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How do you know when Beer is done in the bottle?

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Col224

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I'm just finishing up my first batch of Beer. I left it in the primary for 3 weeks, then bottled it, it had a FG of about 1.010. I probably should have used a secondary to clear it a bit as it was pretty cloudy when I bottled it. It now has a small layer of sediment at the bottom of the bottle, but other than that, the beer seems completely clear. It has only been bottled for a week.

My question is: How do I know when its ready for drinking? I know the 1-2-3 rule, and that its a guideline, but how do I know when the beer is good to drink? or when its carbonated?

Thanks.
 

Reno_eNVy

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That's how you tell!

It should be fine to drink after a week if you kept it at proper temperatures but just give it some time

RDWHAHB
 

Yooper

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That's how you tell!

It should be fine to drink after a week if you kept it at proper temperatures but just give it some time

RDWHAHB
Yep- only sure way to tell. BUT..........it's always best to "test" by putting the bottle in the fridge for at least 24-48 hours before trying. It forces the co2 in the headspace into solution, to give you a better idea of the carbonation level. Cold beer absorbs co2 much better than warm beer. A warm beer may foam, but still be undercarbonated when chilled.

The next time, you may want to fill a couple of plastic bottles when you bottle. Either soda bottles, or PET bottles made just for homebrew would work. Keep them with the others. Give them a squeeze every few days. When they are rock hard, the beer is carbonated! (It took me like a year to figure out that trick!)
 

mysteryberto

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When I first started brewing I tried one bottle a week to get a feel for how beer ages and carbonates in the bottle. It really helps to let it age the full 3 weeks or more but you can start drinking it earlier. The last bottle is generally the best
 

Orfy

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If you can then plan on leaving it 3 weeks in before drinking.
That way if all is well you won't be let down and it will have had a little time to condition.If you are still learning then it's worth opening one a week to check on it and educate your self as to how a beer goes from green to conditioned.
 

Reno_eNVy

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The next time, you may want to fill a couple of plastic bottles when you bottle. Either soda bottles, or PET bottles made just for homebrew would work. Keep them with the others. Give them a squeeze every few days. When they are rock hard, the beer is carbonated! (It took me like a year to figure out that trick!)

That's an amazing and amazingly simple idea. Definitely using that one when I bottle my Wit
 

Bob

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The next time, you may want to fill a couple of plastic bottles when you bottle. Either soda bottles, or PET bottles made just for homebrew would work. Keep them with the others. Give them a squeeze every few days. When they are rock hard, the beer is carbonated! (It took me like a year to figure out that trick!)
Here's a mod for that trick: When you fill your PET bottle, fill it like you would normally fill a glass bottle, i.e., leave some headspace. Then gently squeeze the bottle to make the fluid level rise the the very lip of the bottle. While continuing to squeeze the bottle, tightly screw down the cap.

As the beer comes into condition, the gas will force itself into making headspace. The squeezed plastic will puff out to the bottle's normal, molded shape. That gives you a visual reference to gauge carbonation!

Squeezing the carbonating bottle allows you to gauge the level of carbonation. The harder the bottle, the more carbonation in the beer. Don't make the mistake I made, though, and use an unopened bottle of pop as a reference. Soda pop is carbonated to a much higher level than you're likely to ever want in your beer, which means the pop bottle will be rock-hard compared to your homebrew.

Bob
 
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Col224

Col224

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Where do I get a PET bottle? or will any common soda bottle work?

Thanks for the information everyone. I think I'm definitely going to be testing these as they condition more so I can get a feel what "green" beer tastes like.

Plus, it means I get to drink my beer.
 

Reno_eNVy

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Any common plastic pop bottle will do.

Drinking beer is fun! It's even more fun if you can justify it as education. ;)

Bob
Too true. After I get my biology degree from Nevada I'm applying for the brewing school at UC Davis. I'm pretty sure every Aggie school has a brewing program
 

Whisler85

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ive NEVER made a homebrew that wasnt 10x better at six weeks than at two weeks

bite your lip and wait- try buying more carboys and filling them to satisfy your beer addiction

after six weeks, the beers will be better and carbonated for sure

and yes, i know how hard it is to wait...
 

OrvilleOrdinary

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it's always best to "test" by putting the bottle in the fridge for at least 24-48 hours before trying. It forces the co2 in the headspace into solution, to give you a better idea of the carbonation level. Cold beer absorbs co2 much better than warm beer. A warm beer may foam, but still be undercarbonated when chilled.
I put this to the test. I opened a beer that had been in the bottle for 7 days, and it was fully "falsely carbonated," as I've recently learned to term it. (Thanks, Revvy.)

I put one of these falsely carbonated beers in the fridge, and two days later, it was absolutely flat.

I'm trying to understand what's happening here. If, as Yooper put it, the co2 in the headspace gets reabsorbed into the beer when you chill it, wouldn't that make the beer seem MORE carbonated than LESS? Am I misinterpreting the word "absorb" here?
 

