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Mar 29, 2005
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Jonesboro, AR
Hi guys, I just cooked up my first batch of homebrew. It's fermenting as we speak. I am praying that I did everything correctly because I would really hate for this batch to go bad. My only concern is that it's been about a day and a half and I am seeing no signs of fermintation. No bubbles are rising up through the fermintation lock or anything.

The beer is a cream ale kit I ordered off the internet. The website ( said it was a very easy one to make and one of their most popular. My concern is in the way I did the yeast. I got the wort and the water into my sanitized fermintation bucket. Then I hydrated the yeast in a bowl of luke warm water for about ten minutes. Then I dumped in the water/yeast mixture and gave it a little stir with my sanitized plastic spoon. Does all of this sound like I did it right?

Also, when would you recomend that I begin taking my hydrometer readings? Should I have done this before fermintation as well? Thanks for any advice.

Sounds like you did everything correctly. How old was the kit when you brew it up? Do you have the fermenter at the right temperature (around 70F probably)?

I wouldn't worry about the hydrometer readings, they don't really do much for you other than tell you your % ABV, but your kit probably tells you that already. But to answer your question, the SG reading is taken before you pitch the yeast, so it's too late to take that one now anyway :(
How do you know it isn't fermenting? If it's a bucket, gas could be leaking around the rim and you wouldn't know it. Have you peeked inside? Is there a foam ring on the wall of the bucket?

And no don't start taking hydrometer readings. You really don't need to take any more hydrometer readings ever. Just let it sit and bottle it in about 3 weeks. Taking hydrometer samples will just waste potential beer.
Thanks for the advice. I thought once fermintation occured I would see some bubbles rising up into the fermentation lock. I can see inside the lock because it is made of clear plastic.

Do you guys know where the best place to pick up an affordable glass carboy would be?

The airlock won't bubble unless the lid is sealed properly. If your lid leaks at all, the CO2 will escape that way.

You should sneak a peek inside the bucket. Wash your hands first.

You can get carboys at any homebrew store. Cheers! :D
Alright, I took a peek inside and I saw a very thin froth on top of most of the wort. Does this sound right to you? Should it be bubbling more on day 2 of fermentation? Also, there was a brown substance around the top edge where the wort doesn't reach. Is it possible that all the bubbling and whatknot has already gone on?

Sounds likely that's what happened to me. The ring is where the foam climbed to at one point and has since fallen back would be my guess. A lot of these fermenter bucket lids aren't airtight.
Howdy Rob, welcome to the forum. Looks like you're doing OK.

The only thing you didn't mention is whether or not you aerated your wort before you pitched your yeast. There are a few ways to do this, but the most basic is to stir it vigorously with your (sanitized) spoon before pitching. That'll help your yeast get off and running more quickly.

Best of luck!

So do you guys think that this batch should still turn out ok? Would it be best for me to invest in an airtight fermenter?

Yeah, is there's a ring of stuff up above your beer then it would appear that you've had a ferment.

If your fermenter is in fact not airtight then yes, I'd get a new one.

Do you plan to do a secondary fermentation?

I definately plan to do some secondary fermentation as soon as I perfect the art of single-stage fermentation. I have really taken a liking to the more complex Belgian beers and from my understanding they require two-stage fermenting. I just can't wait to try this one out though. I'm really excited. It's just too bad that I have to wait so long. So I guess I'll have to settle for tossing back a few of New Belgiums finer beverages. Thanks for putting my mind at ease.

Since you're not planning to do a secondary and are not entirely sure of the status of your ferment, I'd let it sit for at least another week and take a gravity reading. If you're getting down in the 10-13 range, it'd probably be safe to bottle. It's going to take some time for the stuff to mature, though.

Personally I think all beers can use a secondary. It'll get your beer off the yeast cake and whatever other stuff might settle out of it, cleaning up both the color and the flavor....esp. the flavor. It's not just for "complex" will help all of them.

Some Belgians do use another yeast addition to the secondary, but that's not what I'm talking about....I just mean that getting it off the trub that your primary left behind and letting it age a little like that will do wonders.

I'm not criticizing your method, but I think a secondary ferment will help you immensely here. Then again I've done all of mine in a secondary, so I don't know how a single-stage fermented beer would turn out. Maybe I missed the boat. :)

Yeah there's really no "art" to single or double stage fermentation. It's just a matter of racking the beer over to a clean container after 4-7 days. You'll get cleaner tasting beer if you do so. Cheers! :D
Well, I may be showing my ignorance here, but I have two buckets with my kit. One was called the fermenting bucket and one the bottling bucket. Would it be a good idea for me to transfer the beer from the fermenting bucket into the bottling bucket after 4-7 days and then bottle it straight from the bottling bucket? I may be a little confused here, I'm kind of playing this by ear.

Any advice you could give me would be much appreciated.

Best would be to go buy a glass carboy...keeping your beer in plastic for weeks on end isn't a great idea. Glass is impervious to oxygen, unlike plastic.

So then you'd rack to the carboy after 4-7 days, then leave it there for at least a couple of weeks to a month...the longer, the better your beer will taste. Then rack to the bottling bucket and bottle.

And no need for a hydrometer! ;)
No need to secondary, unless you want to rack on fruit or harvest yeast for future batches or something similar.

Beer tends to taste best depending on style, but secondary has little to do with taste, unless you want to batch-age a high alcohol belgian or such.

Bottling buckets are used for bottling only, so you add your bottling sugar, siphon the beer on top and then bottle, it isn't for extended use or secondary.

Personally I prefer not to secondary(it's not a fermentation, unless you add fermentables such as sugars or fruit etc.) if there isn't a very specific need for it. Belgians will also age fine in bottles if you cellar them.