hydrometer question

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David Galilee

New Member
Jan 25, 2005
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i have a question regarding my beer. I cannot see through the clear lid on my keg due to condensation. It has been fermenting for 7 days with no more air escaping from the airlock. I have taken two samples over the last two days.Each reading on the hydrometer is 1011. I would like to know if drawing a sample from the tap for measuring is meant to be done with the airlock in or out.Everytime i turn the tap on, air rushes into the airlock and some of the water from the airlock drips into the keg. Does this ruin the carbon dioxide gas layer in the keg? Can it lead to spoiling? If so , how can i draw a sample of the brew to test without exposing the brew to contaminants?
Should i test the brew again tomorrow and when should i bottle?
Sorry about all the questions, but i don't want to waste all my time and effort on a bad brew.

If you're already at 1.011, you're good to go! Now the choice is to bottle or move to a glass carboy for secondary fermentation. You probably don't need secondary if you're already at 1.011 though, and the more yeast you get into the bottles, the better the resulting carbonation.

As far as the airlock draining - are you using the bucket with the nozzle at the bottom for fermenting? That's probably the bottling bucket, which you'll want free of trub (the junk on the bottom) when you go to bottle. You might need to move the beer to another sanitized vessel so you can clean out your bottling bucket.

To avoid the airlock draining when you pour some off, just pop the top briefly. You don't really want the airlock contents in the beer, and a tiny bit of O2 shouldn't do much damage since CO2 is heavier.
Hey dude,

Welcome to brewing and to the forum! :D

1) I don't like hydrometers because they make newer brewers worry needlessly. Now, if you like keeping track of that sort of thig (gravity), and it adds to the enjoyment, then by all means knock yourself out. So, in other words, I find the cause of all of your *other* concerns to be unnecessary. And I brew quite a bit of beer. I don't own a hydrometer.

Anyway, assuming you do want to take samples, and by way of addressing your other worries...

aeration - Do you realize how very little oxygen is getting in when you pull a sample? Remember, this is not advance rocket guidance system design. It's brewing. Less aeration is a good thing for sure, but it is never a deal killer to get some oxygen in your beer. I doubt you were going to be bottling in a vaccum, right :D So, seriously don't worry about that one. Your beer will never live long enough for oxidation to make a bit of difference...if you're like me that is ;)

the airlock water - Well, I always put an iodine solution in my locks, so the water wouldn't infect the brew in that case. The same thing you're describing happens when wort cools in a carboy.

Anyway, it's probably no worry at all. In actively fermenting beer, it's hard for any infection to compete.

I recommend you get a glass carboy so you can watch the fermentation. The visual cues are plenty. The yeast settles to the bottom in waves against the side of the carboy. Once the bubble stop and the yeast settles, you wait a few days or a week (more time will always make your beer taste better), then you bottle. Simple as that. Nothing to worry about

In your case, it sounds like you could bottle now, but, hey, it's always tastier if you let it sit for a week or more after the bubbling stops.

Have fun! :D
Hey, Janx, I may have already asked this one, but does light affect the brew while fermenting in a carboy? Or is that only undesirable after bottling?
Light is best avoided at all times (he said, as he glanced at 12 gallons fermenting in glass next to the window) ;)

Biggest problem is light hammers the hops, so keeping the beer in the dark as much as possible is always best.
I have my glass carboy covered with a dark towel to keep light off of it.

And for the air lock I use vodka. Ive heard and read thats a good thing to use because nothing can grow in it, and it wont hurt the brew if a little gets in it.
You can sanitize a racking cane, stick it in the beer, stick your thumb over the end of it and pull some out that way. Or just grab some when you rack. I honestly never take samples except when I am already racking.
i have old sweaters and the skirt you use under a christmas tree bundled up on my carboys... there kinda funny looking but keep em a bit warmer and outta the light. easy to take a peak too :)