Worried about my first brew

Hey guys, I’m sure this comes up a lot, and that you’re probably tired of seeing this topic, sorry. I started my first ever brew a few days ago, last Friday, and I’m worried. It has no krausen anymore as opposed to when it first started. When I mixed everything together I followed the directions for the irish red very closely. I watched the video that came with the kit. I added the dry yeast dry because the video said I could simply sprinkle it on top. I admit when I used my thief to check the specific gravity, I added the sample back in. It wasn’t until after I did it that I read you shouldn’t do that, but everything was sterilized so I thought it was ok. Well when it first started it was bubbling like crazy, at least one"bloop" every 2-3 seconds. Now I never hear it bloop at all and it has no krausen, except maybe a very thin layer. I’m worried I messed up my first brew, how depressing. Any reassurance? It’s in a dark area, around 68 degrees though at the beginning I think it was closer to 70-71.

I would be rather sure that your fermentation is finishing up. Wait another week to take a second SG reading, and then another a few days later. You will probably find that they are the same and your fermentation is at final gravity. Then all you have to do is wait for the excess yeast and the trub stirred up by the activity of the yeast to drop out for a clear beer.

Fermentation temperature in the low 70°s was a little high for Nottingham(?). The yeast can produce some esters unless held in the low 60° range. Definitely not a ruined beer though. Flavor development from yeast mostly occurs in the first few days of the fermentation.

We can talk about temperature control methods a little later. I’m getting ready to put some biscuits in the oven for supper.

Sounds like you may have made beer. Congratulations and welcome to the forum.

What you describe is pretty common. Sounds like the most active phase of fermentation is complete. How long has it been since you pitched the yeast? How warm was the wort when you pitched? What was your OG and what was the gravity reading of your sample.

BTW you sanitized your equipment. You didn’t sterilize it unless you have an autoclave.

Many new brewers “follow the directions to a T” only to learn later that the directions with many kits are horrible. 80 degrees or lukewarm to the touch is not the best temperature at which to pitch yeast and fermentation temerature control is one of the first vital steps to making good beer. Realize that your fermenting wort could easily be 5-6 degrees warmer than room temperature but if you pitched warm it could be much much warmer. You’d get better beer if it was fermenting in the 60s due to a ‘cleaner’ fermentation.

Google ‘swamp cooler’ for some ideas on how to control fermentation temperature.

Your first beer will likely be drinkable. Enjoy it and if you’re hooked on brewing you can learn a lot by hanging around here. Read Palmer’s How to Brew. It’s free online.

Don’t worry. and congratulations! You’ve made beer. Just a couple of things:

  1. Pitch temp was a little high. Go for low 60’s, or the lower end of your specific yeast’s range.

  2. Even though ambient was 68, fermentation is exothermic (produces heat), so your beer probably got 5-8 degrees hotter, which is why it fermented fast. Google swamp cooler. Cheap way to keep ferm temps in check.

  3. Let it go for at least two weeks and then take another gravity reading. Wait three more days and take another. If they’re the same, active fermentation is done. You could bottle after that, but I’d let it go another week. Even though it seems finished, the yeast is still working, cleaning up after itself.

Just get those ferm temps in check, and drink your samples! And ask plenty of questions here.

This beer will probably be fine, just give it time. And if you are bottling, use a priming sugar calculator to determine the amount of priming sugar, don’t just use the whole 5 oz bag that comes with the kit (if this is the NB kit). Good luck and welcome!



Edit: Flars and Danny type faster than I do, Obviously!!

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Was it the five gallon kit?


Thanks for all the responses. It was in fact the five gallon kit. I will let it continue for the two weeks more that it has before secondary. Thanks for reassuring me guys!

The more you brew, the more you’ll find that temperature, original gravity, the type of yeast, and the amount of yeast makes a noticeable difference in how fast active fermentation goes. I haven’t been happy with following the instructions and rushing getting it bottled. Most kits seem to suggest that you can bottle it 3-4 weeks after you brew it, but not all beers are done that fast. After ending up with some over-primed brews, even after the hydrometer said they reached final gravity, I took to letting them sit an extra week or three. It hurts waiting that long, especially when you’re anxious to see how it turned out, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to let the yeast have extra time to clean up and settle before bottling.