Questions about telling when wash(?) is done fermenting

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Daughter gave me a beer starter kit for Christmas. The grain mix and yeast for an ale were included.

We've made the wort, mash, washed it and put it in a fermenter (1 gal glass jug).

It's been fermenting for about 10 days now.

The temp where it is stored (dark) is 58-62 degrees (using infrared temp gun). A little cooler than suggested (but cooler is better than hotter, right?)

After about 4-5 days it started "burping" CO2 thru the airlock (hose in a jar of water - I also have a proper airlock but the instructions said not to install that until day 7 or so) about every 5 seconds and formed krausen which has since dissipated. After 10 days it is still burping but only every 1.5 minutes.

It is still quite cloudy.

Should I give a shake to get all the sediment (trub?) stirred up again with the yeast to finish the fermentation?

Or is it done fermenting?

Or do I need to wait until it is clear-ish and just be patient for all the yeast suspension to settle out before I move to the carbonation/bottling phase?

Thanks in advance for any 101 advice.
 

rburrelli

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Do you have a hydrometer or refractometer to measure gravity? That is the way to determine if fermentation is complete or still working,
 

IslandLizard

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It's not a wash. Once you add yeast to wort it becomes... beer! ;)

Can you link to the recipe kit?
You didn't mention it, but did you boil the wort?

If it's still bubbling in the airlock, it's still fermenting. Possibly slowly, since many ale yeasts need slightly higher temps than you're using, 62-66F, but it depends on the yeast strain and what flavor/aroma results you're after, by fermenting at the lower temps over the higher ones. Lower temps tend to yield a cleaner beer. So you're probably good here.

Since the bulk of fermentation should be over by now, it's good practice to bring it into a somewhat warmer area, 68-70F for a few days, so it can finish up. Just drape a dark towel over it to keep it shielded from light.
 
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Thanks for the replies.

No hydrometer -- kit didn't come with one.

Not sure of the kit: threw the box out.

Yes, after reducing the mash to wort, we "cooked" the wort at 160 for an hour per the instructions (which I no longer have -- wife threw them away), then cooled the wort in an ice bath to 70 before putting it into the 1gal fermenter and adding the yeast and then airlocking it.

When fermentation didn't start on its own after a couple of days, I stirred the fermenter (shook it up) and then the process started.

From memory, after I siphon out the wash (or is it beer by then?) into another container with an ounce of dissolved sugar in some water (for developing carbonation), I stir to mix in the sugar, then siphon again into bottles (using 8 16oz grolsch style brown), then let it carbonate for 14 days?

Again the thing I am not sure of is when the fermentation stops because it is still burping, just at a way slower pace (now like 1 minute and 40 sec between burps). And it is still pretty darn cloudy -- nice golden-brown color, but opaque still.
 
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IslandLizard

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You can't bottle until it's done fermenting, or you'll chance creating bottle bombs. Let it go for a few more days at somewhat higher temps, until it stops bubbling. Then another 5-7 days, to let it clear more. Don't open it up, let it be.

The kit you got, what did it contain?
a) grain?
b) some powder in a bag?
c) a can containing a thick sticky syrup?
 
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A large-ish bag of grain and separate small bags of hops and yeast.

That bottle bomb thing is a new one for me. Exciting.

Does the step of adding an ounce of dissolved sugar after rack caning it out of the fermenter and before bottling to develop carbonation sound right?
 

Stormcrow

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A large-ish bag of grain and separate small bags of hops and yeast.

That bottle bomb thing is a new one for me. Exciting.

Does the step of adding an ounce of dissolved sugar after rack caning it out of the fermenter and before bottling to develop carbonation sound right?
One ounce may be a little high for one gallon depending on the highest temperature the beer reaches during fermentation. I think i usually use .8 ounce per gallon for around 2.5 volumes of carbonation. I don't have my how to brew book in front of me, but you may be able to find John Palmer's carbonation chart online. Too much priming sugar is another recipe for those bottle bombs mentioned earlier.
 

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