Revvy

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I

I'm trying to understand what's happening here. If, as Yooper put it, the co2 in the headspace gets reabsorbed into the beer when you chill it, wouldn't that make the beer seem MORE carbonated than LESS? Am I misinterpreting the word "absorb" here?
But it has to first reach it's full volume of CO2....That's carbonation...if you have brewing software you can see how different beers actually require different volumes if you carb true to style, and how much sugar you need to achieve it BASED partly on the temp of your beer at bottling time...the 5 ounces in a kit is just a quick and dirty generic standard volume of produced CO2...

Regardless it needs to hit a certain amount in the headspace before it gets absorbed fully into the solution...once it reaches that, it won't dissappear when it is chilled, it kinda locks into the liquid at that point...
 

Malticulous

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I've only done about two dozen batches. I usually open the first one after four days in the bottle, one of those days the bottle being in the fridge. All have been carbonated. I did see some video of a person opening room temp beer--just silly. You could even shake them before putting them in the fridge. I only did that with the Hefewizen because I did not care about the sediment. :cross:

I have shook some up and looked for bubbles as I turned the bottle up and down. Seemed to show if it was carbonated or not but then I just put them back in the box.
 

Revvy

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I've only done about two dozen batches. I usually open the first one after four days in the bottle, one of those days the bottle being in the fridge. All have been carbonated. I did see some video of a person opening room temp beer--just silly. You could even shake them before putting them in the fridge. I only did that with the Hefewizen because I did not care about the sediment. :cross:

I have shook some up and looked for bubbles as I turned the bottle up and down. Seemed to show if it was carbonated or not but then I just put them back in the box.
What you have after four days is what we have called false carbonation, the stuff HAS NOT BEEN REABSORBED BACK INTO SOLUTION...like in the NOT silly video...You can't tell by "shaking up the bottles" whether they are carbed or not...

You really can't jump start mother nature...we don't say it takes three weeks minimum to kerk your chain....It's a natural process ...

But if you want to believe you have fully carbed up beer, and the rest of us brewers with more that 24 batches of beer are full of crap, then go right ahead.

:rolleyes:
 

Malticulous

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It was real...and I drank it. :)

I'm not calling anyone full of crap (are you?) I only know what I know, no more. I know that it was carbonated because I seen it, felt it and tasted it. Are all beers like that? That I don't yet know, at least not in the same real and personal way.
 

Revvy

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It was real...and I drank it. :)
I'm sure you did Conroe....

And I bet if you waited it out, then you'd know what a fully carbed and conditioned beer tasted like....

But if that's what you want to do, and what you believe then enjoy.

:mug:

You must be the only brewer on the planet that can do that...so good on you!
 

Revvy

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For the rest of you on the planet who are bound by the laws of this natural process like many of us on here...here is the video I have refferred to..It's probably silly to SOME here...but it's pretty much show the "false" carbonation we refer to...


[ame=http://youtube.com/watch?v=FlBlnTfZ2iw]YouTube - time lapse carbonation[/ame]
 

Malticulous

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I have a video of my hefe at four days being opened and poured. I guess I need a you tube account to post it up for you to see.
 

Revvy

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I have a video of my hefe at four days being opened and poured. I guess I need a you tube account to post it up for you to see.

Hefes are meant to be drank young Conroe....It's one of the few styles out there that are meant to be drunk young and cloudy....MOST OTHER BEER requires several weeks to carb and condition..And generally speaking the higher the grav the longer it takes..
 

Malticulous

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Well I've not done high gravity yet. But you said it was 'false' and then you say hefes are supposed to be like that. What is it then?

And just how many bottles have you opened (cold) in four days anyway?
 

AlwaysDrunken

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As a newer member to the forum here, it's always good to hear good advice, so it's appreciated Revvy. It might of been prudent to mention that of course normalization of carbonation in different solutions take different times, and it is based on many factors, as in the greater the surface area exposed the faster the solution will be saturated, as well of course as the already stated qualities of the solution in the first place, and the amount of pressure the solution is put under.
For those who do not know, thats in essence what is happening, and does happen with using active culture as a carbonation method.
since the yeast is producing internal to the product, the surface area itself isn't much of a factor, but certainly the activity of the yeast would. I think y'all pretty much are saying the same stuff as each other, nothing thats said really has been a contradiction as far as I can see. It's all good stuff.
hefe or not, 6 days or 6 months, it's all the same stuff, just different factors contributing to it, eh?
For those following the thread and do not know btw, hefe means yeast and they're referring to a hefeweizen more then likely. wiezen meaning wheat. Quite yummy, but will have large yeast sediment. IE, 6 days and it's normalized because the factors are different. I can normalize bread in 45 minutes.

As a side note, shaking them up and looking for bubbles isn;t a way to tell absorption or normalization levels. since the product is under equal pressure it just wouldnt work as far as I can see, you certainly wouldnt get nucleation....but I'm not knocking it.....it may be a failure of my thought process and understanding. (this isnt being snide btw, I am wrong as much as anyone else easily and realize I have plenty more to learn, I just don't see it.
 

