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Did I ruin my first batch?

I know it’s hard, but you have to exercise some patience. Unless you have one of the aforementioned reasons for doing a secondary, don’t. It won’t make your beer any better and the more you fidget with your beer, the more chances you have of a bacterial contamination. Your primary fermentation is probably done which is why you are no longer seeing airlock activity. This is normal. You want to keep it in your fermenter UNDISTURBED for another couple of weeks. The yeast will spend that time cleaning up after themselves by consuming byproducts from the primary ferment which can impart off flavors. You can devote your downtown time until bottling by reading up on brewing, researching new recipes, and as others suggested perhaps getting another batch going.

Welcome to the obsession. Six years down the road from making my first beer, my passion remains undiminished. You are on a learning curve and will make mistakes, as we all did. The good thing is that beer is pretty forgiving as these things go and you should always end up with something that’s at least drinkable. Dedicate yourself to learning and you will make steady progress and will be turning out good beer in relatively short order. I found this forum early on and the highly talented and knowledgeable brewers who frequent it continue to be an invaluable resource to me.

^ Thanks Jeff. Words of wisdom I’m sure. Glad to know I’m on the right path. I went into this whole thing blindly, so I’m learning on the fly. I do have a couple books, one recommended in this thread. Just don’t want to miss a step in the process. And I’m sure I’ll be here six years down the road too! Take care.

The two things that took my beer from “drinkable” to “exceptional” we’re proper temperature control during fermentation, and adjusting my water for the style of beer.

I would suggest, before you dive into kegging or all grain or a third fermenter, would be to invest in a chest freezer and a temp controller to ferment exactly where you need to. Also, download a copy of the Brew’n’water spreadsheet. It’s confusing as hell at first…but if you commit to learning the water, your beer will be epic.

All of that said…with your first brew…be patient! Since this is a Double IPA, you’re looking at even longer to bottle condition and age before it is at its prime.

Since you’ll probably drink this batch in the first month or so after bottling, set a few bottles aside and drink one every month for the next year. You’ll be amazed at how the flavors progress.

My final piece of advice: take detailed notes on everything! You can’t know what to do next unless you know what you did before.

Cheers! :cheers:

What they said.
If there are no extra ingredients, even dry hopping (and there are arguments that that can and should be done in primary) don’t bother with secondary. It really doesn’t do anything for your average beer. Only if you are bulk aging for a long time or something like that do you really need it.
Next, even if there are bubbles every 5 minutes, that means there’s still something going on in there. The longer you can wait before bottling, the better it will end up. Like Jeff said, the yeast are cleaning up after themselves. The one thing that made a big difference in my beers is going from 2 weeks in primary to 3 weeks. The extra time gives the yeast time to finish their work, clean up after themselves and drop out of suspension.
Believe me, I know waiting is hard, but it’s the way to get good beer.

[quote=“jaygtr”]What they said.
If there are no extra ingredients, even dry hopping (and there are arguments that that can and should be done in primary) don’t bother with secondary. It really doesn’t do anything for your average beer. Only if you are bulk aging for a long time or something like that do you really need it.
Next, even if there are bubbles every 5 minutes, that means there’s still something going on in there. The longer you can wait before bottling, the better it will end up. Like Jeff said, the yeast are cleaning up after themselves. The one thing that made a big difference in my beers is going from 2 weeks in primary to 3 weeks. The extra time gives the yeast time to finish their work, clean up after themselves and drop out of suspension.
Believe me, I know waiting is hard, but it’s the way to get good beer.[/quote]

Thanks. I’m listening to all of you. I appreciate it. I’ll just keep it in the primary for a total of about 3 weeks, and then take it to the bottling bucket, and bottle from there… Keeping it in the bottle for another 2-3 weeks before giving it a taste.

Question though… At what point should I test the final gravity and record to learn the abv?

September 6 I brewed the American Amber Ale extract kit. The 16th it reached what would be FG. Sample was hazy. Flavor did not seem right. The 22nd the sample was still hazy, but the flavor was better. On the 27th the hydrometer sample was clear, flavor excellent. I’ll bottle in a few days.

At about week two, when fermenation activity is minimal, I’ll take the first hydrometer reading just for tracking flavor development. Typically, for the temperatures I ferment at, three weeks in the primary is minimum. I’m not worried if it is getting on to four or five weeks of primary time unless it is a Wit Bier or Hefeweizen. My best beers have been the ones which reached full flavor in the primary. Bottle conditioning adds the final touch.

Ditto to all the above. It’s good advice.

Before I went to all grain, I totally use the Britta pitcher just like you did. I did it for every batch and all of them turned out fine, so I’m sure yours will be just fine as well.

I check the final gravity just before bottling, but soonest would check is two weeks after pitching. I’ve only secondaried for beers that I’m conditioning more than 3-4 weeks. I read in Palmer’s book, that after that you may start to get some off flavors from letting it sit on the yeast.

