SG slightly different to FG, this okay?

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TestTickle

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By the way, more forgiving styles like IPA’s and stouts mask a lot of imperfections. Try experimenting with lighter brews and you’ll see what we are saying. That was an “aha” moment for me.
 
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I guess my last question would be, is there anything wrong with checking readings every 2 days instead of 3?
The answer is probably dependent on the strain of yeast being used. Apparently, in the history of home brewing, there are some strains (Ringwood?) that had a reputation for pausing for a couple of days, then resuming. For those strains, waiting and checking less frequently were necessary. For some current strains of dry yeast, kit makers seem to be comfortable with pitch it dry and wait a couple weeks.

These [tilt charts] are all different [stains].
@IEpicDestiny : there are similar charts for Fermentis dry yeast in their "Tips and Tricks" brochure (link), p 28. I'll post the charts in the next two replies.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Is there a way to tell if my batch is doing okay? By that I mean, will it turn out flat or off flavours etc. I tasted some of it and it looks cloudy and tastes very flat and yeasty I suppose.
My last batch all turned out to be flat beer with no head and I think it was yeasty too and I would love to know why that was. I think the only thing I did differently was instead of carbonation drops I used sugar (I made sure to measure it correctly for the bottle size). Was there a way to fix this? or beer coming out flat and yeasty like that was something going wrong in the fermentation which you can't tell until secondary fermentation is complete?
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Yes, you could check every two days, just try to be patient. Eventually, you’ll get a better feel for the process.

It’s not a bad idea to have extra bottles on hand to help with the impatience. I have several cases from before I started kegging so that I would always have beer on hand while waiting for others to finish.

While it is definitely beneficial to give it that extra time, you will find that some beers can absolutely be done in 4 or 5 weeks. Most of my ales are done fermenting in 10 days. If I bottle, some can be carbed in a week. They may taste ok by this time, but if I wait another week they are even better. Depending on the beer, another week even makes them better. Same with when I keg. Most times for me, three weeks carbing and conditioning is the sweet spot. But again, a lot of beers benefit from more time.

In the end, it’s your beer and you are the one who needs to like it. Bottle it up, chill one after a week and try it. Chill another one a week later and try it. If it’s good, chill a few more and enjoy them. Then repeat after another week. You should notice an improvement in both quality and clarity over that time. It took me close to a year of brewing to get this. I often noticed that I could still taste the grain and/or the yeast. Extra time cleans that up.

Don’t get caught up in the whole “grain to glass in 7 days” thing. That mostly comes from keggers who use fast yeast and then burst carb. It may work for them and their beer may taste good to them, but it was never my cup of tea. The beer never tasted great…at least not to me.
I suppose mine would be fast yeast if I buy an extract kit with the yeast that comes with it. What is burst carb? Thanks for all your help btw, I have finally got some good incite now after all these months of researching.
 

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Is there a way to tell if my batch is doing okay? By that I mean, will it turn out flat or off flavours etc. I tasted some of it and it looks cloudy and tastes very flat and yeasty I suppose.
My last batch all turned out to be flat beer with no head and I think it was yeasty too and I would love to know why that was. I think the only thing I did differently was instead of carbonation drops I used sugar (I made sure to measure it correctly for the bottle size). Was there a way to fix this? or beer coming out flat and yeasty like that was something going wrong in the fermentation which you can't tell until secondary fermentation is complete?
You can get a general idea at bottling of how it will turn out once it's carbed and conditioned, but the conditioning process cleans up so much that the final product will change at least some. If you sample it before the yeast is completely done, the cloudiness and yeastiness you described will be more obvious.

Let's start with your bottling process.
1) Are you bottling right from the fermenter or are you using a bottling bucket?
2) How are you adding the sugar?
 

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I tasted some of it and it looks cloudy and tastes very flat and yeasty I suppose.
My last batch all turned out to be flat beer with no head and I think it was yeasty too
Lack of patience. Time after fermentation completes gives the yeast the opportunity to flocculate and fall to the bottom where it stays during bottling. Clearer beer, less yeast, into the bottle.

Lack of carbonation can be a few things, but lack of time in the bottle would be my hunch. Did your previous batches get better over time?
 

