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My first brew! I forgot to add yeast and put it in a day later. #embarrassing

I took a SG reading after 5 days: 1.018

I took another reading today, 7 days in, and it's only dropped to 1.016.

The packet said 4 to 6 days.

Should I do anything (stir?), or just wait? Is this normal?

Thanks.

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What was the expected final gravity? –  mdma Jun 10 at 21:56
    
Well i don't know (nothing on box), but the wilkos hydrometer says not to bottle beer until 1.005 –  artfulrobot Jun 10 at 22:13
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That's simply not true - beer is often well above 1.005 when it's bottled. What you need to watch out for is that you don't bottle until it's finished fermenting - that you get the same SG reading 3 days apart. I would wait a few more days, then check the gravity - if it's still 1.016 then you can go ahead and bottle. –  mdma Jun 10 at 22:17
    
Thank you, i did wonder. I'll wait and see if it moves. –  artfulrobot Jun 10 at 22:20
    
@mdma has it. My last red was a hybrid extract/grain brew that started at an OG 1.074, FG 1.018. It has been one of the best reds I have made. Don't worry about forgetting the yeast, as long as it was sealed with the air lock you should be fine. Also, make sure your fermentation vessel has been in a consistently cool place (assuming an ale) 60-70º is preferable just because your beer temp could be a little higher than the 70º... and if it gets too high it will kill the yeast or give off-putting flavors. –  Grohlier Jun 11 at 13:29

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you didn't take an original gravity reading (OG) then its tough to say if it's fermented. Did it seem active at all (did it have a foamy krausen on top, or could you see the wort slowly churning 24-48 hrs after pitching the yeast)?

Give it a while longer and keep taking readings every couple days until they stay the same for 3 or 4 days. Any drop in the gravity indicates the yeast are active. When it's stopped try a taste, if it's excessively sweet then the fermentation has certainly stuck.

If it is stuck you can try gently rocking the fermenter to stir the yeast back up, and keeping it on the warmer end of the yeast's preferred temperature. If it still doesn't go you can pitch additional yeast (consider using a different strain, perhaps).

There no harm in waiting on it for a bit; as long as you can get it to finish without getting infected it will be beer. Cheers!

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OK, thanks. It's definitely done something - frothy on top, and tastes good already (definitely not sweet)! I think that I just need to be more patient and ignore the advice on the box about 4-6 days before bottling and adding sugar, and ignore the advice on the hydrometer packaging which suggests all beer ends up between 1.010 and 1.006. THanks! –  artfulrobot Jun 11 at 13:40
    
No problem. Gravity readings basically measure sugar-levels, so the FG (final gravity) is very dependent on what you're brewing. A dry and strong beer can actually finish below 1.000 (I've heard, never seen) and sweet beers can finish above 1.010. You'll also likely see OG's and FG's listed on recipes which give you a good way to double-check if you brewed accurately. If you miss your OG you can adjust your wort (a bit) by adding more sugars or water (boiled, of course). The difference between a OG and FG will also tell you the alcohol level. –  STW Jun 11 at 14:22
    
So my process (sorry, complete noob to this!) has 2 stages - the barrel and then put 1/2tsp sugar in each bottle, cap and wait 3 weeks. Is the FG the gravity at the point of bottling? (I've assumed so) –  artfulrobot Jun 11 at 15:09
    
You can take your OG reading after cooling the wort and pitching the yeast. Your FG reading is whatever gravity your fermentation stops at before bottling. –  STW Jun 11 at 15:17
    
Also, unrelated, but you could try batch-priming rather than adding the sugar directly to the bottle. To batch prime you measure your priming sugar for the entire batch and dissolve it into a small amount of boiling water, then cool it and add it to the finished beer, gently stir, and bottle from there. It helps ensure more consistent carbonation and also sterilizes and fully dissolves the sugar. If you try it be sure to rack your beer off the trub before adding the sugar-water--since you need to give it a gentle stir you don't want trub on the bottom or you'll be adding it to your bottles. –  STW Jun 11 at 15:21

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