Can I open bucket lid to take gravity measurement?

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Gazo76

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Hi all,
Virgin brewer here.
Ok, so I have my first brew bottled and ready to sample next weekend. I didn't take gravity readings with this, so the following has just come to light.
Now on my second brew and did take an opening gravity reading this time. Bubbles have slowed right down and now I want to measure again. I'm using a sealed bucket with airlock, no tap.

1. Am I ok removing the lid exposing to the air to take this reading and then just popping the lid back on or should I really be fermenting in a tap style bucket with easy access to liquid without O2 interference?
2. Once I take the reading, can I pop the liquid back in or should I be tasting at this stage to see what's happening or even just throw it away?
2. If I did use tap style bucket, could I just pop the liquid back in the top by opening up the lid quickly?

I do now have a tap bucket as well for pre-bottling syphon, but this could now be used as a fermentation bucket I guess.

I'm sure there will be many many more questions to follow, but this is where I'm up to.

Thanks for listening.

Gazo
 

obscure

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While you should avoid opening the lid too often in reality it is unlikely to do any harm if you open the lid now and then to take a sample.

As for number 2 I wouldn’t recommend returning it to the fermentor, generally you will only be taking about 50ml or so so best bet is to chuck it or if you wish drink it.
 

DarrenSL

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+1 what obscure says., and definitely taste it. It will help you get a feel for how the beer is going to turn out and how much conditioning might be needed.

A tap on the fermenter will also help with the transfer so you don't need to syphon (which I find to be a faff and adds risk of oxidation and infection). You would normally have the tap a few cm higher on a fermenting bucket so it sits above the trub layer. On a bottling bucket your tap will be close to the bottom.
 

Gazo76

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Thank you very much gents.
A quick open, get what liquid I need, and shut it is (later this evening) then.
 

Redwulf

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Make sure you clean and sterilize anything that is coming into contact with the beer. I use a stainless steel measuring cup for this. Its easy to clean and sterilize with a little handle to keep fingers out of the beer and the 1/2 cup size is perfect for my measuring cylinder.
 

jof

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Once you get a feel for it, you could just leave it the recommended 2 weeks (that from us on the forum, not the 1 week that the kit instructions say)

I have to say that I don't even bother taking gravity readings any more.
All I normally do is sample the day before bottling to make sure it hasn't gone 'off' & doesn't taste sweet.
 

moto748

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My bucket doesn't even have a lid! :D

But of course I do have a cover for for, but it's not air-tight, and not intended to be. And typically it will stay under there for five or six days before being transferring into demi-johns under fermentation locks. And I've never had a problem doing that; I don't know if others would demur.
 

Drunkula

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I throw a hydrometer into the fermenter after about 8 days and if it hasn't finished just leave in there and check again 5 days later. Buy a couple of them so you can just leave them in there. It's not worth doing early in the ferment because they get covered in krausen.
 

Manners

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+1 what obscure says., and definitely taste it. It will help you get a feel for how the beer is going to turn out and how much conditioning might be needed.

A tap on the fermenter will also help with the transfer so you don't need to syphon (which I find to be a faff and adds risk of oxidation and infection). You would normally have the tap a few cm higher on a fermenting bucket so it sits above the trub layer. On a bottling bucket your tap will be close to the bottom.
So you just stick some tubing onto your tap and pour away into keg/barrel?
 

Shunter

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Just drop the hydrometer into the fermenter and read off. The angle may be a bit off, but if you take OG the same way it evens up.
 

DarrenSL

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So you just stick some tubing onto your tap and pour away into keg/barrel?
Yes, straight into the keg (or bottling bucket if bottling) and just tilt the fermenter to make sure I get all the beer out and just leave the trub/sediment. I used to syphon and then got an auto-syphon but don't bother with that anymore. You will get less oxygen contact than with an auto-syphon just by opening the tap and running into the keg/bucket through a tube (even better if you have CO2 to purge).
 

Gazo76

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Thanks all.
I am sanitising everything before any kind of use.
Took a reading this evening and was at 1016. Started at 1054, so looking good.
For record I'm brewing a Muntons Imperial Stout with 1kg Extra Dark DME.
Took a sip of what I gathered and was horrified by the taste. Gave it about 25-30mins, added a few granules of sugar, stirred and it was so different.
Now re-sealed the bucket and it's still bubbling away, so going to leave it a couple more days before taking next reading.
 

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