Author: Sue Martin

How do I use a Hydrometer?

A hydrometer is used for testing the specific gravity (SG) of what you are fermenting. You do this by taking a sample out through the tap of your fermented product in to a test tube. Remove your airlock first so that the water is not sucked into your fermenter. Give the hydrometer a spin and wait for it to stop moving. The spinning is to remove any bubbles that could be stuck to the sides of the hydrometer, thus giving you a false reading. Always follow the guidelines on the yeast you are using and be very aware of the different results you will get from different fermentation temperatures. See the other temperature related questions on this FAQ page.  The float line is your reading and you are looking for a stable reading two days in a row. This means fermentation is finished if the process has been done at a suitable temperature. Now you’re ready for the next step, bottling, kegging or...

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How Soon Can I Drink My Beer?

A few things will determine how soon after bottling you can drink your beer. Some beers will mature quicker than others. Usually, the more expensive beers that use a better quality yeast will mature and age quicker than the cheaper ones. Storage area and temperature are also vital to improving the speed with which your bottles of precious amber ale mature. In summer I’ve know some beers to be quite palatable and mature after being in the bottle for only two weeks, however the longer the better. After bottling your beer store them in a warm area in winter and a cool area in summer. If you can possibly leave them for 4-6-8 weeks you will notice a big improvement in the result. Remember to pour carefully and avoid stirring up any sediment. The use of finings will also help the sediment settle in the bottom of your...

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What Do I do If My Wash Is “Stuck”

If your wash hasn’t reached the advised specific gravity reading of 990 (just above the 1000) there are a few things that can cause this. In summer it’s almost always caused by over heating in the first few days of fermentation. DO NOT THROW IT OUT. The combination of yeast, water, sugar and hot weather can easily cause you wash to jump 8-10 degrees higher than the ambient temperature. This quickly kill some of the yeast and the remaining yeast won’t be enough to work with the quantity of sugar that is remaining unfermented.   If after 5-7 days your wash hasn’t reached the desired temp in summer I’d suggest you give it a good stir and wait another 2-3 days. If theres still no change you can still go ahead and distill it. Your end result will be determined  by exactly how hot it got in those first few days. You will definitely get something for your effort. In winter you can still appear to get a similar result but this easily fixed. All you need to do is warm your wash up. A heater pad is the best for this. They are a worthwhile investment. Even if your wash has been down for 2-3 weeks in winter you can still put a heater pad under it and warm it up and finish it off. The ideal fermentation temp...

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How Do I Know If My Wash Is Finished Fermenting?

If your wash has reached 990 (right at the top above the 1000 line)  on your hydrometer you can be assured that it has finished. If it hasn’t reached this level there a quite a few reason for it to be ‘STUCK’ That is the term we use for a wash that hasn’t reached the desired level on your hydrometer. The information below is a guide for a wash using 8 kg of sugar and turbo yeast. How long has it been down? – at least 5 days for an 8 kg sugar wash What temp did you keep it at? – constantly  between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius is ideal What temp was it when you pitched your yeast? – High 20 s in winter and low to mid 20 s in summer Is it possible that it got to hot in the first 24 -48 hours? This is very important, see the yeast and temperature section on this F.A.Q....

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Do I need a Heater Pad?

In most fermentation cases you do. Even if you only use it for 3-4 months of the year and only at night it is still a worthwhile investment. Our copper tun heater pads are 25 watts there fore they don’t use a great amount of electricity. Depending on where you live will determine how frequently you will need to use your heater pad. In some cooler areas you may need to use them 24 hours a day but this is highly unlikely in most of Australia. The majority of people only need to turn them on in the afternoon...

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