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First Fermentation

Doing my first batch of the irish red ale that came with the starter kit, pitched the yeast 3 days ago and yesterday the fermentation was very active (yeast floating around like crazy) and lots of foam on top, but today everthing has settled to the bottom and all the foam on top has fell down. Still getting CO2 bubbles around every 15-25 seconds, so I know that it is still fermenting; however, wondering how I will know when it is time to rack it into the secondary.

used the yeast that came with the kit (believe it was the Danstar Nottingham Ale yeast)
6 gallon glass carboy as my primary fermentor

I did shake the fermentor well before pitching the yeast, but did not shake it after
Pitched the yeast around 68-69 degrees and have kept it at 67-68 degrees for the last 3 days

I do have a spectrometer that came with the kit, however, not any experience in using one. Didn’t realize I was supposed to take a reading when starting the fermentation and I did not want to open it back up to avoid contamination . should I take a reading few days after the bubbles stop or if I should wait the full two weeks before racking into the secondary.

Any knowledge would be helpfull!! Thanks

So far, so good. Everything sounds normal. The kit calls for a starting gravity of 1.044, extract kits are pretty reliable for hitting their Original specific Gravity (OG) number. The thing they don’t emphasize enough is that specific gravity is also temperature dependent, so when you take measurements get a gravity AND temperature reading.

When to rack to secondary can be a religion question, with many saying it is not necessary at all for homebrew volumes. For me, I find a secondary helps keep nasty chunky bits out of my final bottles, because the transfer lets me dump a lot of the worst sediment. (Homebrew bottles always have yeast sediment though.) There’s definitely no need to rush; even though the yeasties may be done fermenting and bubbling they are still working on the beer.

If you’re not into taking the gravity readings, the extract kit’s schedule is conservative enough that you’re pretty much guaranteed success. Others may have different feelings but I don’t check gravity moving from primary to secondary, I just get a Final Gravity (FG) reading at the end.The beer will eventually stabilize, and like I said, there is no need to rush; patience is the most important ingredient for good beer.

And finally, welcome to the best hobby!

Just my opinion, but don’t transfer to a secondary clearing vessel until FG has been reached. Very little fermentation occurs in the secondary. Removing the beer froom the yeast cake may result in a stalled fermentation.

The temps you mention, are they room temp or the temp of a thermometer on the side of the fermenter. A fermenting beer can be 5 or more degrees warmer than room temp. So the beer would be in the low 70’s.

In the 70’s, it would not be unheard of for fermentation to be done in less than 2 days. See my signature line for ways to keep the temps down in the mid-low 60’s.

Because you have an itch to do something, go ahead and take a hydrometer reading at day 7. Then one a week later. Then if you want, transfer to a bulk aging container. Or leave it in the fermenter for 3 weeks.

When you go to bottle, fill 1 (or more) soda bottles. Squeeze the O2 out and screw the cap on. As CO2 is formed the bottles will expand. No wondering what is happening in the glass bottles. Wait a full 3 weeks before you put a bottle in the fridge for 24hr for tasting.

Your patience will be rewarded.

The temperature of the carboy is around 68 as measured by the thermometer on the carboy itself… I have it sitting in water with a towel around it to keep it cool.

The temperature of the carboy is around 68 as measured by the thermometer on the carboy itself… I have it sitting in water with a towel around it to keep it cool.[/quote]
Something I had overlooked and found by accident when using a swamp cooler. I decided to check the reading of my thermo strip on the glass carboy compared to a Thermopen. I found the Thermopen recorded the wort temperature 5° higher than the strip. I had the wet towel over the thermo strip with a fan blowing on it. Swamp coolers don’t care what they cool. Partially opened the wet towel and had the thermo strip opposite the fan. A half hour later the thermo strip indicated the same temperature as the thermopen. Instead of a wort temperature of 60° I had 65°. Acceptable, but not what I was aiming for.

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