How did you know when the fermentation was finished?
How do you know when your fermentation is complete without a hydrometer? – Fermentation is the key to converting your wort into beer. During fermentation, yeast consumes sugars in the wort, producing carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol. Primary fermentation time depends on the type of beer.
For ales, it can take 7-14 days, while lagers need 21-40 days on average. (For more information, see my blog on fermentation times). Your recipe should indicate an approximate timeframe for your project. In general terms, fermentation is done when the yeast shows that it’s done, typically about two weeks.
At that point, the yeast should flocculate and the airlock should cease bubbling. If you are unable to purchase a hydrometer, it is still possible to estimate whether your brew is done fermenting.
Can you add sugar to mash during fermentation?
When making wine should I add all the sugar all at once or can I add sugar to the wine during the fermentation? Name: Mark State: Ohio —— Hello Mark, In general, you do not want to add sugar during fermentation. You will want to add all the sugar to the wine before the fermentation – all at once, upfront.
There is no real advantage to spreading the sugar throughout the primary fermentation, just as long as you are shooting for a reasonable level of alcohol (10% to 14%), Any wine yeast you choose to use will be able to readily ferment to this level of alcohol, even when all the sugar is added to the wine must before the fermentation.
The biggest reason you’ll want to add all the table sugar all at once, besides the fact it’s less work, is that it makes it easier to calculate your wine’s finished alcohol. Sugar is what turns into alcohol during the fermentation. This is fermentation 101, If you add sugar to the wine during the fermentation, additional hydrometer readings will need to be logged to eventually know how much alcohol is in the wine. These additional calculations can be annoying and even hard to remember to do. It requires you to pull out the hydrometer each time you want to add more sugar and take a specific gravity reading both before and after the addition of the additional sugar.
- The only possible time you would want to add sugar fermentation is if you intend to make a high-alcohol wine,
- In this case you would want to start out the fermentation with enough sugar to reach 13% or 14% alcohol.
- Then as the fermentation runs out of sugar – which is determined with hydrometer readings – you will want to start feeding sugar to the fermentation in intervals.
The goal is to end up with a wine that is high in alcohol but not too sweet to drink. The fermentation will come to a point where the wine yeast can do no more. Exactly when that will be is not a certainty. It varies from one fermentation to the next, depending on a number of variables. So in the end I guess the answer to the question: “can I add sugar during fermentation?”, is yes you can. With the only side note being “but it only makes sense if you are making a high alcohol wine”. For any normal wine making situation, it is only creating more work to do so.
How do you know when mash is ready to run?
Hydrometer Wisdom: Monitoring Fermentation As with all matters of life, there are two ways of monitoring the fermentation of your mash: the easy way and the complicated way. If you’re a K.I.S.S. fan – not the band, but the „Keep It Simple, Stupid” philosophy – you’ll prepare the mash and just let it be.
- A day or two after adding the yeast, you’ll see the airlock bubble – and know the stuff’s doing its fermenting business.
- After 14 days, it should be about done.
- If it still bubbles, let it sit for another few days, or until you see no bubbling for at least a minute or two.
- Once there is no activity in the airlock, your mash is ready to run.
This is a non-scientific method but pretty reliable in judging when fermentation is completed. The scientific method isn’t actually that complicated either, and it will let you know that the mash has completely finished fermentation and determine its potential alcohol.
- What you’ll need is a beer or wine hydrometer.
- The hydrometer indicates the density, or specific gravity – SG – of a liquid, compared to water.
- As alcohol is thinner than water, the higher the alcohol content, the deeper the float sinks.
- Pure water has a specific gravity of 1.000 on the hydrometer scale.
Temperature is a key factor when measuring the specific gravity of a liquid – the hydrometer should indicate the temperature it’s calibrated to, and also include an adjustment table. A standard measuring temperature is 20°C or 70 °F. Original Gravity – OG Measure the gravity of your mash before fermentation – and before adding the yeast.
