first batch of beer!! need reassurance

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spiffywiffy

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Ok here is the deal.. I’m using coopers Irish stout extract.. mixing the wort and all that I believe went fine.. its the fermentation that I believe is going wrong..(using a 6 gallon food grade bucket with a regular airlock) The instructions that I’m using told me that fermentation would begin within 24 hours and that a bubbling airlock would be the indication.. Bingo that happened.. It said that bubbling would persist for 3-4 days then once it stopped transfer to a 5 gallon carboy(sanitized of course) and install airlock, well it stopped bubbling completely approximately 24-36 hours. Not sure what to do, I transferred it all to the 5 gallon carboy.. I brewed and started the primary fermentation at 5:30pm Sunday and sometime late Monday early morning Tuesday transferred it into the carboy. it is now Thursday 6:30pm and there has been no activity in the airlock at since it stopped in the primary plastic bucket. I do have sediment at the bottom of the carboy, it really doesn't smell bad at all and there is groups of tiny little air bubbles floating at the top( possible (carbonation?)... I also didn't take an OG.. wasn't in the directions. someone help please!!!
 

tchuklobrau

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1st always take a starting/original gravity reading weather instructions say to or not.
2nd do the instructions give an estimated finishing gravity? if so take a gravity reading if you are there you are there. yeast cant read the instructions. you may in fact have reached finish gravity. airlock activity is not a gauge. only hydro readings can tell if fermnetation is done or not.
 
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spiffywiffy

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i can't seem to find a FG for the extract. I believe i know how to test for FG. but what are good numbers? and what to do next? lol.. Until i get the hang of anything, if it doesn't go exactly by the instructions i get kinda paranoid and worried... I just wanna brew drinkable beer!!! thanks again!
 

Tall_Yotie

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As I was reading, all I was thinking was "don't transfer, don't transfer... he transferred."

As tchukfhafffu said above, always good to take an OG reading, and the recipe should say what the estimated FG is. You should transfer to the secondary, if you even do that step, when fermentation is complete.

As it will be said many times, and as you can read in the stickies, Air Lock Activity is not a good way to gauge when fermentation is done. It is fun to watch, but a hydrometer is the only way to know if fermentation is done.

When you transferred, did you bring over the yeast trub that was on the bottom of the primary?

You should be fine, but remember; when in doubt, wait. It is hard to screw up beer, but the easiest way is to get frantic and jump the gun on the steps.
 
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spiffywiffy

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im not sure if i carried over the trub or not... both my kids woke up and i became flustered lol...so if i check my FG tomorrow and the day after and they are the same , my fermentation is either finished or i fudged it, right? then its time to bottle correct?? then what, play the waiting game for a week or two?
 

BostonHomeBrew

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Yeah... I'm new too, but everything I read says to be patient and keep it in primary for at least a week if not two. What sucks is most kit recipes try to rush you along (more for marketing reasons from what I've heard) instead of encouraging you to use gravity readings. Although I have to say that waiting is killing me since I wish I could be doing something to move it along, but I guess the anticipation is half the fun.

Anyway, don't worry about it man... it's part of the journey. If this one doesn't turn out the next one will, and you'll be all the smarter for it. :mug:
 

gr8shandini

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Was this a pure extract batch, or a mini-mash? Being your first brew, I'll assume that it's an extract batch. If you give us the recipe, we can tell you what your OG was as it's virtually impossible to miss unless you're doing some mashing.

As for a FG, an Irish stout should be pretty dry - under 1.010, but that depends on a lot of things. If you have stable readings for 2 or 3 days in a row and you're under 1.020, you're done. Also, I wouldn't sweat the 36 hour thing. Plenty of mid-gravity ales can be done in that amount of time especially if you're at the high end of the temperature scale (you just left it at room temperature, right?). You'll probably have some esters and maybe some fusels, but even after a transfer, you have plenty of yeast to clean that up. Leave it sit for a week or two, or until it tastes good, then bottle.

Finally, relax. Chances are you made a better beer than you thought you were capable of; and it's just your first one. Go to howtobrew.com, read through a couple of times, and then search / ask questions here. Before you know it, you'll be making some great stuff.
 

Tall_Yotie

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Do not rush it. Do not bottle early, else you will have foamers, or worse, exploders.

General rule of thumb for a normal brew is 1 week primary, 2 weeks secondary, 3 weeks in the bottle. This can also be 3 weeks primary and then 3 weeks in the bottle. The time after fermentation is done is for conditioning. The beer needs time to let the flavors meld together. It is like making soup or chili, is you don't let it simmer for a while it won't taste all that good.

Report to us what your measured gravity is. Even if the fermentation is done it needs a little conditioning time.

I have had fermentation done in 24 hours. I have had fermentation last over a week. All depends on the brew, the yeast and the temperature. Patience makes good beer. Rushing makes green underdeveloped beer. You probably haven't actually screwed anything up. Just be calm.
 