TestTickle

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I suppose mine would be fast yeast if I buy an extract kit with the yeast that comes with it. What is burst carb? Thanks for all your help btw, I have finally got some good incite now after all these months of researching.
Depending on the kit you have, that yeast is most likely a general ale yeast...which are normally not "fast". There is some yeast that will finish in two or three days, those are what I consider fast. What type of beer is this? What kit?

Burst carbing is a kegging practice where you apply a higher PSI of CO2 to the keg and shake or roll it around to get the CO2 to dissolve into the beer faster. It does not apply to bottling.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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You can get a general idea at bottling of how it will turn out once it's carbed and conditioned, but the conditioning process cleans up so much that the final product will change at least some. If you sample it before the yeast is completely done, the cloudiness and yeastiness you described will be more obvious.

Let's start with your bottling process.
1) Are you bottling right from the fermenter or are you using a bottling bucket?
2) How are you adding the sugar?
This is the FV I am using, it does not use an airlock but the loose fit is probably what helps release the carbon dioxide. It also has a valve which makes bottling easier (comes with wand too). I have another FV which uses an airlock and I have a syphon too. But yes I will be bottling straight from the fermenter, I would rather have as less cleaning to do as possible.
Before I measured with teaspoon but since that may have been the cause of my beer going flat last batch I have bought 100s of carbonation drops (more expensive for now but I wanted to make sure they work). I suppose the sugar needs to be pretty exact, some may have gone on the sides of the bottles, however every single beer of that batch was flat and tasted the same.

I will be using carbonation drops this time round (the last time I did it turned out well) but it would be nice to know a better way to put the sugar in each bottle (but I sort of doubt it was to do with the sugar.. no idea. It almost put me off homebrewing though)
 

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IEpicDestiny

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This is the FV I am using, it does not use an airlock but the loose fit is probably what helps release the carbon dioxide. It also has a valve which makes bottling easier (comes with wand too). I have another FV which uses an airlock and I have a syphon too. But yes I will be bottling straight from the fermenter, I would rather have as less cleaning to do as possible.
Before I measured with teaspoon but since that may have been the cause of my beer going flat last batch I have bought 100s of carbonation drops (more expensive for now but I wanted to make sure they work). I suppose the sugar needs to be pretty exact, some may have gone on the sides of the bottles, however every single beer of that batch was flat and tasted the same.

I will be using carbonation drops this time round (the last time I did it turned out well) but it would be nice to know a better way to put the sugar in each bottle (but I sort of doubt it was to do with the sugar.. no idea. It almost put me off homebrewing though)
Come to think of it, maybe its because I did not shake the bottles at all after putting the sugar in. Apparently with carbonation drops you do not need to do that
 

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Come to think of it, maybe its because I did not shake the bottles at all after putting the sugar in. Apparently with carbonation drops you do not need to do that
You also don't need to do that with normal sugar. It might speed up things a bit, but it's not mandatory. If there's no carbonation, something else is the reason.

We have pretty much narrowed it down here to your capper or not enough sugar in the bottle.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Lack of patience. Time after fermentation completes gives the yeast the opportunity to flocculate and fall to the bottom where it stays during bottling. Clearer beer, less yeast, into the bottle.

Lack of carbonation can be a few things, but lack of time in the bottle would be my hunch. Did your previous batches get better over time?
That batch was in bottles for over a year (occasionaly would drink 1, I have drank all 40 of them now) so it can't be that
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Depending on the kit you have, that yeast is most likely a general ale yeast...which are normally not "fast". There is some yeast that will finish in two or three days, those are what I consider fast. What type of beer is this? What kit?

Burst carbing is a kegging practice where you apply a higher PSI of CO2 to the keg and shake or roll it around to get the CO2 to dissolve into the beer faster. It does not apply to bottling.
It is a Simply Ritchies Lager kit
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Just to mention as well, I make sure all my beers are correctly stored, first warm and dark and then cool dark place (Using thermometers to make sure
 

TestTickle

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You definitely do not want to shake up the bottles, ever.

If it's a lager, then it likely has lager yeast which you normally want to ferment cooler and longer, but if you fermented at room temp, that likely sped up the process. It'll still make beer, maybe just not quite as crisp and clean as if you were to ferment cooler. No big deal for now.

