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How would you know if your brew is or isn't contaminated? I'm the first timer that dealt with the broken spigot & had to transfer at 6 days. Just hearing about contaminated home brew so many times & the fact that I'm looking at my batch right now & it just looks like dark coffee with no movement ..freaks me out a little. ??? Also, if this brew is ok, can I transfer it back in to a bucket from the Carboy for ease of bottling ??

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2 Answers 2

Everything sounds perfectly normal. After a week of fermentation it's normal for the beer to be mostly still with some bubbles or foam on the surface. Leave it for a while and then test the gravity before bottling. The gravity should be at the final gravity specified by the recipe, or close to it, and stable over three days. After drawing a sample for your hydrometer, don't return the sample to the fermenter as this can introduce contaminants. If the beer tastes normal at this point, it's most likely free of contamination?

When you're ready to bottle, rack the beer from the fermenter to a clean, sanitized bucket and add your priming sugar. Be sure to mix well, but be careful to avoid introducing oxygen. I like to boil the priming sugar in some water and put it in the bucket before the beer. That way the turbulence of the flowing beer distributes the sugar effectively throughout the beer.

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The bubble clusters are normal, not to worry :) An infection typically looks like there's big chunks of stuff floating on top. Another thing that tends to worry first-timers but is actually normal is the crown of nasty-looking stuff around the top of the beer, that's just the yeast and sometimes sediment depending on if/how you filtered the beer (hops are a major culprit in making the carboy messy). Also don't be concerned about funky smells if you put your nose near it. If you don't know what to expect, those smells can freak you out but it's normal for the yeast to make it smell a little rotten (it is a fungus after all).

For the transfer back into the bucket, that's fine as long as you make sure to thoroughly sanitize it/you, and just be gentle with it so you don't dissolve any more oxygen into the beer.

If you want an easier way to bottle, look for a bottling nozzle that you can stick on the end of a siphon. Most homebrew shops carry them, they usually look like a 10-inch long clear plastic straw with a small valve at the end. If you use a rubber tube to siphon you basically jam that straw in the end of it and it will stop fluid from coming out until you press it into the bottom of a bottle, which opens the valve and lets the fluid pass through at a very manageable rate. Here is an example of one. That will probably be a lot easier/safer than using the spigot.

Cheers!

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