Thank you for the replies! I have a hydrometer that came with our kit and feel pretty comfortable with how to read the OG and FG.
I guess my question is if I want to try to experiment with coming up with our own recipes and not “know” what the FG should be how do I know when fermentation is mostly done? Does it have to do w the style of beer I brew and that style is usually a FG of a certain range?
Unfortunately, attenuation is affected by several factors including mash temperature, malts used, and yeast strain. For starters, you can check the attenuation listed by the manufacturer.
Some other thoughts:
- The need for secondary fermenters is debated. I feel that they are not helpful for most beers.
- During active fermentation the beer temperature will be higher than ambient because fermentation is exothermic.
- A swamp cooler is a simple, low tech method of controlling fermentation temperature. A tub partly filled with water - put the fermenter in it. Add bottles filled with ice as needed. A fermometer (stick-on LCD thermometer) on the side of the fermenter just below the liquid line should read very close to actual fermentation temperature.
- Bottling before fermentation is complete can allow continued fermentation in the bottles - possible bottle bombs. Be sure about the gravity being stable.
- A low range bottling hydrometer is good for checking FG. Mine has hash marks every 0.0005 units, and it can be read closer than that. And be sure to correct for temperature as noted above.