Regarding your bottling process, I would suggest using one of your fermenters as a bottling bucket. Preferably one with a spigot. It's more to clean, but worth it IMHO. This could be a lengthy reply...
 

TestTickle

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If you are using carbonation drops, bottling from the fermenter is fine. However, if you want to use priming sugar, here's how I would do it:
  1. Start by marking off volumes on the outside of whatever you will use as a bottling bucket. Masking tape is fine. Measure and use water to mark your volumes. This will help you determine how much beer you are actually bottling and how much sugar to use.
  2. Sanitize everything of course.
  3. Transfer your beer to the bottling bucket....gently of course. No splashing.
  4. Note the volume of beer based on your markings
  5. Calculate and measure the sugar based on the volume in your bucket.
  6. Dissolve the sugar in just enough water to dissolve it well and bring it to a boil. Depending on your batch size, this could be anywhere from a half cup to a cup of water (or more for bigger batches)
  7. Slowly and gently add the water to the beer.
  8. Gently stir with a large sanitized spoon to mix the priming solution with the beer
  9. Bottle the beer, cap and store
For bottling, make sure you are using some hose from the spigot and if possible a bottling wand. I actually connect a bottling wand right to the spigot with a short piece of tubing. The bucket hang over the side of a counter and I can just sit and bottle one after the other. There was a really good thread on this some years back...I'll try to find it and post it.

Priming this way results in more consistent carbonation across all bottles and lets you control your carbonation levels better. Plus, it's cheaper than buying carb drops. The only downside is that you expose your beer to oxygen and have a higher risk of contamination, but I can honestly say that I have never had an issue with either. Just be careful and don't leave the beer exposed for longer than necessary.

For recipes that you end up doing regularly, you should be able to better predict how much you lose in the fermenter and how much actual bottling volume you have. In this case, you can pre-measure the sugar, add the priming solution to the bottling bucket and transfer the beer from the fermenter right on top of that.
 
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TestTickle

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Here you go, it's a lengthy thread, but there is a lot of valuable info regarding the bottling process.

 

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Or Just buy yourself a small gold scale for ten bugs and weigh the sugar for each bottle and fill it in with a small funnel. Takes like 15 minutes for a 4g batch and you can be sure that the sugar is the same in each bottle plus you are lowering oxygen exposure.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Checked the gravity today and it is now stable at 1.007, should I bottle it or wait? If I did wait, would the gravity change again?
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Checked the gravity today and it is now stable at 1.007, should I bottle it or wait? If I did wait, would the gravity change again?
By the way, does the gravity change on the middle days between the stable gravity checks?
 

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By the way, does the gravity change on the middle days between the stable gravity checks?
Do you understand what is happening in there, why gravity changes, why it is important that it is stable when bottling, what mechanisms are responsible for the gravity to remain stable and so on? Don't want to be rude, everybody needs to learn before knowing something. These points are important to understand and when understood, you can answer your questions yourself.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Do you understand what is happening in there, why gravity changes, why it is important that it is stable when bottling, what mechanisms are responsible for the gravity to remain stable and so on? Don't want to be rude, everybody needs to learn before knowing something. These points are important to understand and when understood, you can answer your questions yourself.
I guess I do not then.. If it reached final gravity I am assuming it will always stay at that final gravity number, even if I checked again a week later?
 
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IEpicDestiny

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I would wait 2 more days. You are friggin rushing this.
If it really was the final gravity at 1.007, would it still be 1.007 in 2 more days time?
Would I need to do another hydrometer test?

Or once I know the final gravity, can I just bottle it straight away even if I left it for an extra week without checking the gravity again?

Because if it does infact change, I am guessing the ABV would go higher the longer I leave it
 

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If it really was the final gravity at 1.007, would it still be 1.007 in 2 more days time?
Would I need to do another hydrometer test?
Yes and Yes. If it stays at 1.007 now for 2 more days, it will actually have been at 1.007 for a total of 4 days, which hopefully, hopefully, means it is done fermenting.

But not necessarily. There are rare exceptions such as some Belgian yeasts where it is better to wait an extra week or two between readings because it can continue to ferment extremely slowly over many weeks. But this does not happen with 95% of yeasts.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Yes and Yes. If it stays at 1.007 now for 2 more days, it will actually have been at 1.007 for a total of 4 days, which hopefully, hopefully, means it is done fermenting.

