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Am I on the right track?

Hello all, first post, longtime lurker. First time brewing, would like a hug to give me a warm and fuzzy.

I brewed the “American Wheat Beer” kit from NB last Saturday (the 13th) and stuck the primary directly into a swamp cooler that has been between 64 and 70 Deg F ever since.

Since I’m dumb and didn’t buy a hydrometer (one is on order now) I can’t give a gravity reading, so I’ve been roughly gauging progress visually and by timing the airlock burps. Not very scientific I know.

The first day was uneventful, the second and third went crazy with burps every 3 seconds or so, and they have since tapered off to a little over 30 seconds today (the 21st), although I have noticed that the interval is that long only when the cooler is at the lower end of the temperature range. When the temp is toward 70 they happen a little closer together. The visual activity inside to carboy has almost stopped compared to what it was several days ago.

The foam (krausen I guess) went from a nice thick layer of bubbly foam to a thin layer of really thick, heavy stuff.

A buddy that posts here told me that since I’m dumb and don’t have a hydrometer, to wait until there is no airlock activity for at least 24 hours before bottling. I’m cool with that, I don’t want my bottles to explode.

I’m going to give it probably another one to two weeks before bottling and intend to use the airlock test to know when to take the plunge.

Am I on the right track or is there something else I should know?


Yes, wait three weeks minimum before bottling. Two weeks is risky if you don’t have a hydrometer.

2 or 3 weeks into fermentation you can still see some airlock activity, but it isn’t from the yeast, it is from CO2 coming out of solution. So that isn’t a perfect indicator.

For normal-gravity ales (something less than 1.055 or so) you’d generally be safe to bottle after 2 weeks. If you can let it go 3 weeks that really seems to help the yeast clean up their fermentation byproducts.

Awesome! Thanks for the advice.

So a couple more weeks of fermentation, bottle them, then wait another two weeks or so before sampling.

You called yourself dumb and a friend seems to agree, forget the friend and listen up, there is NO dummies that want to ask a question that would’t get answered. Wait to you get your hydrometer and then you can check your gravity reading yourself. You have time, 3, 4 , 5 or even 6 weeks to do so. Tell your friend that he can go F H S . Cheers.

LOL not it’s not like that, I have a self-depreciating sense of humor and he’s a really good dude (plus I’m actually dumb).

My hydrometer should be here in a few days, what will a reading tell me since I don’t have a reference reading from before I pitched the yeast? According to my recipe (I used Wyeast 1010 American Wheat) the OG should be 1.043.

This whole hydrometer thing is my next subject to study up on.



Here is a nice write up HD4Mark wrote up on using a hydrometer.

When you go to bottle your beer. Fill one (or 2,3,4…) plastic soda bottles. Squeeze the O2 out and screw the cap on. The bottle will expand as CO2 is formed. No wondering what is happening in the glass bottles.


Here is a nice write up HD4Mark wrote up on using a hydrometer.

When you go to bottle your beer. Fill one (or 2,3,4…) plastic soda bottles. Squeeze the O2 out and screw the cap on. The bottle will expand as CO2 is formed. No wondering what is happening in the glass bottles.[/quote]

Thanks for that link and I will definitely use a few soda bottles.

OK Nighthawk, I am trying your advice. I saved a couple of 20-oz Diet Coke bottles, cleaned them, sanitized and bottled into them, and they did get firm after a couple of weeks. The best part, a brown ale I made looked exactly like Diet Coke. But I’ve tasted a couple, and it seems the beer in those bottles has a nasty twang to it.

Then at a party this past weekend a friend mentioned that Miller now has beer in plastic bottles, that the technology was invented for the chemical industry to store alcohol because it leaches chemicals from the plastic bottles. Does that seem possible? I’m not really concerned about the chemicals, but the taste is messing up my plans! So maybe I’m doing something wrong. Do you use new PET bottles, or refill soda bottles, and is there a trick to cleaning them to get the soda taste out?

I had a twang in my beers when doing extract beers. It went away with age. Like 6 months. :frowning:

I doubt the chemical

make up of the beer bottles is different than a soda bottle. Other than the color additive. So I don’t see the plastic being the source of your twang.

Boulevard Brewing also has plastic bottles. They are sold at outdoor events here. Not sure if they are available in stores.

I use anything but Root Beer/Dr Pepper type soda bottles. The odor/flavor stays with the plastic. Never had an issue with Coke/Sprite type drinks.

If you think its the soda, try an unflavored sparkling water bottle.

Your observation of the color of some beer being close to a soda. Easy to have an adult beverage when you are not suppose to 8)

when your hydrometer arrives, don’t forget to sanitize whatever you will be useing to take the beer sample for the test. :stuck_out_tongue:

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