I know sanitization is a big deal and I’m thorough, but it’s also something not to get too anal about. You should worry if you dropped a dirty spoon in after cooling or mixed in tap water that you know has some bacteria in it (a friend of mine has this issue). These guys are right that fermentation temperature and water chemistry will take your beers from great to excellent, but you’re on your first batch. Have fun with it. If you’re looking to geek out a bit more I’d agree that temp control may be the next investment, and then I’d go all grain before I really started looking into water chemistry.

[quote=“Beerfan80”]

Question though… At what point should I test the final gravity and record to learn the abv?[/quote]

Test final gravity on bottling day…before you add the priming sugar.

Just open up the fermenter and drop in the sanitized hydrometer.

Final gravity is determined by a series of specific gravity tests. When the specific gravity remains unchanged you have your final gravity. Final gravity is not determined by the calendar.

^ makes sense. Thanks.

So my Brewers Best Double IPA (OG 1.080) has been in the primary bucket for almost 16 days at about 66 F). This is my first batch, and I was checking on the progress inside, so I gently lifted a corner of the lid. Everything looked and smelled just fine. I figured since I had the lid open for the first time, I’d go ahead and use my sterilized thief to check the FG. It was at 1.011, which translates to about 9.06 abv. I even had a taste and it was surprisingly very good!

My question is, am I good to bottle this up tonight? Or should I continue to leave in the primary for one more week and then bottle next week? I don’t want to get too anxious where I ruin the batch, but it seems to be done in terms of fermentation. Thoughts? Thank you.

I say bottle.

I guess I’m thinking this as well. I just called the folks at Brewers Best and while very kind, they honestly didn’t know what to tell me. They were just reading off the directions and telling me I should’ve double fermented… So they weren’t much help on this unfortunately.

She did however tell me that my final gravity was low. I was at 1.011, and I should’ve been around 1.015-1.019. She’s concerned that there may be an infection… But again, it tasted surprisingly good to me, and I’m definitely picky about my IPA’s.

Is my low FG a reason for major concern? Thanks.

[quote=“Beerfan80”]So my Brewers Best Double IPA (OG 1.080) has been in the primary bucket for almost 16 days at about 66 F). This is my first batch, and I was checking on the progress inside, so I gently lifted a corner of the lid. Everything looked and smelled just fine. I figured since I had the lid open for the first time, I’d go ahead and use my sterilized thief to check the FG. It was at 1.011, which translates to about 9.06 abv. I even had a taste and it was surprisingly very good!

My question is, am I good to bottle this up tonight? Or should I continue to leave in the primary for one more week and then bottle next week? I don’t want to get too anxious where I ruin the batch, but it seems to be done in terms of fermentation. Thoughts? Thank you.[/quote]

I would think at this point you’d be OK to bottle, but I would personally hold off another day or 2, then check the gravity again. If it’s the same, (and realistically, it should be) you can bottle immediately.
I have a pale ale in the pail for about the same time, I’m going to pop it this afternoon to check gravity for the first time. I am going to plan on bottling Friday or Saturday, depending on when I have time.

[quote=“jaygtr”][quote=“Beerfan80”]So my Brewers Best Double IPA (OG 1.080) has been in the primary bucket for almost 16 days at about 66 F). This is my first batch, and I was checking on the progress inside, so I gently lifted a corner of the lid. Everything looked and smelled just fine. I figured since I had the lid open for the first time, I’d go ahead and use my sterilized thief to check the FG. It was at 1.011, which translates to about 9.06 abv. I even had a taste and it was surprisingly very good!

My question is, am I good to bottle this up tonight? Or should I continue to leave in the primary for one more week and then bottle next week? I don’t want to get too anxious where I ruin the batch, but it seems to be done in terms of fermentation. Thoughts? Thank you.[/quote]

I would think at this point you’d be OK to bottle, but I would personally hold off another day or 2, then check the gravity again. If it’s the same, (and realistically, it should be) you can bottle immediately.
I have a pale ale in the pail for about the same time, I’m going to pop it this afternoon to check gravity for the first time. I am going to plan on bottling Friday or Saturday, depending on when I have time.[/quote]

Thanks. I’ll shoot to take another reading tomorrow. If consistent, I’ll bottle tomorrow evening, and maybe let it condition in the bottle a little longer than usual.

I’m doing the Brewers Best DIPA and only kept it in primary for 12 days and moved it to a secondary to let it clear a little as I did not strain into the primary fermentor, and there was a lot of stuff at the bottom Seeing as you’re now 3 years more experienced than when you did your first one, do you think it was a mistake to move it? It had been in primary at a nearly constant 72f, and all the activity seemed to be done. Its now releasing 1 small bubble around every 5-7 minutes.

I think I’m just impatient and wanted to clear my primary for another batch

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Get more fermentors the best thing i everdid. It cuts down the wait time brewing a other batch damn this beer brewing fun stuff

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Take a hydrometer reading only way to tell you brew is ready. Dont relly on the airlock

It was at 1.024 at 70-72f when I racked to secondary,

How long should I leave it before taking another reading?

I only mentioned the bubble as it gave me a hint that something is still going on in there.

I’ll have to have a word with the warden about that

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