But not necessarily. There are rare exceptions such as some Belgian yeasts where it is better to wait an extra week or two between readings because it can continue to ferment extremely slowly over many weeks. But this does not happen with 95% of yeasts.
Thanks, good to know. I will make sure not to buy Belgian yeasts then lol
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Yes and Yes. If it stays at 1.007 now for 2 more days, it will actually have been at 1.007 for a total of 4 days, which hopefully, hopefully, means it is done fermenting.

But not necessarily. There are rare exceptions such as some Belgian yeasts where it is better to wait an extra week or two between readings because it can continue to ferment extremely slowly over many weeks. But this does not happen with 95% of yeasts.
Would'nt it be better to get the fastest yeast possible then?
 

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I guess I do not then.. If it reached final gravity I am assuming it will always stay at that final gravity number, even if I checked again a week later?
Yes yes yes…final gravity is, well, final.

The fact that the gravity dropped two days after the last time you checked is proving our point about being patient. If it’s still dropping, the yeast is not done.

Check it again in three days. If it’s still at 1.007, bottle it. I mentioned the cream ale I had fermenting. I thought it was done and was ready to keg it, but after three days, the gravity dropped another point so I left it. Three days later (yesterday) it hadn’t changed so I kegged it.

Once the yeast is done, the gravity will not change (unless there is a significant temperature change, but that has nothing to do with the yeast).

Regarding “fast” yeast, the short answer is no. It’s not better to just use a faster yeast. Each yeast strain has it’s own characteristics that contribute to the flavor, aroma and style of the beer you are making. You are making a lager for example. I am assuming they provided you with a lager yeast? If so, it is meant to ferment low and slow in most cases and is very clean. Belgian yeasts can ferment higher and faster but have fruity and/or spicy characters to them. Kveik yeast is a different animal…it can ferment warm and fast in a couple of days, but in my experience, it’s not suitable for a lot of styles. We are giving you general advice that covers most yeast, but also understand (and you will learn) that there are exceptions with certain strains. They don’t all perform exactly the same. And as mentioned earlier, there are variables that also play a role (temp, pH levels, wort composition, yeast health, etc).

Patience my friend. You have to trust us on this. Go do a puzzle or something. Plan out your next brew. Organize your closets. But wait three days and check again. If it’s stable then, bottle it. If it drops again, wait three more days and repeat. Your beer will be better for it…trust us.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Yes yes yes…final gravity is, well, final.

The fact that the gravity dropped two days after the last time you checked is proving our point about being patient. If it’s still dropping, the yeast is not done.

Check it again in three days. If it’s still at 1.007, bottle it. I mentioned the cream ale I had fermenting. I thought it was done and was ready to keg it, but after three days, the gravity dropped another point so I left it. Three days later (yesterday) it hadn’t changed so I kegged it.

Once the yeast is done, the gravity will not change (unless there is a significant temperature change, but that has nothing to do with the yeast).

Regarding “fast” yeast, the short answer is no. It’s not better to just use a faster yeast. Each yeast strain has it’s own characteristics that contribute to the flavor, aroma and style of the beer you are making. You are making a lager for example. I am assuming they provided you with a lager yeast? If so, it is meant to ferment low and slow in most cases and is very clean. Belgian yeasts can ferment higher and faster but have fruity and/or spicy characters to them. Kveik yeast is a different animal…it can ferment warm and fast in a couple of days, but in my experience, it’s not suitable for a lot of styles. We are giving you general advice that covers most yeast, but also understand (and you will learn) that there are exceptions with certain strains. They don’t all perform exactly the same. And as mentioned earlier, there are variables that also play a role (temp, pH levels, wort composition, yeast health, etc).

Patience my friend. You have to trust us on this. Go do a puzzle or something. Plan out your next brew. Organize your closets. But wait three days and check again. If it’s stable then, bottle it. If it drops again, wait three more days and repeat. Your beer will be better for it…trust us.
Seriously appreciate all the help my friend, I can finally understand it all better now. Quick question just to make sure: Since it has been 1.007 for 48 hours now, should I bottle tomorrow if it is still at 1.007? Because then that would have been 3 days of 1.007.
But you have also all been telling me to wait even longer even after the stabilisation of 3 days, is this what you all do? Does it really make much difference?