The reading will be higher than 1.000, because of the sugars present in the mash. During fermentation, these sugars will be consumed by yeast causing the density and therefore specific gravity to lower. The number will be the lowest at the end of fermentation. Fill your hydrometer tube about 2/3 of an inch from the top with the wash/mash you wish to test.
Insert the hydrometer slowly not allowing it to drop. Give the hydrometer a light spin, to remove the air bubbles that may have formed.
- Read where the surface of the liquid cuts the scale of the hydrometer.
- You can also predict the potential alcohol of your mash from the original gravity.
- Original Gravity – Potential Alcohol
- 062 → 7.875%
- 064 → 8.125%
- 066 → 8.375%
- 068 → 8.625
- 070 → 8.875%
- 072 → 9.125%
- 074 → 9.375%
- 076 → 9.75%
- 078 → 10%
- 080 → 10.25%
- 082 → 10.5%
- 084 → 10.75%
- 086 → 11%
- 088 → 11.25%
- 090 → 11.5%
- 092 → 11.75%
- 094 → 12.125%
- 096 → 12.375%
- 098 → 12.75%
- 100 → 13%
- 102 → 13.25%
- 104 → 13.5%
- 106 → 13.875%
- 108 → 14.125%
Final Gravity – FG Measure the specific gravity of the mash after the airlock slows down and you’re not getting much activity. If the reading is at 1.000 or less, it is definitely done. If it’s 1.020 or higher, you may want to wait a day or two and then take another reading. Keep taking readings, if needed, until the gravity stops dropping – which means the fermentation is complete.
- A good rule of thumb: if the gravity hasn’t changed over the course of three days, then the mash is done fermenting.
- Final Gravity – Potential Alcohol
- Using the chart above and some math, you can calculate the alcohol content of your mash after fermentation is complete.
- ABV = (OG – FG) x 131
For instance, if the OG reading is 1.092 and the FG is 0.99, the math goes like this: (1.092-.99) x 131 = 13.36% ABV Remember, this is a rough estimate, as many factors are at play. But the science will at least keep you busy until you’re ready to get your whiskey still running. Posted by Jason Stone on June 01, 2015 : Hydrometer Wisdom: Monitoring Fermentation
Can you add water to mash after fermentation?
Should I add water to an already fermenting batch? When racking from a primary fermenter to a secondary vessel, you will leave behind a non-trivial amount of “stuff” so the volume in the secondary will be less than the volume in the primary. If you start with five gallons in the fermenter you won’t have five gallons left to bottle, but it isn’t any more concentrated than when you started.
What are the signs of fermentation?
◄ BACK | NEXT► If you’re new to fermenting, this question of “how do I know it’s fermenting?” probably crossed your mind the second you prepped your first ferment and walked away from its resting place. The signs vary from ferment-to-ferment, but there are some indications a ferment is active and healthy.
- You may see these signs, you may not.
- Either way, everything is ok! As long as your veggies are submerged in a brine and mold hasn’t grown, you’re on track.
- These signs may include bubbles from carbon dioxide, a cloudiness in the brine or the color fading from the vegetables.
- If you REALLY don’t think something is fermenting, taste it after a couple days (not hours).
If you don’t notice a subtle sourness developing and only taste salt, there are three things to consider: did you use salt with iodine, water with chlorine or vegetables loaded with preservatives ? Iodine and chlorine will often inhibit the fermenting process, as will chemicals designed to preserve vegetables.
Do you need to use organic? Absolutely not. Just make sure they’re properly washed; it’s very unlikely the issue is with your vegetables. If you haven’t done any of the above, just be patient! It’s possible cooler temperatures are slowing the fermenting process too, so keep tasting it and eventually you’ll notice a difference.
If that didn’t put you at ease, watch this video with fermentation expert and author Sandor Katz to learn more about what to expect (or not expect) during an active lacto-ferment.