravity, no change. Was about to bottle so...
- PANIC. Why hasn't the yeast consumed anymore sugar?
- Perhaps beer was too cold? Siphoned back to the heatable bucket.
- Perhaps yeast needed oxygen? Oxidised the beer a bit during transfer (I now read this is a big no-no).
- Perhaps this is just how some beers are? Ask on a forum!

Which brings me here! I'm beginning to worry now. It's taking about 8 minutes for the airlock to bubble (day two of fermentation it was every 6 seconds). So Goldiggie, your first post interested me. Are you suggesting that if your gravity settles for 3 days then it may be bottle-able?
 

chiteface

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Golddiggie said:
Read up on the threads about how racking to a second vessel is unnecessary ~99% of the time. Simply roll the 'secondary' time frame into primary as needed. Use better yeast (higher flocculation rating, better for the brew, etc.) and you'll need less time in primary. There are plenty of other things you can [easily] do to improve the batch and NOT open up to the risks associated with racking to the second vessel.
Totally agree.
 

chiteface

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Activity from the bubbler is not necessarily a sign of fermentation. As a rule of thumb, unless I am doing a beer with a gravity starting over 1.080. I leave mine in the primary for 3 weeks and then bottle. Once you are in the bottle, once again depending on the gravity, you need at least three weeks. It sounds like with the beer you got, you need to lager yours once it is in the bottle...you started with a beer that is more complicated than most starting brewers. Try an ale next time and order from Austin Homebrew. Great instructions in their kits.
 
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mrdodo

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Thanks Chiteface. I need someone to tell me I ruined this batch so I can start a new one.

When racking into the secondary I was very careful to gently siphon the water in. I thought this was right. At some point prior to transferring it into the heatable bucket, I was in a mode where I would "try anything to get the gravity down"; I effectively positioned one bucket above the other and let the tap pour into the other. I said oxidised slightly in a previous post, perhaps "oxidised the hell out of" is more accurate. Now, that was stupid and can't justify it, but would this really mean that this batch is ruined? If so, I'll start a new one today so I don't have sherry-cardboard taking up space for the next few weeks.
 

Sir Humpsalot

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Do you know what oxidation tastes like? Probably not. That's not an insult, that's a reality check. Let your beer go through its natural paces. Do it right as best you can from here forward. Then taste it, make notes, learn from it. It's not about "ruining a batch". It's about gaining hand-on experience. You reading about sherry and cardboard flavors is nothing compared to experiencing them. So, for better or worse, this batch will give you important feedback. The better you get, the more you brew, the more nuanced your palate will get... but if you don't have the experience of cardboard or sherry or whatever, it'll be more confusing. And either way, it might even be good. I'm at a point now where I'm deliberately inducing a fault into my beer here or there because it fits my conception of what I want the beer to be.... it's a point of experience. You haven't wasted a moment.

But start another one today anyway. More batches is always better. :)
 
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mrdodo

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Haha, brilliant response and totally correct throughout. Thank you. I'll take this as an opportunity to learn and improve.

And I would start another batch, if only I had enough bottles! :)
 

TNGabe

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Haha, brilliant response and totally correct throughout. Thank you. I'll take this as an opportunity to learn and improve.

And I would start another batch, if only I had enough bottles! :)
Brew first and figure out what to do with it later!:mug:
 

Golddiggie

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I'd be amazed if that batch doesn't have serious off flavors in it. Maybe call it "Bugger Brau" due to what you did to it. :eek: Leaving the brew on the yeast until it's actually FINISHED fermenting is critical. I always advise tossing any instructions once you get past the point where it's in the fermenting vessel. Human time scales are nigh on useless when it comes to figuring out yeast. Some batches will be done sooner than others, other batches will be going for what feels like forever. Learn to deal with it and move on.

While an experienced brewer, using a yeast he/she knows well, can often predict when a batch will be done under the conditions, that's not something new brewers should attempt (IMO). Knowing what to look for, as far as indicators is key.

BTW, there is no 'magic SG' where it's "safe to bottle" for all batches. Each batch/recipe will have it's own FG target. Sometimes you hit it dead on, sometimes the batch stops above it, sometimes it goes far below it. Without taking hydrometer readings (especially for new brewers) you'll have no idea.
 