I understand to be patient but I would just like to know for future reference instead of having to try and test it out myself
 

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Just to throw in some more confusion, I never take readings before bottling. I measure og and fg, that's it. But I know my yeasts, I know that the standard yeasts that I use are done mostly within 7 days, some of them might ferment a tiny bit longer but latest is ten days for them to finish. Most of the normal yeasts fall into this category. So I just wait two weeks and bottle. Unless I have an exotic yeast, then I wait three weeks and bottle. Doing so resulted in gushers after three months in the bottle with diastetic yeasts as they were still fermenting slooooooooowly. If temperature is reasonably high and kept there and you are using a "normal" (for example Ringwood is NOT normal, us05 is normal) ale yeast with normal wort composition, two weeks in primary should be more than enough. However, you must understand the whole process so just for learnings sake, continue taking readings till you got a feeling for this, I also did that
 

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Exactly what @Miraculix said. After you brew enough beer, become more familiar with the performance of specific yeast and learn about and provide a consistent environment for the yeast, you will know when it's done. My experience with "normal" yeast such as American Ale yeast (US-05, WLP001, etc) and similar strains that I use frequently is that I'm usually at FG in 7 days and can package in 10 days (three days for the yeast to clean up). Your mileage may vary based on the variables discussed in this thread. In short, start by learning about temperature controlled fermentation, water chemistry, yeast pitching rates, and so on. Since you are a beginner, get your brewing process down first, but you can start looking into these things in the meantime and be patient while doing so.

Quick question just to make sure: Since it has been 1.007 for 48 hours now, should I bottle tomorrow if it is still at 1.007? Because then that would have been 3 days of 1.007.
Ok, so maybe we or you are overcomplicating this.

Let's say you took a reading two days ago and it was 1.007, then you took a reading today and it was 1.007. If this is the case and you are at 1.007 tomorrow, then that is your three days and you should be good to go.

However, if you were at 1.008 two days ago and are at 1.007 today, then you should wait three days. You have no idea when the drop from 1.008 to 1.007 occurred. It could have been minutes before you took the last reading (although it doesn't quite work that way). Technically, if you measure the gravity and there is a drop from the previous time, the "timer" starts over at zero days. That's kind of why we suggest the three day wait between gravity readings. Taking readings too frequently will just drive you nuts.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Exactly what @Miraculix said. After you brew enough beer, become more familiar with the performance of specific yeast and learn about and provide a consistent environment for the yeast, you will know when it's done. My experience with "normal" yeast such as American Ale yeast (US-05, WLP001, etc) and similar strains that I use frequently is that I'm usually at FG in 7 days and can package in 10 days (three days for the yeast to clean up). Your mileage may vary based on the variables discussed in this thread. In short, start by learning about temperature controlled fermentation, water chemistry, yeast pitching rates, and so on. Since you are a beginner, get your brewing process down first, but you can start looking into these things in the meantime and be patient while doing so.



Ok, so maybe we or you are overcomplicating this.

Let's say you took a reading two days ago and it was 1.007, then you took a reading today and it was 1.007. If this is the case and you are at 1.007 tomorrow, then that is your three days and you should be good to go.

However, if you were at 1.008 two days ago and are at 1.007 today, then you should wait three days. You have no idea when the drop from 1.008 to 1.007 occurred. It could have been minutes before you took the last reading (although it doesn't quite work that way). Technically, if you measure the gravity and there is a drop from the previous time, the "timer" starts over at zero days. That's kind of why we suggest the three day wait between gravity readings. Taking readings too frequently will just drive you nuts.
So about the yeast clean up.. I check for final gravity and find its 1.007 lets say. So it has been 1.007 for 3 days. The first day it was 1.007 would also be considered the final gravity? So would'nt that mean the 3 days after that day would have already been the yeast clean up process?
 

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So about the yeast clean up.. I check for final gravity and find its 1.007 lets say. So it has been 1.007 for 3 days. The first day it was 1.007 would also be considered the final gravity? So would'nt that mean the 3 days after that day would have already been the yeast clean up process?
Yes and yes.
 

