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I did my first brew 18 days ago and it is still bubbling occasionally is it ok to bottle it now or do I wait longer?

Getting close to my typical time in the primary of three weeks before bottling. I like to let the yeast drop out to fill my bottles with clear beer. The yeast dropping out of suspension is also a sign the fermentation is complete or coming to completion. I don’t bottle though until I have checked the specific gravity to make sure it is stable. I’ll check the gravity three to five days apart. More time between readings makes it easier to see small changes.

Activity through the air lock after a fermentation is complete can be caused by barometric pressure change and a change in the ambient temperature.

Do you have a hydrometer?

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Hi thanks for your response I do have a hydrometer, another thing is it ok to keep taking the lid off the fermenting bucket I haven’t looked in since the brew day

There is some, but negligible risk, of air borne contamination if there is significant air movement but is has to be done to take SG samples. Most of the risk is from not sanitizing around the lid of the fermentor before it is opened.

You have really shown a great amount of patience and restraint not having looked at the fermenting beer multiple times just to see what is going on. Pitching the right amount of yeast and having the fermenting beer at the right temperature doesn’t require keeping constant visual tabs on it…

I ferment in glass carboys so I can do a visual check without opening the fermentor. Doesn’t require any amount of patience.

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So what should be my next move ?

Take a gravity reading with your hydrometer. Do you have any idea what your projected gravity is supposed to be?

No not sure but as my title suggests this is my first brew

You sanitize all that will come in contact with your new brew… Pull out enough to float your hydrometer… cover the fermenter… record the reading, then drink your sample… In 5 days repeat this process… If your readings are the same, it can be packaged. Your worries of contamination goes down, but not eliminated, after fermentation is complete… Why, you ask? Less food for bugs to eat, and the pH has probably settled to under 4.5… Not much will survive that low acidity… Sneezles61

Take a sample with the winethief. And a taste and gravity reading. It will tell you when ready

First thought is that after 18 days unless it is a very high alcohol beer, it is done. Hydrometer wise most beers will finish around 1.1X Was this a kit? Most of them will give expected gravity in the instructions.

With a bucket, if you sanitize the hydrometer well it can be dropped right in. It’s not always easy to read though and you don’t get to taste a sample. A wine thief is a cheap investment.

Here is a good thread about hydrometers Hydrometers You need one, here is how to use one

After 3 weeks I figure most of my beers are ready to keg. With kegs it’s less risky to transfer a beer early. I usually take a gravity reading as I’m filling the keg for my notes unless I’m trying to closed transfer which I’m still mixed on but I digress… If it’s a yeast or recipe I’m less familiar with I’ll do as has been recommended to you. two gravity readings a few days apart. If there’s no change it’s ready to package.

if I botled I’d take a gravity reading as suggested above before bottling unless the beer has been in a fermenter for a couple months. .At 18 days you’re likely fine but stranger things have happened and ottle bombs are no bueno.

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In addition to ABV being a deterrent as well as IBU.

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