First batch ever...is my fermentation stalled?

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Inferno_man13

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Hey everybody,

I'm finally starting my homebrewing journey and started my first batch about two weeks ago. This is a small 1-gallon batch. I used "Brewer's Best" American Pale Ale extract recipe. Followed instructions and everything seemed to go to plan.

My airlock wasn't bubbling much but, after reading that they aren't totally reliable, I made sure to test for gravity after 7 days and again on the day 10 in primary. Both readings were the same, so I moved the beer from my primary fermentation bucket to a secondary fermentation carboy (that's the glass jar right? Lol I feel like such a noob.)

Anyway, long story short, it's been sitting a week in secondary fermentation and I've noticed a layer of clear liquid on top of the beer and no signs of krausen forming. Did I stall fermentation by transferring to secondary? Did I oxidize my beer and now it's going stale? Or should I just chill out, wait another week or so, and then prime and bottle the beer?
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P.S. I wish I had found this forum much sooner. I've noticed most experienced guys on here suggest avoiding secondary fermentation completely. Definitely taking notes for my next batch.
 

DBhomebrew

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What was the gravity going into the fermenter? And what was it on your two matching samples before racking to secondary? Did you taste it at both those times as well?

Going to go stale? How long might it take you to drink a gallon?
 
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Inferno_man13

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What was the gravity going into the fermenter? And what was it on your two matching samples before racking to secondary? Did you taste it at both those times as well?

Going to go stale? How long might it take you to drink a gallon?
My OG reading going into fermentation was 1.060.

I cooled the wort to 70°F before transfer to fermentation bucket then pitched 1tbsp of Dry Ale yeast (package says Safale US-05).

My gravity readings on day 7 and 10 showed 1.012.

I did taste on both days actually! I'm extremely curious about every stage. Even tasted cooled down wort...yuck. The beer after primary tasted and smelled strongly of alchohol. Didn't get much more taste than booziness. Not much in terms of hops or malt flavours and smells.

As far as time to drink...I doubtbitll be very long lol. I plan to share this with others as well so it won't last long. Does beer only get stale if it sits around too long in the bottle? Or does it happen during fermentation as well?
 
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Inferno_man13

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What temperature was the wort when you initially pitched the yeast?

Also I recommend getting "How To Brew" 4th edition by John Palmer. This is the bible. The original first edition can be read digitally for free here.
Temp was at 70°F when I pitched the yeast. Too warm? I'm realizing quickly that yeast is something I know nothing about and it can be quite tricky knowing what to expect from these little guys haha.

Also, thanks for that link! I was thinking of buying it with my next recipe and probably still will but I can't believe the first edition is free! Much appreciated!
 

Velnerj

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Those numbers look totally normal. The booziness might be due to fermentation temperature. If you fermented too warm many yeasts have a tendency to throw off flavors, medicinal alcohol being one of them. I try to keep ales in the low 60s (F) in order to avoid this.

To avoid this you'll need to control fermentation temperature keeping in mind your beer will be 5-10° higher than ambient temperature due to the yeast being active and raising the temp. You can search for the many methods people use to control fermentation temperature....
 

DBhomebrew

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My OG reading going into fermentation was 1.060.

I cooled the wort to 70°F before transfer to fermentation bucket then pitched 1tbsp of Dry Ale yeast (package says Safale US-05).

My gravity readings on day 7 and 10 showed 1.012.

I did taste on both days actually! I'm extremely curious about every stage. Even tasted cooled down wort...yuck. The beer after primary tasted and smelled strongly of alchohol. Didn't get much more taste than booziness. Not much in terms of hops or malt flavours and smells.

As far as time to drink...I doubtbitll be very long lol. I plan to share this with others as well so it won't last long. Does beer only get stale if it sits around too long in the bottle? Or does it happen during fermentation as well?
That would be 80% apparent attenuation with stable final gravity as evidenced by two matching samples separated by a couple days. You're good to package!

The heavy alcohol taste and smell is likely a factor of a too warm fermentation temp. When the yeast are given free reign they can throw all sorts of nasty stuff. Fermentation temperature control is often cited as the number one best step toward making tasty beer. Do you know what temp the beer was at during active fermentation? Not the temp of the room in which it was in, but the beer itself. Fermentation creates it's own heat making the beer warmer than its surroundings.

