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This is my very first brew. I put a really small amount of beer (4 litres) into the fermenter (I live in a small apartment and I found a recipe for 5 litres - I tried that) on Saturday afternoon. The following day the fermentation activity was high, but on Monday it became slower and approximately since Tuesday morning the airlock is still. I swirled the fermenter for a minute, but then it didn't really help. I read about the symptoms and I found the following assumptions:

  • Maybe there is something wrong with the temperature - I use Mangrove Jack's M41, which requires 18-28 celsius degree (64-82 in fahrenheit) and the temperature at home is 23-24 celsius all day and night. So I think this should not be the problem.
  • Maybe the yeast was too much
  • Maybe the yeast was not enough or too weak
  • Maybe there is no problem, just chill

I'm not sure if I should not do anything or add more yeast. Or do not make a decision before any gravity measurement?

If I buy a hydrometer and measure FG (recipe says 1.006) and it is relatively high, what is the best I will be able to do? Yes, I know that the best would have been if I measured OG at the beginning. Now I see that it was a big mistake of mine, but the recipe did not warned me about the importance of gravity measurement. And as this is my first try, I'm not concerned about exact alcohol % - I will be happy if the result tastes like a beer.

Thank you if you read this and try to help me!

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  • Well, if someone in the future turns up here and is curious about this: I bottled the beer 2 weeks after the fermentation started. And 2 weeks after bottling it tastes just fine! I could also get a hydrometer and check the beer once before bottling - it was 1.005. I think the yeast was too much + the temperature was at the higher half of the recommended range, so the fermentation progressed very quickly. – Zoltán Várnagy Oct 24 '20 at 16:24
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If you put a whole packet of yeast (~10 grams) into a 5 litre batch, I would guess it's fermented-out already, especially at 24C. A ferment will also generate its own heat, so you probably were even a bit warmer than ambient temperatures too.

The best way to check on fermentation progress is with a hydrometer, but if you don't have one, a quick taste-test will give you a rough idea. If it's not sweet at all, then fermentation has progressed well.

I think everything is ok, but check with a hydrometer to be sure.

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  • Thank you for your answer! I used only ~3g of the yeast. However I tasted the beer and it was not sweet at all. Is it possible that I can already bottle it (if I'm not aware of the concrete alcohol %)? Or should I wait some days? – Zoltán Várnagy Sep 24 '20 at 17:17
  • @ZoltánVárnagy - if you're bottling into glass, then I would wait two weeks from start-date. If you can, please get a hydrometer, they are reasonably inexpensive. Over-pressurised glass bottles can be very dangerous. If you are bottling into PET (plastic) bottles, it's less risky. The extra time will also help the flavour - the yeast will consume some non-tasty byproducts, then settle to the bottom. It's worth the wait. Most beer fermentations are finished within ~10 days. I usually make beer on the weekends, and a 2-week cycle allows me to bottle/cask on the second-next weekend. – Kingsley Sep 24 '20 at 20:05

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