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I'm attempting my first brew using a kit with all the provided ingredients (it's a lager). My brew is still in the big tub and has been there for about 2 weeks now. Initial SG was 1.040 and it's now 1.010.

The problem is that the airlock has never bubbled so I'm not sure if I should proceed to bottling yet or not. I've kept the brew at about 26°C during the day, down to about 22 at night so I think the temperature is OK.

Should I proceed to bottling the brew anyway? Should I add more yeast? Or should I throw it all away and start again? Is there anything else I can test?

[EDIT: updated the initial SG from 1.004 to 1.040, typo sorry!]

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5 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Assuming that your 1.004 was a typo, and you meant 1.040, you've gotten around 75% apparent attenuation, so the yeast are probably finished, and you should be able to bottle.

Unfortunately, 26C is about 16C too warm for a lager, so you may have an odd tasting lager. It won't necessarily taste bad, but it won't match the style that you were attempting.

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Yes sorry that was a typo. Thanks for the advice, I'll bottle it up today. The kit recommended keeping the wort between 21 and 27 degrees for these particular ingredients. Only time will tell... –  C4H5As Jan 16 '11 at 2:40
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26C is about 79F. That is way too hot. I bet the brew finished while you were sleeping on the first night. Its ready to bottle, so go for it.

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I would also check your fermentation setup. The first batch I did I did not notice any activity in my airlock, turned out that the lid had not been seated 100%and co2 was leaking out of the lid instead of the airlock.

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Interesting, thanks. I did notice the lid wasn't screwed 100% tight after a couple of hours. This could be why the airlock never bubbled. –  C4H5As Jan 20 '11 at 6:15
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If the specific gravity has gone up, the beer has not fermented. I recommend taking a sanitized spoon, getting a bit of the wort, and tasting it. If it tastes sour or bad, throw it out. If it tastes sweet, put a new packet of yeast in it and try again. If all goes well, the wort should start bubbling about a day after you add the yeast, and bubble vigorously for a few days after that.

1.004 seems extremely low for an initial SG. Make sure you're reading the hydrometer correctly, correcting for temperature if necessary.

Good luck! Hope this ends tastily!

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Yeah, the fermentation temp was way too high. Bubbles don't really tell you much. It's the gravity that matters. I'd say at 1.010 you're done and ready to bottle, but that depends on your recipe and the style of beer, also.

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