Edit: What he said.
 

hout17

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As mentioned fermentation temp control is a big deal. The yeast you used should be great low 60's to high 60's though. I've heard many say US-05 is really good in the mid 60's.
 

D.B.Moody

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You didn't stall your fermentation; it was already done. It won't get more krausen. You're just watching it clarify in that carboy. Where is that carboy sitting? If it's in a basement and it's cold, you probably ought to have a board under it. Also, you ought to cover that carboy as light can skunk beer rather quickly. A grocery bay with a hole cut in the bottom for the airlock works fine for that.
Welcome to a great hobby. :bigmug:
 
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Inferno_man13

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Oh boy, am I ever glad to have joined this forum.

Thanks for all the responses fellows.

I'm fermenting my beer in a crawl space in my apartment free of light. The floor isn't very cold but I will put some cardboard under the carboy as suggested, just in case.

I think my answer is definitely in my fermentation temperature though. The room temperature was a steady 68°F for primary...meaning the temperature inside the bucket was probably closer to 73°F-75°F according to what you guys said. That is definitely on the high end so I guess that's why it smells strongly of alchohol! Will the boozy taste and smell disappear during bottle conditioning and such?

I am currently looking for a mini fridge and temperature controller for my next batch to ensure the temperatures stay in the proper range. I've read it's a simple solution for temp control but, any other suggestions?
 

Jim R

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I think it will turn out almost exactly as it was designed. I will be about 6.3% alcohol with those gravity readings which will taste a little stronger. I would bottle or keg it.

Here is the inexpensive mini refrigerator that I use (with free shipping). It is kind of hard to find a refrigerator like this without a freezer taking up valuable space. This and the Inknird temperature controller below will work perfect if your fermenter will fit in it. It will also keep your keg cold when you switch to kegging.


 

GoodTruble

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I agree with everyone above. Everything sounds normal, and you should ready to bottle.

But I also wanted to mention that the flavors should mellow out and meld together as the beer bottle conditions and ages. My first pale ale tasted pretty bad 3-4 days after bottling, but then was successfully-average after 7-10 days.

Good luck. Keep on brew'n.
 

IslandLizard

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Congrats with your first brew, and welcome to the hobby and HBT!

then pitched 1tbsp of Dry Ale yeast (package says Safale US-05).
1 tablespoon (a whole pouch) in 1 gallon of wort?
That's quite an overpitch (way too much). But relax, it won't harm your beer, it's just a bit wasteful, and may subdue some of the yeast's flavor and aroma contributions, which is an integral part of fermentation and brewing.

One pouch (11 gram) is enough for pitching into 5 gallons of up to 1.060 gravity wort. So for 1 gallon (of 1.060) wort you'd only need to pitch 1/5 of a pouch. Then re-seal, tape shut, put into a ziplock baggie and store in the fridge of freezer for a next batch. Just keep it sanitary when handling, as for anything on the cold side of the brewing process. Good sanitation is paramount in brewing.

When you're botting from that jug, don't stick your siphon/racking cane all the way on the bottom, you'd be sucking up too much of that yeast. You want to leave that behind.
 

hotbeer

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As for taste of your beer, remember the old bar room speak. "there's my beer, then there is free beer" Essentially meaning that any beer you don't have to pay for is good beer.

At the time you are ready to throw away that batch you don't like, it becomes free beer. So at that point it's definitely good beer now. Just not something you claim as your beer.

And if you don't go for that, then it'll taste great by the third bottle even if your ABV is a meager 3.2.
 
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BrewnWKopperKat

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Welcome to Homebrew Talk @Inferno_man13 .

I am currently looking for a mini fridge and temperature controller for my next batch to ensure the temperatures stay in the proper range. I've read it's a simple solution for temp control but, any other suggestions?
If you have a chest cooler that fits a 1 gal carboy, you can fill the cooler with water to control the wort temperature. For one gallon batches I find that if I set the water temperature to around 65F that the beer will ferment at 66-67F. Check the water temperature in the morning / evening and adjust accordingly.
 

