Hello and first batch underway... but stuck

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icebrain

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Hello all,
I recently started my first batch (a porter) last Monday with some coaching from my brother (who's done 3-4 brews) and a couple of books. But now I'm stuck, since I can't get hold of said brother (he's on the other side of the Atlantic).

Anyways, here's the situation. After boiling and cooling the wort, I poured it into the fermenter (glass carboy), pitched the yeast, and rigged up a blowoff tube. Fermentation got started a couple hours later and blew a bunch of foam and other stuff into my collector bucket. By the next afternoon (Tuesday), the blowoff tube was cleared of foam and just bubbling steadily, so I replaced it with an airlock.

Today, I'm down to one bubble every 20 seconds or so. The inside surface of the fermenter up to the neck is covered in brown dried stuff, and the surface is calm with some light-colored stuff floating on it (yeast, I assume?).

At this point, I'm assuming there's still some fermenting going on, and that it'll probably be another week or so before I go to bottle it. The question is, how can I tell? I'm figuring I should wait till the floaty stuff disappears, but that seems rather unprecise. In the hectic process of making this first batch, I forgot to take a hygrometer reading, so that method is out. Is there any other way to tell besides "let it sit a while longer"?

Thanks everyone
 

Nurmey

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An hydrometer is what you need to tell you whether fermentation has finished. If you don't have one, wait at least two more weeks before bottling. Even if fermentation is finished, the yeast have a lot of work to do cleaning up after themselves. Also, letting everything settle out will stop the piles of bottle sediment that so many impatient homebrewers get by bottling too soon. Your beer will be much better for the wait.

Buying a hydrometer before the next batch would be a great idea.

Welcome to HBT and the wonderful world of brewing!
 

buckeyebrewer

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When in doubt use your hydrometer. Take a reading after 7-10 days. Take a reading 2 days later. If the reading hasn't gotten any lower then fermentation has completed. But always give the yeast some time to clean up after itself....the hardest and most important lesson to learn when brewing is patience
 

Revvy

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THe krauzen (the goopy stuff) will fall towards the end of fermentation...leaving it for another week or 3 will help clear the beer...and yes a hydrometer is what you will use to determine if fermentation is complete.
 
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icebrain

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Yeah, I have the hydrometer, I just forgot to use it :eek:

But apparently, I still can? Hmm... all right, I'll give it till Monday and take a reading.

I'm assuming also that bottling can be done straight from the fermenter? Or should I clean out another bucket to do that from?

Thanks

(you'd think an engineer would be able to figure this out...)
 

HBHoss

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Yeah, I have the hydrometer, I just forgot to use it :eek:

But apparently, I still can? Hmm... all right, I'll give it till Monday and take a reading.

I'm assuming also that bottling can be done straight from the fermenter? Or should I clean out another bucket to do that from?

Thanks

(you'd think an engineer would be able to figure this out...)
Give it a few weeks in the fermenter then transfer to a bottling bucket so you can add the boiled sugar for carbonation.
 

buckeyebrewer

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It is near impossible to mix your priming sugar into the beer without disturbing the trub and yeast bed in your fermenter bucket. You should rack the beer into a bottleing bucket first.
 

knowltonm

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From the sounds of it you had a great fermentation, do you have a secondary carboy to rack to? If you do, you can probably transfer it now and let it settle out in there. If no, leave it for a total of around 3 weeks in the fermenter then bottle using the bottling bucket as everyone says.
 

gimmebeer

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1. The worst mistake you can make is to bottle before it's finished fermenting. Give it time.
2. The second worst mistake you can make is to not take advantage of the world of information that is out there. It might take more time to read John Palmer's "How to Brew" (it's free -- howtobrew.com) than to fire out quick questions on forums, but you'll feel a lot more in command it you read whole books. And you'll know when someone on these forums is answering just because it makes them feel like a big shot to answer even though they really don't know the answer. Unfortunately, that happens.
 
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