Brewing FAQ

Q: My beer fermented for only 1 day. Is something wrong?

A: I doubt it. The duration of fermentation can vary from a day to a week or even longer depending on the beer and the yeast used. Generally speaking a strong, fast fermentation is a healthy one.

Q: My airlock stopped bubbling after a few days. What's wrong?

A: Read the answer above. Another possibility is that the lid is not on tight and gasses are getting around the sides instead of through the airlock.

Q: My beer did _____! Should I throw it out?

A: NO! Always taste your beer before passing judgement. Also, remember many flaws fade with age. So, consider holding on to a flawed beer for a few months; it may turn into a great beer.

Q: My first specific gravity reading was too low. What's wrong?

A: It's possible that you didn't mix the cooked wort well enough with your top-up water. Therefore the reading you took was artificially low since most of the sugars were still sitting at the bottom of your fermenter.

Q: My beer has been fermenting for ____ days. Can I bottle it?

A: While most beers are done fermenting within one week there is no way to be sure if your beer is ready to bottle unless you take a hydrometer reading. If successive readings over a few days time show no change in the specific gravity then it is time to bottle.

Q: Can I bottle my beer in twist off bottles? How about glass growlers?

A: Neither method is recommended. It is difficult to get a good seal on twist off bottles and they may leak leaving you with flat beer! Growlers are not made to tolerate the high pressures encountered while the beer carbonates. They can explode which is very dangerous and a waste of beer!

Q: What is the proper temperature for fermenting my beer?

A: For ales 65-70° F is great but a few degrees higher or lower is fine too. Most lager yeasts do best when fermented in the low 50° F range. Beer fermented too warm can have unpleasant off flavors. If you try to ferment too cold the yeast may go dormant and not do its job.

Q: My beer has been in the bottle for a week and still isn't carbonated. What's wrong?

A: Perhaps you are storing your beer in an area that is too cold or has wide temperature fluctuations. Move it to an area where the ambient temperature is consistently from 65-70° F. If temperature isn't the problem then maybe you didn't add enough priming sugar (the proper amount is 3/4 cup for 5 gallons). If you used bleach or some other sanitizer that needs rinsing and you didn't rinse well enough your yeast could have been killed off.

Q: There is a layer of stuff in the bottom of my bottles, is something amiss?

A: No, everything is as it should be. The sediment is the yeast that caused the beer to become carbonated. It the layer is very thick you might not have waited long enough for the beer to clear before bottling. In any case, simply pour the beer off the sediment and into a clean glass before drinking.

Q: My liquid yeast packet swelled up, but it doesn't seem to be fermenting my beer. Is the yeast dead?

A: If the yeast packet swelled up then the yeast is fine. Your beer will eventually start fermenting. Be patient or make a starter next time.

Q: My beer is over-carbonated? What happened?

A: You may have used too much priming sugar or perhaps your beer was still fermenting when you bottled. If the over-carbonation is accompanied by an off flavor and/or a ring in the bottle at the fill line the problem is probably due to infection.

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