Gameface

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Since no one has answered the simple question yet... 1.013 is a perfectly fine F.G. for bottling. Seldom do my beers get down to 1.006. My target F.G. is usually around 1.010-1.014 (higher on certain beers).

That said, F.G. varies based on several factors. However, if your wort hits an F.G. and stays there then it's done and can be bottled. That F.G. could be in the 1.020s or could be 1.000. The recipe, yeast, pitch rate, mash temp, etc. will all affect your F.G., but once you're at your F.G. you're there and other than using a different type of yeast it isn't likely you're going to get it any lower. Not only that but messing around because you're panicked is much more likely to do harm than good.
 

jmd1971

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To answer your original question though, 1.013 is not too low for an altbier FG. Per the BJCP guidelines, the FG range is FG: 1.010 – 1.015. You're currently right in the middle so probably not going to drop much more depending on the yeast strain, fermenting conditions, ingredients used, etc. Assuming the recipe provided by the vendor gave you an OG of 1.046 – 1.054 (again BJCP guidleines), then your FG seems ok.

But to echo those above, a few days of steady hydrometer readings would tell you for sure. Keep on brewing!
 

Yooper

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Dammit, I was hoping somebody may say "Ignore the hydrometer, it is not uncommon to bottle at 1.013".
Absolutely, 1.013 is a perfect FG.

I have only had one beer, EVER, go below 1.007 and that was by design, so ignore the instructions on the hydrometer saying you have to bottle a beer when it's below 1.006!


As far as instructions go, those aren't great.

For your next batch, keep it at 62-68 degrees F, leave it in the fermenter for 10-14 days, and then bottle anytime after that when the beer is starting to clear and the SG reading is stable over at least three days.
 

bknifefight

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FIrst step, throw away whatever instructions came with your kit.
Second step, go check out this webpage:
www.howtobrew.com
You will get a lot better knowledge of brewing than any single page instruction sheet will give you.
 

menerdari

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Hi everybody,



But, I'm using a Stevenson Hydrometer and all over the instructions it says 'DO NOT BOTTLE UNTIL GRAVITY IS JUST BELOW 1.006'. Am I really supposed to wait till its so low? Or can I bottle now?

Thanks
I would never bottle if I had to wait to 1.006. never had a beer finish that low.
 

BlindFaith

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Haha, brilliant response and totally correct throughout. Thank you. I'll take this as an opportunity to learn and improve.

And I would start another batch, if only I had enough bottles! :)
Your LHBS has bottles. I refuse to buy empties, but if you are itching that bad to brew another; that is an option. You can also buy another fermenter. There is always a way.
 

Golddiggie

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Your LHBS has bottles. I refuse to buy empties, but if you are itching that bad to brew another; that is an option. You can also buy another fermenter. There is always a way.
I have three normal [beer] batch size fermenting vessels, one for up to about 12-12.5 gallons, 6 for mead/cider/other to use, with two more being created this weekend. I also have one small batch aging vessel (3.875 gallons) and two 25L aging vessels in use. One of the beer vessels will be emptied this weekend (going to serving kegs) with another probably going to serving keg before the end of next weekend. I try to have one empty fermenter at all times, which is why I'm creating two more for mead (5.16 gallon capacity each).

Moral of the story, you can almost never have 'too many' fermentation vessels.
 
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mrdodo

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Wow, that's a lot of responses since I last posted. I'm impressed!

Liking the name 'Bugger Brau". I expect the worst but I'll live and learn from it.

I realise that instructions are somewhat unreliable for something like this: I just assumed (wildly) that if the producers were that confident to put such specific and (seemingly) optimistic times down, then they would know something about the kit that 'guaranteed' these guidelines if the instructions were carried out correctly.

Anyway it's good to know that 1.013 is bottle able. I'm preparing for my next flawless attempt at brewing though!
 

Sir Humpsalot

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... I'm preparing for my next flawless attempt at brewing though!
Well once you finally have that flawless brew day, be sure to post up and we'll be happy to tell you what you screwed up!

Brewing is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the ride. Learn as you go. There's always more to learn. But most importantly, enjoy your beer. :mug:
 

BigGoat

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You could start another batch and just leave it in the fermenter till you have enough bottles. An extra week or two won't hurt hurt a bit. Plus it makes you leave it alone till its ready ;)
 
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