Brewing Topics > Extract and Partial Mash Brewing

Gravity - Primary - Secondary - End running

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Hi there!

I have actually two beers in carboy (secondary) for which I have the same question:

Are they ready to rack (bottle)? (I will add both recipes to the post)

I have what I think may be an American Brown Ale and an American IPA.

Both were brewed on same day and 7 days later were put in a respective carboy for secondary.

10 days later (tonight) I checked the Gravity wondering if I could hope for racking.

OG 1054
1st 1018
2nd 1016
The air lock was no longer venting CO2, but after moving the carboy and measured gravity, it started to bubble again. In the beer sample, I could see bubble too.

OG 1063
1st 1022
2nd 1020
The air lock was no longer venting CO2, but after moving the carboy and measured gravity, it started to bubble again. In the beer sample, I could NOT see bubble.

I think it's not ready to bottle, but it doesn't seem it will get to a much lower gravity anytime soon. Maybe it's ready to bottle?

What are your thoughts?

Thank you!

Let me start by stating that airlock activity is not a good way to judge if fermentation is finished or not.  However, given the amount of time you have been fermenting, you should be close to terminal gravity.

If these are hydrometer readings, then your ABA has an apparent attenuation of around 70%, which is low for US-05.  Did you taste the sample?  Did it taste overly sweet?

Your IPA comes in at around 68% apparent attenuation, which is on the low side for S-04 as well.  The same questions apply as above.  It could be that with your fermentation process, this is what you can expect given the base fermentibility of the extract and the steeping grains used.

Either way, give them both another couple of days and recheck the gravity.  If it is the same reading as your last measurement, then you are done and should bottle.

considering that you're pretty close to your target gravity, the best way to know if it's "ready" is with no gravity changes over several days. I suggest 3 days for most new brewers.

The bubbling when moving and doing things is just some co2 that's locked up in the beer being shaken out.

I would make sure your measuring device is accurate (check in distilled water) and you're compensating your reading for temperature.

Somebody has got to say it but... using a secondary step is not necessary or even good for your beer. Your instructions may say to do so but those were probably written long ago and never updated. I've seen new kits with instruction sheets packed inside that are nearly identical to the ones written 20 years ago when I started brewing.

When you transfer to a secondary vessel you risk oxidation. You also risk removing your beer from the yeast before the yeast are finished doing their work. It's OK to leave your beer in the primary even after apparent fermentation is complete. Those are all petty good reasons to skip the secondary step.

Did you rack to secondary after 7 days because the instructions said so? A better way to find out when your beer is finished is to take gravity readings like @Oginme and @dtapke have outlined. For most ales of average strength I don't even think of doing this until the beer has been in the primary fermenter for 7 to 10 days. Sometimes longer. Your beer can sit on the yeast cake in the primary fermenter for several weeks without harm.

There is nothing wrong with how you did it. It's how we all started and you will have beer! We're just sharing the refinements we've learned over time to help you make better beer.

Best of luck and enjoy the process!

This is true, I've only ruined one mead because i forgot to rack it over and it sat on a yeast cake for 6+ months... ok so i totally forgot it even existed for almost a year...

even before i switched to conicals for fermentation, i wouldn't ever rack something to a secondary vessel unless i planned on having it there for several months for whatever reason (lagering?) even then, it's pretty much pointless.

Here's a fun read, Love these guys!


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