IslandLizard

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If you have a chest cooler that fits a 1 gal carboy, you can fill the cooler with water to control the wort temperature. For one gallon batches I find that if I set the water temperature to around 65F that the beer will ferment at 66-67F. Check the water temperature in the morning / evening and adjust accordingly.
That's a really good solution for small fermenters. If the lid doesn't (quite) close, prop it up and drape an old sleeping bag or moving blanket over the setup.
You can add one or more (small) frozen water bottles to the water jacket to regulate the temp downward, if need be.
 

GoodTruble

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Looks like it's time to transfer into bottles and prime and cap.
Then wait and then drink.
You'll enjoy for sure.
I prime bottle, then fill, then cap. But it will all work out as long as you keep everything sanitized.
 

BigDave1303

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As for taste of your beer, remember the old bar room speak. "there's my beer, then there is free beer" Essentially meaning that any beer you don't have to pay for is good beer.

At the time you are ready to throw away that batch you don't like, it becomes free beer. So at that point it's definitely good beer now. Just not something you claim as your beer.

And if you don't go for that, then it'll taste great by the third bottle even if your ABV is a meager 3.2.
Agree with this. I've always found that home brew tastes strange at first if you are used to pub beer. Then you get used to homebrew & don't like pub beer anymore. Every time I make a new batch I think 'hmmm, I prefered the last one' then it matures & I get used to the taste & so it goes on with every new batch. I'm currently drinking an all grain Coconut Shy PA, & yesterday I kegged a Coopers larger kit which I dry hopped (well not actually hops) with candied orange peel. Can definitely taste the orange, I think I may have put too much in. Next beer is going to be an all grain Vacant Gesture which I have not made before.
 
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Inferno_man13

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Welcome to Homebrew Talk @Inferno_man13 .


If you have a chest cooler that fits a 1 gal carboy, you can fill the cooler with water to control the wort temperature. For one gallon batches I find that if I set the water temperature to around 65F that the beer will ferment at 66-67F. Check the water temperature in the morning / evening and adjust accordingly.
Gooood call with the water bath to control temp! Never thought of it but I am going to do some more research!
 
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Inferno_man13

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Agree with this. I've always found that home brew tastes strange at first if you are used to pub beer. Then you get used to homebrew & don't like pub beer anymore. Every time I make a new batch I think 'hmmm, I prefered the last one' then it matures & I get used to the taste & so it goes on with every new batch. I'm currently drinking an all grain Coconut Shy PA, & yesterday I kegged a Coopers larger kit which I dry hopped (well not actually hops) with candied orange peel. Can definitely taste the orange, I think I may have put too much in. Next beer is going to be an all grain Vacant Gesture which I have not made before.
Coconut shy pa dang. That sounds interesting how'd it turn out? Im actually looking at coopers lager kit and was try to think of good ways to spruce it up a bit. Love the orange peel idea. Hope it turns out!
 
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Inferno_man13

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Hey everybody,
Haven't posted in a while, been busy brewing!
Just wanted to update everyone on how the beer turned out. It was amazing (not exactly because of the taste but, the feeling of accomplishment and earning that beer...holy smokes I've never felt like this.)
It WAS quite boozy but, the taste was still enjoyable and the booziness worked with the malty caramel notes that were in there somewhere. The rest of it though, thanks to your input and a bit of research elsewhere, turned out great. Somehow managed to get good carbonation and head, the mouthfeel was right on and it was so strong I was buzzed after just one so overall, I'm pretty chuffed with it.
Thanks again for the input and advide y'all. Bottling a wheat beer today and will be prepping and starting a brown ale tomorrow! Hope you all have a good weekend brewing or doing whatever!
Cheers!
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BigDave1303

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Coconut shy pa dang. That sounds interesting how'd it turn out? Im actually looking at coopers lager kit and was try to think of good ways to spruce it up a bit. Love the orange peel idea. Hope it turns out!
Both turned out ok. Orange is quite subtle now with age but leave a slight aroma afterwards at the back of the throat.
 
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