How do I know when Primary fermentation is done?

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American

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Im brewing a coopers stout extract kit. I sent it down to the cellar about 1 day after it started to ferment. It is still bubbling and there are bubbles on the top of the beer but there has been a significant reduction in the amount of foam on the top and not much spent yeast on the bottom. It's sitting at 65 F right now producing five to six "burps" a minute. I did not take a initial gravity reading as I don't have a hydrogrometer. How do I know It's done. Take a sip and make sure it's not sugary?
 

Beerrific

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Don't mess with it for at least 5 days. Then take a hydrometer reading, even if you don't know the exact OG, you should have an OK idea of where the FG should be (post recipe and yeast type for this guess), if this is at an appropriate level check again on day 6, if the same rack to secondary, if going straight to bottles let it sit for another 1-2 weeks.
 

libs

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The only way you can know when it is done fermenting is to take hydrometer readings. It's not to late to pick one up though. Take readings on consecutive days (2 or 3), and if there is no change in the readings you're ready to rack. Not having taken an initial reading just means it will be difficult to determine the ABV%. If you post your exact recipe or use a brewing software, you can get an approximate SG.

On of the most important tools for a homebrewer is the hydrometer!

Cheers
 

mrk305

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:mug: If you are swapping to a secondary, leave it in the primary 1 week and in the secondary 1 more week. Or you can just leave it in the primary for 2 weeks and bottle it. I have found it is easier to be patient when you have lots of homebrew already made. Welcome to the hobby!
 
OP
A

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righty o, I think I'll do the wait for one week thing, and listen for bubbles as I've already opened the fermwnter about five times. I don't have a spout on the bottom so I can't tap it hermetically. I suppose In this case it's not such a big deal as I will be letting it sit in the secondary for about 2 1/2 weeks which should allow any further sugars to be fermented out. It seems as if autolysis only occurs if you leave it in the primary for 2+ weeks so I should be in the clear regardless.
 

Beerrific

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You really want fermentation to be done plus some before you move it off the yeast. Secondary "fermentation" isn't really where you want any fermentation to take place, it is really more for conditioning and clearing. They are there working to make your beer taste better. People routinely leave their beer on the yeast in primary for 3+ weeks and have no autolysis.

I would highly suggest you get a hydrometer, besides your taste buds, it is your primary tool to diagnose any post fermentation problems (not saying you will ever have any:)).
 
OP
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okey dokey, off to the store to buy a hydrometer.

Thanks for the help everyone!
 

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