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and as an added thought for you @IEpicDestiny , write down how many days it took (with this yeast, with this recipe, with this temperature during ferment) from pitching yeast until it really reached FG.

Next batch you make, don't even think about taking a measurement until that number of days passes. Really. Leave it be. Patience is hard to learn but gives great rewards.
 

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Some general information about fermentation time and what is going on in there:

The mash temperature kind of defines the composition of the fermentables in the wort. Mash long and low and the wort will be very fermentable, meaning a high percentage will be shorter sugar molecules, glucose being the shortest. These are relatively easy to metabolize so any yeast can digest them fairly quickly.

Longer chained sugars like maltose or maltotriose or even dextrins are relatively difficult to metabolize, that es why these might take more time or some yeasts do not even have the possibility to digest them at all. Also, some yeasts can digest a portion of these, by utilising shorter sugars as an energy source to acitvely munch on the longer sugars. But as soon as the shorter sugars are out, they will slowly stop feeding on the longer ones.

And then there are diastatic yeasts. They produce an anzyme that they excrete which chops down longer sugars into shorter ones. This takes time. A little enzyme goes a long way over time, meaning that these yeasts often convert literally all of the remaining sugars given enough time, but this can take weeks or months. Sometimes these yeasts look like they are done but they are sloooowly munching on the sugars that are still being converted sloooowly into shorter sugars.

This is obviously all also temperature dependent. The higher the temperature, the faster the metabolization of the sugars, until it is too high for the yeast. But at the higher end, also unwanted byproducts are increased, like fusel alcohols and unwanted esters. So we try to stick to a good temperature window, mainly around 18 C for ales, +-3 degrees (depending on the yeast).

You see, there are several factors that somehow influence the possible length of a fermentation till the sugars are all metabolized that the specific yeast can digest. As long as you do not use yeasts that are strange in their behaviour, like windsor sometimes is, or ringwood, and as long as you are not creating extra strong worts, you are good to go with 2 weeks in the fermenter and then bottling. It will not hurt if you bottle one week later, as long as the fermenter is air tight. I have bottled beer as early as 6 days after fermentation, some of them worked, some were too early but if I look at all of these early bottled batches, I must say, it was not worth it. Too many batches had problems afterwards with either too much yeast in the bottle or overcarbonation, that I would not recommend doing it, also not with Kveik which can be done in a redicoulously fast time at higher temperatures (2 days at 37 degrees, do not try that with a normal yeast! this is kveik only territory!). So I repeat what the others already said, and most of us had to learn the hard way, including my impatient self :D

Patience is a virtue!

I hope this clears things up further.
 
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ncbrewer

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Lots of good info in this thread. I'll add some general thoughts.

- The absolute most important consideration is NO BOTTLE BOMBS. The name is not an exaggeration. This thread shows lots of ways to accomplish this.
- I use a narrow range bottling hydrometer that has hash marks at 0.0005 increments, and I can easily read it to the nearest 0.00025. It helps a lot for knowing when it is actually finished. I recommend one of these if bottling.
- Actual specific gravity is the hydrometer reading with a temperature correction applied. You can get this from on-line calculators. Use the corrected SG when checking for stable gravity.
 

dmtaylor

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Lots of good info in this thread. I'll add some general thoughts.

- The absolute most important consideration is NO BOTTLE BOMBS. The name is not an exaggeration. This thread shows lots of ways to accomplish this.
- I use a narrow range bottling hydrometer that has hash marks at 0.0005 increments, and I can easily read it to the nearest 0.00025. It helps a lot for knowing when it is actually finished. I recommend one of these if bottling.
- Actual specific gravity is the hydrometer reading with a temperature correction applied. You can get this from on-line calculators. Use the corrected SG when checking for stable gravity.
Excellent points!
 
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IEpicDestiny

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I have just done the bottling today, I may have put 2 extra carbonation drops in a few bottle of 500ml. I just wonder how bad that is, could that cause bottle bombs?
Also the carbonation drops packet says 1 drop for 350ml and 2 for 500ml, but how many for 750ml bottles? 3? or still 2? I put 2 just incase, will the beer be less carbonated?
 
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