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First batch yeilds less than a gallon - normal?

So we brewed our first one gallon batch last weekend, following the video tutorials and instructions exactly. Somehow we got less than a gallon when transferring to the glass jug, maybe an 1 1/2" below the “gallon” text - is this normal? Also, our siphon doesn’t work for shit, so we’re going to have to get a new one (probably from somewhere else) before we bottle, it wont even siphon regular water when testing it after struggling for half an hour with the actual beer. It will not create proper suction and made a giant mess.

Also, we can’t see any more bubbles up at the top. I saw bubbles for the first 3-4 days, but haven’t seen any at all after that point. it’s been 5 days total since we brewed and it’s been kept in a dark closet. Since it yielded less than a gallon, would it make sense that it needs less time before bottling? how do we know if it’s done if no more bubbles pop up before the first week?

There are always some variables… if you have a vigorous boil, or a dry kitchen, you might have boiled off more water than the instructions assume. For extract, usually you top up afterwards to your target volume. So you could have added a little water to get to that gallon mark.

As for your siphon, contact Northern Brewer. Their customer service is top notch, and I’d be surprised if they didn’t offer to replace it or otherwise fix the problem.

The bubbles? You’re good. Usually, you add yeast, maybe a day or so later start seeing bubbles, then the bubbles finish up after anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks. It’s yeast, it can’t tell time… it just does its thing. The time thing is less dependent on volume than it is on yeast health, beer strength, and how much yeast you’ve added. Be sure, though, that the yeast is still doing important things, even if you don’t see bubbling. It’s metabolizing compounds that lead to off flavors, settling out and clearing the beer. Ideally, you would check with a hydrometer to make sure you’re done, but my usual advice is to wait three weeks, then bottle, if you’re not sure. Adding time doesn’t hurt, but bottling too early can be risky.

Look into temperature control- I have a feeling your closet may have been a bit warmer than we usually try to brew at. Warmer=quicker fermentation, too…

Welcome to the hobby, and ask as many questions as you need.

Thanks for the reply. It’s been over 30 since we ordered the kit since it was a Christmas gift but haven’t had a free weekend until this point. I’ll talk with a rep about a new siphon today to see if they can still send me a replacement.

The boil honestly seemed less vigorous than the video tutorials, which seemed odd that a lot of water boiled out after the 45 minutes. We have a gas stove vs electric and it does get very hot very quickly though, so that might be a factor. Didn’t know we could have topped it off with more water, as I don’t think I saw that mentioned in any of the info in the kit - we’ll know for next time.

So the lack of bubbles isn’t an issue, which is good meaning we didn’t screw everything up. We don’t have a hydrometer, but if this batch turns out alight we might get one for the future. We keep the apartment at 68 constantly and right now it’s pretty dry and cold outside. It’s the best place we have that does not get any light, so not sure where else we could put it.

It happens often that you will not have the full volume in the fermentor due to boil off and absorption loss in the hops. When this happens you can top off with sanitary water that doesn’t contain chlorine or chloramines for extract kits. Bottled water, RO water, or distilled water is best if your tap water is from a municipal water source.

What kind of siphon do have. Often an auto siphon that is stored assembled will have a deformed seal at the end of the cane.

Fermentation time doesn’t go by volume. There is the same amount of sugars for the yeast to work on in three-quarters gallon as there is if the wort was a full gallon.

Taking at least two SG samples several days apart is the best way to determine if the fermentation is complete. With a one gallon brew this can use up a bottle of beer though. Plenty of time in the primary can be done if you are sure the fermentation didn’t get stuck. Two to three weeks would be good.

I see the reply from @uberculture so maybe this will help in addition to his good advice.

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