My first brew.. is it time to rack to bottles?

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Cody Stark

Mar 6, 2019
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Hello, I brewed my first beer one week ago, it is a brewers best hopnog 2018 5 gal kit (I used safale US-05). I made a mistake when checking the OG and ended up not getting an accurate reading like I thought I did. Today (7 days later) their Isn’t much on top of the beer and not much activity, the airlock bubbles at about one time they per minute. I took a sample today and it tasted okay to me, should I try bottling and see what happens?
Imo it's too soon. What was projected FG? Have you checked the gravity . Check gravity for a few days if it hasnt changed your good . I would advise you to be patient and not rush into botteling. I've never had bottle bombs but I've read about em and it seems like it can cause real damage .
Thanks for the comment Jag75. The projected FG Is 1.008-1.012, I checked today and it was about 1.010.
If your beer is at final gravity as proven by identical readings a couple days apart you could bottle it but it will be quite a bit better if you give it more time. That time allows more trub to settle out so you don't get so much in the bottles and it allows the beer to mature a bit. I don't usually bottle until 2 to 3 weeks have gone by. Once bottled you still need to let the beer have some time before consuming. 3 weeks from bottling until sampling is a good rule of thumb. Some beers will be OK at one week, better at 2 weeks, and often keep improving from there.
I would wait until tomorrow or the next day and take another reading. If they are the same it is safe to bottle.

Yeast produce compounds that are off flavor during active fermentation. Afterword, it is said, in a few days they work to clean up these. I don't know the chemistry behind it. I do all my fermentations for 14 days most often longer due to procrastination, sometimes a lot longer. IMO, longer is better than to short a time.
One thing you will discover as you brew more and more is that patience is most definitely a virtue. I remember what it's like... you brewed your first beer and you are so excited to know how it came out!

Airlock activity is not an indicator of fermentation rate... but I generally use the airlock stopping to bubble to indicate that fermentation is entering it's final stages.. .after that it's all about gravity readings and getting a couple of consistent readings on consecutive days. That's your good indication that fermentation is done.

So, where you are after 7 days, you may consider the following...
- Give your fermenter a bit of a swirl. People have different opinions on this "rousing of the yeast" but I always like to do it.
- If you have the capability to... up the temperature to the top of the optimum range
Both of these give you a chance to have the yeast finish up it's job, particularly in terms of it munching through not only the fermentable sugars but also some of the by-products of fermentation (cleaning up after itself).

Even after all of the above, you might want to still leave the beer in the primary for a week at least. Particulates will drop out of solution to give you a clearer beer.
Even then, it might still not be time to bottle. You might want to cold crash the beer. Again, particulates including yeast will drop out of solution as a result giving you a clearer beer. (You may not have the means to cold crash a fermenter full of beer so you may do this later in the process after bottling and once you've given the bottles time to carbonate).

Patience, patience, patience lol... in the worst case you could bottle your beer before it has finished fermenting and end up with bottle bombs!
You will not harm your beer by leaving it in the fermenter for an extra couple of weeks...
I often brew with US-05. For beer 4 - 6% ABV two weeks is a real measure of fermentation time.
My suggestion for bottled beer, is to give it at least 2 weeks in the fermenter. Often beer will finish up in 7 to 10 days, but most beers could still use a bit of time to clean up and settle. The more that settles out in the fermenter, the less that will settle out in your bottles. 2 weeks gives it a little extra breathing room to ensure fermentation is complete. Kegged beer has a bit more flexibility because the keg will not blow up if fermentation is not complete and you have flexibility to dial in the carbonation level.