First ale

so 5 days into my first ale, the co2 bubbles have stopped. is this a sign that ferm is over? it seems too early. they were going good until today

bubbling is over, but fermentation clean up is not. Generally allow 2 weeks primary then 1 week secondary (min) or 3 weeks primary then bottle/keg. Even if bubbling has stopped

5 days for most of the vigorous fermentation is completely normal. As mentioned above, there is still stuff going on, but the majority is now complete. Depending on what you are making, bottling or kegging can happen after 2 weeks. Leaving it an extra week as directed above is never bad. I usually plan to keg after 2 weeks, then end up putting it off for a third.

Kegging early is not an issue. You just get an over carbonated beer.

Bottling early gets you bottle bombs.

When you do get to bottling day, fill one soda bottle with the brew. Squeeze the air out and screw the cap on. As CO2 is formed in the bottles the plastic will expand. No wondering what is happening in the glass bottles.

When the soda bottle is hard, give it another week. Then in the fridge for 2 days. Enjoy!

I do at least a 10 day primary no matter what. If you bottle earlier, you may have diacetyl (butterscotch) flavors. You can let the beer go a bit longer, but I think the beer suffers if it sits more than 3 weeks. This is for a 1.045-55 gravity beer. Stronger beers may sit a week or two longer.

Yeah I started my first ale (irish red ale) on the 4th and by today, the 7th is slowed down considerably. It was going crazy the day after and then it started slowing down so I got worried. Seems that if you use dry yeast the strong fermentation can stop even after 2 days but its not completely stopped. The yeast are digesting the harder to eat sugars and other compounds. I plan to keep mine in the primary stage until the 2 week mark and then move it to secondary fermentation for another 2 weeks.

The hardest lesson to learn right off the bat is waiting. It is fine, it will be ready to go for certain in two to three weeks after pitching yeast so I recommend waiting.