Frist batch questions

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ZA-GRANT

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I started by first batch on Saturday morning (16th Jan). On Saturday and Sunday there was a fair amount of activity from the airlock but by Tuesday morning it had almost stopped. Wednesday and today there has been no activity at all. The seals are tight and the yeast packet said active from 18-30 Celsius and it has been at 24/26 Celsius the whole time.
It is a Munich lager and does smell quite good.
I am worried about opening the bucket but can see it is settling and the instructions said 5-7 days fermenting and then it can be bottled.
What should it look like before bottling as right now the top of the wort is clearer than the bottom so something is happening. Any advice of what to do next would be great, thanks.
 

friarsmith

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Do you have a hydrometer? If so, check the gravity. Without knowing the specs of the beer, the hydrometer reading should be at or below about 1.016 for this type of beer. If the reading is north of 1.014-1.106, there is a slight risk of bottle bombs.

If you do not have a hydrometer, give it 10-14 days to be safe.

Moral to the story: don't rush primary fermentation.

You can safely let beer sit 2-3 weeks in primary before bottling. Even if, for example, a beer fully ferments in 4-5 days, the extra time allows the yeast to clean up fermentation byproducts like diacetyl, and your bottled beer will likely have better clarity as well. As a general rule of thumb, most standard gravity beers (5-6% ABV) can sit in primary 2 weeks and then be bottled.

Best of luck with your first batch!
 
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McKnuckle

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And all that being said, fermenting at 24-26ºC will likely have produced some unpleasant byproducts. So in addition to the good advice about ensuring that full attenuation has occurred, you'll want to give the yeast at least a fighting chance to clean up by leaving the beer on the yeast for a short while. For your next batch, invest some reading time in the importance of fermentation temperature and how to control it.
 
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Z

ZA-GRANT

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Do you have a hydrometer? If so, check the gravity. Without knowing the specs of the beer, the hydrometer reading should be at or below about 1.016 for this type of beer. If the reading is north of 1.014-1.106, there is a slight risk of bottle bombs.

If you do not have a hydrometer, give it 10-14 days to be safe.

Moral to the story: don't rush primary fermentation.

You can safely let beer sit 2-3 weeks in primary before bottling. Even if, for example, a beer fully ferments in 4-5 days, the extra time allows the yeast to clean up fermentation byproducts like diacetyl, and your bottled beer will likely have better clarity as well. As a general rule of thumb, most standard gravity beers (5-6% ABV) can sit in primary 2 weeks and then be bottled.

Best of luck with your first batch!
Thanks! I appreciate the advice and I forgot to ask. Will stirring make any difference?
 
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ZA-GRANT

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And all that being said, fermenting at 24-26ºC will likely have produced some unpleasant byproducts. So in addition to the good advice about ensuring that full attenuation has occurred, you'll want to give the yeast at least a fighting chance to clean up by leaving the beer on the yeast for a short while. For your next batch, invest some reading time in the importance of fermentation temperature and how to control it.
Thanks well noted. The pain is that the bottle stores are closed due to COVID so I running short of beer.
 

McKnuckle

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Most people here will give you advice based on best brewing practices and their personal experience. If you are looking to brew your own beer because you can't buy it, you may be willing to compromise on flavor and quality in order to get your buzz. :) And that is okay... but not what most of us would do, hence the suggestions.

Most importantly, even if you do not condition the beer or care about it clearing, you must wait for fermentation to be complete, or you will have bottles that explode. That can badly hurt you (or worse). It's a true and serious risk. Don't screw with it. Wait a full two weeks and then bottle the beer.
 

RM-MN

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I am worried about opening the bucket but can see it is settling and the instructions said 5-7 days fermenting and then it can be bottled.
I've bottled beer at day 7. I've bottled beer on day 10. I've waited until 9 weeks had passed to bottle beer. The 9 week beer was the best but the beer bottled on day 7 was drinkable but....there was a lot of sediment in the bottom of each bottle as the beer hadn't had sufficient time for the trub to fully settle. Since you are out of, or nearly out of beer, take a hydrometer sample to verify that fermentation didn't get hung up, then bottle this batch. Now start the next batch so it can have time to properly settle out before you bottle it.
 

friarsmith

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Thanks! I appreciate the advice and I forgot to ask. Will stirring make any difference?
Considering fermentation is at or near completion, it's best to avoid stirring the beer as it may cause some oxidation/staling of the beer. You can, however, pick up the fermenter and gently rotate it (think really slow hula hoop dance) to rouse the yeast and encourage more activity. Maybe a few 'dances' at 10-15 seconds each.
 

ncbrewer

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I agree with the warnings about bottle bombs but would be even more cautious. I suggest waiting at 18 days after pitching and take a gravity sample. Then after three more days take another sample. It gravity is stable, bottle. If not, wait several days and repeat. If you don't have a hydrometer, I would give it 3 weeks before bottling. Even doing this, I'm cautious when opening the first bottle - I put a folded towel over the bottle while opening it.
 
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