What did I do wrong?


I took the first step to home brewing and picked up the Deluxe Brewing Starter Kit at my local Northern Brewer in Milwaukee this past weekend.

Day 1: Cooked the Caribou Slobber recipe and it was as strait forward as expected. I stowed the glass carboy in my basement with a blanket wrapped around it. I used included tube ran to brewing bucket in anticipation of excess krausen as the airlock and the temp has been a steady 68 degrees.

Day 2: There was a nice layer of krausen on top! It looked great and was burping nicely. Could I really be brewing beer?! This is exciting!!!

Day 3: Today I pulled the blanket off and it looks dead. There is no activity and the krausen has disappeared.

I have gone over everything I did a few times and the same question keeps coming up, “Did I agitate the carboy enough before pitching the yeast?”.

I have attached a pic of the current status. What do you think?

Thank you for any advice you might have!


Relax Bobby, you are most likely just fine!
With a temp of 68, the actual beer temp may have been as high as the mid 70s and your yeast was very active. Your active VISIBLE fermentation may be finished. But notice the caps ‘visible’. Fermentaion is still happening although slower and less active. So, leave her alone for another week or so, then take a series of SGs to see if you’re done before deciding when/how to package.
You’re good, you made beer!(actually the yeast made beer, you just helped) :cheers:

That is very encouraging feedback. Thank you!

Is this a good time to switch the airlock to the smaller one that was included with the kit?

Thanks again!

Yes, you can do that. Just use star san or some sort of cheap booze in the airlock, not water.

Congrats! You’ve made beer.

Now what you want to do is read up on temp control during fermentation. Google swamp cooler.

Jim is right. Fermentation creates heat, so although 68 is a decent BEER temp during fermentation(a little lower, maybe 64-66 would be better), 68 Ambient is a little high, so it fermented fast. The next phase of fermentation is less visibly active, but nonetheless important. Be patient and give it a couple of weeks, like Jim advised.

And keep asking questions, we’ve all been there.



OK, I have another question…

How do I determine if 1 week, 2 weeks or more is the right amount of time before transferring it to the second carboy?

First off, secondary is optional. Many brewers just leave the beer in primary until its done, then bottle. Consider skipping secondary this time around.

Next, “Done” is a relative term. Most importantly, make sure all the sugar is fermented. Take gravity readings a couple of days apart, and if they are the same, that’s good. Next, yeast does other things once the sugar ferments out. It “cleans up” funky compounds. Better to wait a bit longer than to jump the gun. If I had to give a guideline, I’d say three weeks in primary, then bottle. But you really should let the beer tell you when its ready.

I appreciate all the feedback! I heard about Norther Brewer’s customer service and when I went in they were even better than described. Then I come here with questions and rather then getting negative feedback I feel like I walked into a group hug of beer lovers.


[quote=“uberculture”]First off, secondary is optional. Many brewers just leave the beer in primary until its done, then bottle. Consider skipping secondary this time around.

What are the advantages or disadvantages of primary only vs using a secondary fermentor?

So that’s what people mean by “the beer will tell you when it’s done.” That makes a lot of sense now, thank you.

I am all for a longer wait if it’s going to produce better results. At what point, if any, does waiting no longer produce better results?

First off, I am a novice brewer at best and should not be giving advice, but I have received a lot of info from these forums and feel that I should give back, and since this is a rare time that I find questions not answered that I can help with, I want to.

Yes this forum is great, I have improved my beer over the years by just lurking on the forums. The people here are some of the best home brewers in the hobby, and deserve recognition for their contributions.

Search the forums for secondary fermentation and you will find plenty of posts debating the pros and cons. There are plenty of opinions out there, and really you have to decide what works best for you. My preference is to use a secondary only when adding something after primary.

I am not going to pretend that I know what is going on in my fermenters, (is this the right way to spell this, it is weird that a brewing forum would mark this as misspelled, google likes it) but what I do is usually keep beer in the fermenter for 4-6 weeks, sometimes longer if I am lazy… I mean busy.

^^^ Well said. Amount of time to leave it on the yeast is personal preference, too, and depends on the beer. I prefer to get lighter beers, such as IPA, off the yeast as soon as possible. This can be as soon as 7-10 days, as verified by your hydrometer. Some people like to leave it on the yeast 3 weeks or so. It does change the flavor somewhat by leaving it on the yeast cake. But as soon as it hits final gravity (use the hydrometer to check), you can transfer or package. Your personal preference.

If your fermentation profile was less than ideal (high temperatures, low oxygenation, etc) you’ll want to leave it on the yeast for longer to help metabolize by-products. Better fermentation control, it’s done as soon as it’s at terminal gravity.

My opinions on secondary, and they aren’t necessarily shared by anyone else, is that it’s not necessary but I like doing it. First, it gives me an excuse to play with the beer. Second, it frees up my primary bucket and lets me re-use the yeast if I want. Third, I only bottle, and I get less sediment in the bottles if I leave it in secondary for a week or so. Beyond that, though, you’ll make beer just as good leaving most of them in primary for the same amount of time.

One phase where I found where patience helped tremendously is conditioning. I bottle and found that after 2 weeks of conditioning the beer tasted ok but I was always disappointed. But at 3 weeks it tasted ok/good and by 4 weeks it tasted good/great!

I mainly brew red & brown ales and always leave them in primary for 4 weeks then bottle. The two main reasons I do this are being “busy” and to reduce the risk of contamination. I figure that as long as fermentation is within the recommended temperature range for the yeast I can be sure it’s done all it can after a month. And a month isn’t long enough for yeast autolysis to occur.

And welcome to the hobby & the forum! :cheers:
I have learned so much just by reading and searching this forum. And I’ve always received great advice to any question I post.