Bob

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It was real...and I drank it. :)

I'm not calling anyone full of crap (are you?) I only know what I know, no more. I know that it was carbonated because I seen it, felt it and tasted it. Are all beers like that? That I don't yet know, at least not in the same real and personal way.
I'm not going to call you a liar, but the only possible way to say this nicely is, "You experienced an anomaly." The only explanation is that you did something outside the parameters of normal bottle-conditioning practice.

It is not possible under normal circumstances and practice to bottle-condition a beer in four days. That is simply not enough time for such a small colony of yeast to consume that small quantity of sugar and devolve enough gas to pressurize the container, much less force the gas into solution at 65+F.

Had you pulled a random bottle and tested it with a meter like this one, I might have believed you.

Bob
 

Malticulous

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I pooped to top off a APA (1.050 down to 1.010) that had been in the bottle only one day and it gave off decent rush of pressure, about like a fully carbed beer would. It was not carbed at all but the C02 and pressure was there already. This is Nottingham yeast that has been three weeks in primary (the other half of that batch is still in secondary dry hoping.)

I have bottled most beer younger than that. I'm would think bottling with more active yeast that is still in solution will work faster than months old cold crashed yeast.

I get the impression most members here keg anyway. :rolleyes:
 
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I get the impression most members here keg anyway. :rolleyes:
NOT EVEN CLOSE!
I'll bet you that less than 20% of us Keg. It just so happens that the keggers are also the most active members....and for the most part (exceptions in both directions) The most active members are some of the most active brewers, thus leading to the eventual desire to keg. I LOVE bottles, they make me all warm and fuzzy inside, but the time factor involved to clean, sanitize, and bottle 3 or 4 batches of beer, in addition to the time involved in brewing and any wine or mead experiments every month is simply unrealistic.
Also worth noting that most of us that keg used bottles for YEARS (and still do to some extent) before we ponied up the cash for a keg outfit.
 

bull8042

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........snip
I have bottled most beer younger than that. I'm would think bottling with more active yeast that is still in solution will work faster than months old cold crashed yeast.
I think this may be leading to some of the disagreement here. If you are bottling your beer too early, perhaps before fermentation is absolutely complete, then you will end up with a WELL carbonated bottle. Perhaps bordering on a bottle-bomb. The yeast are present in greater numbers and there are still fermentables remaining in addition to the bottling sugar added, so I can see how apparent carbonation levels would be quite acceptable in a shorter time period.
 

CBBaron

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For the rest of you on the planet who are bound by the laws of this natural process like many of us on here...
Revvy,
I'm going to have to disagree somewhat with you here. I have had some beers that were ready to drink after 6-7 days in the bottle and 24-48 hours in the fridge. Most do seem to require 2-3 weeks but some have been nicely carbonated much earlier. I have not been able to determine what the differences are however I think it may have to do with the yeast type and storage temp.

I usually check a bottle of all my batches after one week so I am familiar with the differences.

Craig
 

Revvy

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Revvy,
I'm going to have to disagree somewhat with you here. I have had some beers that were ready to drink after 6-7 days in the bottle and 24-48 hours in the fridge. Most do seem to require 2-3 weeks but some have been nicely carbonated much earlier. I have not been able to determine what the differences are however I think it may have to do with the yeast type and storage temp.

I usually check a bottle of all my batches after one week so I am familiar with the differences.

Craig
It tends to have to do with the ABV of the beer....Lighter styles, with smaller grain bills MAY be done sooner (emphasis on may here), think Kolschs, Cream Ales thinks in the low end of the ABV range.....but your average to higher grav beers will still tend to take longer....Stouts and Porters MAY take even longer to come up, I know from MY EXPERIENCES that my Stouts and Porters have taken on average 6 weeks to come up to full carb level.


Another factor is the volume of CO2 you are aiming for....You can carb to style, and if you use beersmith you can base the amount of sugar you need based on several factors including the temp of beer at bottling time......but usually iirc that the bottling time in beersmith is going to still say 3 weeks...at least it says so on mine...

But if it is a first time brewer brewing a basic ale kit, and priming with the requisite 5 ounces of sugar, and who is worried that after one or two weeks his beer isn't carbed...I'm STILL going to suggest that he make sure the beer is at 70 degrees and wait a minimum of 3 weeks, maybe 6 before he start worrying...because based on the return feedback rom the n00b threads who do come back on, my own experience, and those of my fellow brewers that seems to be concur...

I didn't make up the 3 weeks at 70 rule of thumb...
 

Malticulous

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There are just too many myths in the hobby.

I didn't make up the 3 weeks at 70 rule of thumb...
No but when you represent it as a law of physics you misrepresent the truth. I would not go so far as to have a rule like that. I'll brew it and taste it. When I know it takes best in three weeks I'll wait three weeks the next time I make it. So far all my beer are experiments. I'm learning fast. Some of the recipes I've done I will do again. I learn more by doing than from reading what others may think. Experience is of much more value than book-smarts. I appreciate the info here. Those who have been here long know how it changes.
 
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