To bottle, or wait?

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Wortdiver

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We are new at this and I know this is a common thread, but after reading through many past posts on the subject, I am still uncertain about our second and third efforts.

We have a pale ale, and a German altbier that have been in secondaries for just two weeks now, after primaries of roughly one week. We are still getting bubbles at 1min20 sec, and 40 sec intervals from the two carboys. Yesterday I took a hydro reading on each to provide a benchmark so I can check for differences in the next day or so.... looking for the end of fermentation.

Is it imperative to have no bubbling at all on the secondaries before bottling? Or, if it turns out that the hydro readings are the same after 2-3 days, even with bubbling, it is okay to bottle?

From what I read, even without bubbling, a hydro check is a good idea. But what about the reverse situation? (with an okay hydro check, but still bubbling) or is that even possible?
 

JimE

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Is it imperative to have no bubbling at all on the secondaries before bottling? Or, if it turns out that the hydro readings are the same after 2-3 days, even with bubbling, it is okay to bottle?

From what I read, even without bubbling, a hydro check is a good idea. But what about the reverse situation? (with an okay hydro check, but still bubbling) or is that even possible?
Be patient. Have a homebrew and appreciate how pretty the bubbles are! Bubbles mean it's active; however, it can be active without bubbles. Always use the hydro.

Beer is like a woman. Be patient, and giver her the time she needs. A happy ending will be had by all. Sorry, bad metaphor....
 

gtpro

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everyone will be quick to tell you to almost totally disregard airlock bubbling as a fermentation gauge. If you are in secondary, fermentation should be done, or you moved it too early. Just take another hydrometer reading in a couple days and if its the same as your first one, then you can bottle, or you can wait, totally up to you. Most people say the longer you let it sit the better it gets (to a degree).
 

bbrim

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In the future I recommend you wait until fermentation is complete before racking to secondary. It is best not to leave the beer in contact with the yeast for excessive amounts of time (6+ weeks except in special cases) but you do want to leave it on the yeast a couple days beyond initial fermentation so the yeast can clean up after itself.
 
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Wortdiver

Wortdiver

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Both these batches came from Brewer's Best kits. Both sets of instructions state:

"... recommend home brewers employ the practice of two-stage fermentation. (Secondary)... When the fermentation slows (5-7 days), but before it completes, simply transfer the beer into the carboy and allow fermentation to finish in the 'secondary'. Leave the beer for about two weeks and then proceed to Bottling Day."

We tried to follow these instructions... are the instructions leading us astray?
 

malkore

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Yes, the instructions are not ideal. You want the beer to hit terminal gravity for 3+ days in primary before racking.
secondary is not for fermentation. its for clearing and getting rid of excess sediment.

a lot of people here will just do 3 weeks in primary, and then bottle. as long as you can rack to the bottling bucket without disturbing the sediment in primary, that works great.
I'm not so lucky (butter fingers) so I almost always do a secondary to get the beer sparkling before bottling.
 
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Wortdiver

Wortdiver

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Thanks to all for the comments. My plan now is to wait for roughly another week before bottling these two batches. Our fourth batch is still in primary (an Imperial Nut Brown), and given comments here, I plan to leave that one there until fermentation seems to be done. Then I will rack to secondary for future clarity. It you think I should handle differently, please advise. Otherwise, thanks as always. This is a great forum.
 
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Wortdiver

Wortdiver

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I looked up gusher infection here on the site... I don't think we have that. No terrible sour off taste, or huge foaming issues when we took the sample. You know, it is still bubbling, but very, very slowly. Some bubble residue floating on the top of each carboy, but not solidly covering the top. No movement visible in the beer, or at the top. It may be overkill, but I am hoping another 4-5 days will do it. And... I will get another check on the hydro, to see if it is the same as yesterday's measurement.
 
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