Take the 2-minute tour ×
Homebrewing Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for dedicated home brewers and serious enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm in the middle of my first brew and I'm having some issues. Not sure if I have completely ruined this thing or what. Heres the deal...

During the process, everything went pretty much as planned with a few exceptions. For one, the guy at that local store didn't sell me enough DME for the kit I bought (Munton's Nut Brown Ale) so I ended up using half DME and half table sugar. I researched it beforehand it saw table sugar isn't really recommended, but can do in a pinch. Since I already opened the tin with the syrup, I figured this qualified as a pinch.

Second issue... my airlock O-ring wasn't set properly. Yesterday I got concerned at the lack of bubbles in the airlock and I popped the lid and saw the O-ring wasn't set. After setting the o-ring properly and reinserting the airlock, I did indeed see a pretty frequent bubble in the airlock, say every 15 seconds or so.

Now its only day three and no bubbles at all on the airlock again. After waiting a while I decided to do a hydrometer reading. It came out as 1.010. The kit says primary fermentation should take "4-7 days or until SG is below 1.008." So... Whats the deal? Did I containment when I popped the lid yesterday to adjust the airlock? I did read one forum that said table sugar often ferments faster, could it just have really gone that quickly? I did not see a lot of foam, but yesterday there was a fairly small foamy head on the brew. I certainly wouldn't say I saw a "vigorous fermentation" like I've seen others talk about.

For what its worth, the beer LOOKS fine.

I have no problem letting it sitting for as long as it needs, but if hope is lost I'd rather start over now that I know a little better what I'm doing. I definitely admit I rushed into my first brew due to a hectic schedule with work and family.

share|improve this question
    
It sounds like it will be fine. From my experience (only 6 brews so far) and from online reading, it's really hard to completely screw up a batch. –  CDspace Apr 11 '14 at 15:28
    
Thanks for the responses, I'll post back as the process continues. I haven't touched it since I posted! –  rehz Apr 12 '14 at 2:00
    
:-) RDWHAH (-: . –  Dean Brundage Jan 11 at 16:03

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

First of all, don't open the bucket if you can at all avoid it. I know this your first brew so you're excited, but in general you want to leave it alone. I don't touch my brews for 4 weeks unless dry-hopping (as in, I pitch yeast, close the bucket and don't look or think about it again for a month).

Second--your beer is probably fine. The most vigorous fermentation is typically over within a few days. That doesn't mean primary fermentation is done, just that the most rapid CO2 production is likely over. After you let it sit for a while longer it may drop a few more points. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

share|improve this answer

Everything you describe is totally normal. Your beer is fine.

share|improve this answer

Seems to me you're worrying too much. Unless a ferment seems to be stuck—which hasn't happened to me in several dogs' years of home brewing—or unless the final alcohol content really matters, I much prefer to leave the yeast to do its thing. I figure the less I touch it, the less likely I am to contaminate it. Beer is a tender thing, almost defenceless compared to wine.

When the primary ferment has settled down, I want to get it into a carboy and out of harm's way ASAP. I don't care what the SG is now, the protective head of foam is gone and the protective blanket of CO2 is dissipating every time I lift the lid to have a look & a sniff. Other home brewers may be more curious, careful, or crafty. Just remember to sterilize the crap out of everything & you'll be fine. Enjoy your first batch!

share|improve this answer

Concerning the table sugar that you said made up half of your initial fermentables, was that half by weight or half by volume?

Did you measure your starting specific gravity after the boil?

You mentioned that you got less foam that you had expected. I would guess that that might be a side effect of using the table sugar, as it is 100% fermentable and therefore doesn't contribute anything to the foam layer.

Depending on how much sugar you added, you may have started at a significantly higher initial specific gravity. If that is the case, you may have reached your yeast's maximum alcohol level already. You may never get to your 1.08 FG.

Even if that is the case, its not a problem. Your beer should still be great. It will just be a little sweeter than expected. It should still taste good and have the expected alcohol level (or greater).

Just be sure that fermentation has stopped (stable specific gravity for 2-3 days) before moving on to the next step.

share|improve this answer

If You Have; healthy yeast, good sanitation, fresh ingredients, good temperatures, a low to medium low OG, YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

You can hit your FG in as little as 4 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What happens in the next 3 to 7 days is cleanup duty for healthy yeast that are left, after consuming the sugar you provided,they turn on whatever is left in the finished wort.

ON THE 7TH 8TH 9TH DAY YOU MUST TAKE A GRAVITY READING AND DETERMINE IF YOU HAVE REACHED YOUR FINAL GRAVITY.THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO DETERMINE IF THE FERMENT IS DONE.

Once you reach FG and hold that reading (+_.010)FOR THREE CONSECUTIVE DAYS, you are done fermenting.At that point you can leave beer in for longer to allow solids in the beer to drop out and clear. Personally i would not leave in Primary longer than 18 days,before bottling or secondary container WHICH I NEVER USE.

ONE MORE GOLDEN RULE,WHICH I ALWAYS FOLLOW,MAKE A PROPER SIZED YEAST STARTER AND YOU WILL BE GUARANTEED OF HAVING ENOUGH YEAST!!!!!!!! IT IS SO SIMPLE MY 10 YEAR OLD NIECE DOES IT FOR ME.http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/homebrew/starter-tips Good Luck

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.