I brewed an Amber Ale just a day shy of 3 weeks ago. I was planning on bottling today or tomorrow. I went down to my basement and noticed that the pressure in the plastic bucket changed and it bubbled a few times. Should I be worried and go buy a hydrometer before bottling? I noticed a normal fermentation after pitching. Short lag time 3-4 days of bubbling and it tailed off after. I used US-05 and the ambient temp range was between 61-64. Fermentation temp peaked at 66. Any thoughts? Didn’t noticed a big swing in ambient temp and it wasn’t moved. Should I not worry?
You shouldn’t worry but you should go by a hydrometer if you’re going to continue brewing. After 3 weeks it’s probably ready to bottle but only a gravity reading will ever tell you for sure.
I’d bottle it, but I’d also get a hydrometer before the next batch.
It stopped after 3 or 4 bubbles. I’m going to buy a lab grade hydrometer for final gravity. Is it ok to float a sanitized hydrometer in either the primary bucket before transferring to bottling bucket or the bottling bucket before I stir in priming sugar? I don’t plan on opening up the bucket to check gravity multiple times. Only before I plan to bottle which wouldn’t be any less than 2-3 weeks. I don’t want to waste any more beer than I already do when siphoning and bottling.
Well if you contaminate your batch by dropping a hydrometer in it you will waste a heck of a lot more beer. I check after 3 weeks and if it’s what I expect ill bottle. If it seems high I’ll let it go another 5 days or so then check again. It’s the nature of the beast. Of course you can do what I do. Pour the sample into a glass of your already carbonated beer and enjoy. Not wasted.
+1 to both Danny and Cat. IME probably the 3 most important tools to a homebrewer is Accurate: hydrometer, thermometer[ like a Thermopen ], and a decent PH meter. Those devices will cover 99% of your processes. Also accurate scales help too.
For beers that have been conditioning for a while, I usually drop a sanitized hydrometer into the keg right after I transfer the beer. As long as it’s sanitized I don’t consider it a risk.
For beers I want to move along in the process, I take gravity readings starting at 2 weeks to assure fermentation is complete. For those I pull what is needed for the test tube with a sanitized thief. I sample that beer and never return it to the carboy.
You’re going to stick something into the beer to get a sample for gravity readings so I don’t see any difference between that and dropping a sanitized hydrometer into it.
I use fermenters with spigots so I can pull samples and run the finished beer into a keg without siphoning. I really, really don’t feel comfortable with opening or putting foreign objects into my fermenter.
A fermenter with a spigot may be advertised as a bottling bucket, but your beer won’t know the difference.
After you collect a sample, spray the inside and outside of the spigot with Star San so you don’t grow a nice mold culture that will contaminate your beer when you run it into a keg.
I usually use a thief and take a sample to test. I will also sip on that sample just for taste. The sample beer doesn’t go back into the carboy though. At later stages, I would think the alcohol content of the beer is enough to keep small microbes at bay, so I usually don’t worry much about it. Of course the thief is sanitized before it enters the beer, but I’m not overly paranoid at this stage once fermentation appears to be wrapping up or complete.