Milk Stout bottling recommendation

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GregA

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Hey folks,

I've searched the forum and am now completely confused. :)

I'm brewing a milk stout from extract (More Beer) and wondering when I should bottle. I've seen everything from 10 days to 8 weeks.
What's your recommendation?
How do I know if its too soon (no hydrometer)?
What if I wait too long?

Cheers,
Greg
 

MaxStout

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Without a hydrometer it's hard to say. Depends on the yeast strain, fermentation temp, and what OG was (higher gravity beers typically take longer to ferment). Don't rely on lack of airlock activity to determine when it's done. The yeast can still be working long after the bubbles cease. Bottling too soon could result in over-carbonation and potential bottle-bombs.

Give us a little info and maybe we can give you an educated guess.

Waiting too long is better than bottling too soon. And get a hydrometer for next brew. It's an essential piece of gear.
 

slayer021175666

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For one thing, as cheap as they are now, get a refractometer. Way easier to use and way less wasted beer. After that, it seems to come down to matters of opinion. My opinion is that you need not wait any longer than it takes to ferment it out. Once it's fermented out, bottle it. If you want to, let it settle out but to me, there's really no reason to "fine" any ale. Especially a dark stout. You won't be able to see it anyway. Like I said. Matters of opinion.
 

hotbeer

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If you don't have any way to get specific gravity readings then be patient and wait as least as long as the instructions for your kit said. If they didn't say, then two to three weeks won't be unreasonable. In fact the longer you wait the more it will clear and clean itself up and remove what sometimes are off tastes from the fermenting process. Though if you wait too long, you might be making other off tastes. But usually that time is measured in months.

If you have a way to measure SG, then when you have two samples 3 days apart yielding the same SG, then it is generally considered finished. I'd wail another 4 days or so for the clean up. Though if you want to do some gelatin or other fining process you can start when the SG's are the same.
 

ncbrewer

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I think the reason you're getting conflicting recommendations is that there is the normal time to complete fermentation (maybe 2 - 3 weeks), and there are exceptions. I've had a few very slow fermentations, for no known reason. So most of the time, a shorter ferment time is fine. But if you happen to get a slow fermentation and still bottle early, you could get bottle bombs. These are really dangerous - glass shards flying at high speed. So I would get a hydrometer and make sure gravity is stable. I recommend a narrow range bottling hydrometer. Mine has hash marks every 0.0005 gravity units, and I can detect very small differences. And I check gravity twice, three days apart.
 

Jag75

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If you leave it sit longer it will reduce the amount of sediment in the bottles. I'm a 3 week kind of brewer. However you definitely need a hydrometer/refractometer to be certain .
 
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