NeedsMoreHops

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Don't Panic! You will almost definitely have a drinkable beer. I'm still pretty new and I don't use a hydrometer, but every batch has been drinkable. I've had my best batch finish airlock activity in the same amount of time as you...and my worst batch as well. I've seen airlock activity go on for 4 days, then slow down to a bubble every 30-60 seconds for a few more days and this did not necessarily result in better beer. My worst batch probably would have been a lot better if I left it in primary for 2-3 weeks, then transferred to a secondary. It had a lot of sediment, and a young taste that never really went away, but it was drinkable, if you didn't mind the floaties. At this point, since you already transferred, all you can do is resist the urge to drink it too early. Get it in bottles and DO NOT TOUCH for 3 weeks. Put the bottles in the fridge for at least a couple of days. Around that time, you should be ready to bottle the next batch (which hopefully you kept in the primary for at least 2 weeks), so crack one open and enjoy it while you bottle the next batch...you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
 

kh54s10

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General rule of thumb is 1 week primary (leave it in there 2 weeks). 2 weeks secondary, (at least) and 3 weeks in the bottle. I start cheating, 1 bottle at a time after 1 1/2 weeks. If it has not carbed I wait another week.

Another sequence is to leave it in primary for 3-5 weeks then bottle. Skip the secondary unless you have a high gravity beer that needs long aging, or you are adding fruit or dry hopping and want to do that in secondary.

Advice: Learn the proper temperatures needed. Read about yeast starters. And don't rush things.

This hobby is great and you will brew some great beer if you keep at it.
 
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spiffywiffy

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all you guys/gals are awesome thinks for all the advice.. 10x better then my brewing for dummies book.. beer smart is better then book smart
 

rico567

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all you guys/gals are awesome thinks for all the advice.. 10x better then my brewing for dummies book.. beer smart is better then book smart
There is lots of good help on this forum. That said, there's also no substitute for a good brewing guide. The previous poster put up the intro from Palmer's How to Brew; I suggest you read the whole thing. I read it twice before I brewed my first batch. I then bought a hard copy and still refer to it occasionally after 4 years. You won't regret it.
 
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spiffywiffy

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well, to everyone who was wondering, the batch turned out okay.. i bottled the brew sunday afternoon and it is "A" okay.. ( had a few buddies try it and they just said it needed some carbonation) now im just resisting the urge to drink until i get some fizzies in it... Also made one more extract kit after reading that john palmer book... totally awesome book by the way.. and all i can say is im ready for more then the extract kits...
Both of my FG's were between 1.020-1.018, (OG on my second was 1.042)which trypically is kinda high for a regular stout from what i've heard and read.. could it be because the yeast packets in the extract kits possible might be old?? ( I heard rehydrating them helps) and my temp for fermentation typical stayed between 70-80 degrees...???????
 

Tall_Yotie

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Glad it turned out good! Just give it a couple weeks to condition and carb.

For the extract kits; where are you buying them from? If you are getting quality kits then the yeast should be fine. Only concern is if it is the "extract in a can" type where it is a tin can of extract with hops already infused, and has a pack of yeast under the lid. Otherwise the yeast should be fine. Just keep it in the fridge until ready to use!

Rehydrating yeast is one of those hot-topic spots. I had a brew start at 1.102 and go all the way to 1.024 with 2 packs of dry yeast, no rehydration.

However, 50% attenuation does indeed seem low. You kit should state on the recipe your expected FG and OG. Can you tell us the expected and what you actually got?
 
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spiffywiffy

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Glad it turned out good! Just give it a couple weeks to condition and carb.

For the extract kits; where are you buying them from? If you are getting quality kits then the yeast should be fine. Only concern is if it is the "extract in a can" type where it is a tin can of extract with hops already infused, and has a pack of yeast under the lid. Otherwise the yeast should be fine. Just keep it in the fridge until ready to use!

Rehydrating yeast is one of those hot-topic spots. I had a brew start at 1.102 and go all the way to 1.024 with 2 packs of dry yeast, no rehydration.

However, 50% attenuation does indeed seem low. You kit should state on the recipe your expected FG and OG. Can you tell us the expected and what you actually got?
It is indeed extract in a can, it is a can of Cooper's Irish Stout.. which i've been told and also read that they can be old and not up to par..I do not know the OG for the first batch but for the second it was (OG 1.042- FG 1.020-1.018).. which was about the first batches FG as well.. for my next batch im wanting to do a partial mash so i can have more control over tastes, aromas, and thickness of the beer ETC. I'm wanting to do a Blackberry Wit of some sort without getting to advanced if possible
 

casperjah

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Hi spiffy, I do a lot of Coopers and if you use the liquid malt extract the FG turns out higher, as said already near to 1.020. I have my 3rd Coopers stout with LME on now and its been at 1.018 for a couple of days. I will bottle in another day or so. Some sygars ferment out completely and some don't, giving higher readings.
 

Tall_Yotie

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Spiffy;

I would highly suggest moving onto an extract/steep kit. Be it a flavored wit or some other form of brew, it will give you better quality ingredients and beer. They are not hard at all, the most difficult part you have down already; sanitation. Look through Northwest Brewing Supply or More Beer, and see what they have. The only things you will need that you don't have now is a grain bag (cheap) and optionally some hops bags (also cheap).
 
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spiffywiffy

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sounds good everybody.. and thanks casperjah for the input on the coopers kit.. It just lets me know im doing everything right.. Tall Yotie, thats what i was thinking as well was steeping then after doing that a few times.. possible a partial-mash if im getting it down without too much error.. theres just too much fun to be had to not be doing more.. I'll be reading more of that John Palmers Book.. that book i swear is the brewers bible.. I'll think i will get a wheat beer extract kit then screw around with some blackberries..
 
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