I made a few mistakes

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Well-Known Member
Jan 28, 2008
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I am really new to homebrewing, in fact my first batch has just been bottle. I would be very grateful if someone could tell me if my beer is totally screwed from the mistakes I made on my first batch. First of all due to circumstances outside my control I had to bottle my Brown Ale a little earlier than I should have. It was bottled about 8 days out of the primary fermenter. The bubbles where about 50 Seconds apart and the alcohol content I think was about 5%. The beer tasted like pretty flat New Castle. In any case I poured the Beer into the bottle bucket, and yes I poured it (whoops). It has been bottles and It looks like all the yeast has settled to the bottom of the bottles and there does not seem to be any activity. Is this normal? Did I completely screw this batch up? If using a single stage fermenter when should one bottle? Thanks Guys! :confused:
Bottling should only be done when you are certain that fermentation is complete. The only way to be certain of that is by taking a hydrometer reading.

It seems like you may have done this as you mention that it was 5% alcohol. Was that the target?

Pouring your wort into the bottling bucket is definitely a bad idea. This will have oxygenated your beer which, over time, will produce off flavours. I would drink this batch up pretty quick as the off flavours from oxygenation worsen over time.

As a rule of thumb, you can't go wrong with the 1-2-3 approach. This means 1 week in the primary fermentor, 2 weeks of conditioning in a secondary (usually a glass carboy), and 3 weeks of bottle conditioning. Having said that though, there is much debate around the issue of secondary conditioning. Many feel that it is not necessary for most styles of beer.

Check out this site for a great intro to homebrewing.
After 8 days your fermentation should be complete but the beer could have used extra time in the fermenter to clear and condition. It will be fine but you may have more sediment than you would if you wait.
A secondary is not necessary but 2-3 weeks in the primary is a good idea.
As you know pouring is a bad idea. It introduces O2 to the finished beer which causes oxidizing off-flavors. Probably another reason you have so much sediment is the extra O2 caused the yeast to multiply when combined with the priming sugar instead of just fermenting. As mentioned I would not try to keep this beer around long. Drink most of it in the first 1-2 months. Maybe save a few bottles for 6-months and a year so you can know what kind of damage the oxidation does.

Thanks for all your help gys. Yeah I know I oxidized it :( So is the sediment at the bottom of the bottles pretty normal? Also I do plan o drink this quickly provided it is drink worthy. Well again thanks!
That sediment is just yeast and tiny hop particles. You won't see any activity because the pressure keeps bubbles from forming in capped bottles.

Since the fermentation wasn't complete, you have a possibility of bottle bombs. I would chill a bottle at one week and check the carbonation level. If it's good, chill the whole batch and try it again in another month. Oxidation is a relatively slow process and even if you start drinking it in 6 weeks, there won't be a problem.
I didn't see anything about priming sugar. Did you use any?

Also assuming you came back to the location where your brew was, you should have just waited till your return to bottle.

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