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I did my first brew from a 5 litres blonde beer kit. I wanted to bottle it after 2 weeks (according to the recipe ) but I got scared about over carbonation so I decided to leave it another week in the carboy. Now, 5 days later, after I moved the carboy when I wanted to bottle my beer, I see a lot of fizzing going arround. Before it was dormant and now it seem active again with a tiny amount of foam on top. Does it mean it got in another stage of fermentation? Now I am even more scared about over carbonation. And by the way, I didn't get a hydrometer nor a refractometer in the kit so I am in the unknown here. I would appreciate any thoughts, Adrian.

  • I have bottled today and I hope everything will be alright. I did this batch for the holidays so I hope they won't explode in my trunk on the road :)). It is quite clody in the bottles to be honest. I hope it will clear a bit more after 2 weeks and some fridge time. It tasted good but very yeasty and it was a bit carbonated (is it normal to be a bit carbonated?) – Adrian Tinca Nov 30 '16 at 21:08
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The release of gas when you moved it is not uncommon. There is usually residual CO2 from the fermentation dissolved in the liquid and by agitating the liquid when you moved it, some of that gas is escaping. Much like swirling a glass of beer to get more foam or aroma out of it. (For the record, up swings in temperature can also generate the appearance of bubbles too.)

I'd say go to bottle as normal if you think you are ready. Three weeks is probably more than enough if fermentation went well. When you rack the brew over to bottle taste a sample. If it tastes fine then I wouldn't be too concerned that the activity your seeing is something else like a microbial contaminant.

Lastly... get a hydrometer for the future.

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  • Thanks for the fast reply. I was thinking about buying a hydrometer but, would it be safe to pour back the sample beer in the carboy (of course with rigorous sanitized equipment)? Since I have less than 5 litres of beer (there is a considering amount of yeast on the bottom) I would lose a lot of my product with every test. – Adrian Tinca Nov 30 '16 at 12:19
  • @Adrian use portable refractometer, then. You will only lose a single drop of it. – Mołot Nov 30 '16 at 12:39
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    Thank you as well for your answer. I was looking at refractometers also. They seem easy to use with a conversion software. Well, wish me luck 'cause I will be bottling today :) – Adrian Tinca Nov 30 '16 at 12:43
  • Refractometers are great but as you seem to realize, correcting post ferment is required do to the change in refraction properties of ethanol in the finished beer. Not a problem with OG measurements. You can return a sample to the main batch, but it is a risk. A risk which I suppose can be minimized with careful sanitation. – brewchez Nov 30 '16 at 13:23
  • @brewchez to see if it's stable, you don't need any corrections. And use for post fermentation is easy with simple software or table. – Mołot Nov 30 '16 at 16:51
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Measure gravity. That's the only way to be sure.

You can have little to no bubbles and fermentation going on if the lid didn't seal completely. Or you can have bubbles and no fermentation if you release residual CO2. Or you can have stuck fermentation you will unstuck by agitating and adding priming sugar. So don't guess it. Measure it. Three days without gravity change should be perfect.

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  • It depends on the yeast and temps and lots of other stuff too. I've had S04 take a month to settle and also created bottle bombs with 3 week old S04. – Wyrmwood Dec 6 '16 at 18:23

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