Author Topic: when is fermentation through  (Read 1221 times)

Offline boapiu

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when is fermentation through
« on: May 30, 2012, 08:00:30 AM »
I have been all grain brewing for almost a year now and, pretty much, always followed a formula of two weeks in primary and one week in secondary and then keg/bottle. I have been reading posts reflecting the opinion that secondary is not necessary, perhaps even unwise, unless conditions such as dry hopping, lagerring or some others dictate it. So my question is how to determine when to rack to the keg based on temperature. I have those stick on thermometer things on both my fermentation buckets and the temperature reads 70 deg F and there is only an occasional bubble in the airlock. I brewed six days ago on May 24 and the fermentation got off to a great start, bubbling away during the first 24 hours. The temperature rose to 74 deg F during the first several days (I was out of town during some of that time). The fermentation chamber is a temperature controlled chest freezer held at 70 deg F, plus or minus a couple deg.
So, should I rack to my keg/bottles or give the yeast more time to clean things up despite the obvious temperature drop?
Thanks in advance.
Beer is an ancient beverage that has been consumed as part of a balanced diet for centuries - it contains the goodness of sprouted grain extracted into rich liquid and fermented to produce a nutritional 'liquid cereal' beverage.

Offline davidgzach

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Re: when is fermentation through
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 08:04:18 AM »
The best way to know is when you have consecutive hydrometer readings that are the same over a few days.  Your beer is probably done, but I would still leave it in primary for at least 2 weeks to finish out and clean up.  If you are used to a 3 week cycle, then leave it in primary for 3 weeks.  No harm.

Dave
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Offline sparkleberry

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Re: when is fermentation through
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2012, 08:09:09 AM »
you should take a hydrometer reading if you can.  it's a very specific way to determine if fermentation is complete.  i usually give a batch two-three weeks even after fermentation is complete to let the yeast clean up after themselves and completely settle out.  i don't use a secondary.  i haven't for quite a while.  it isn't needed.  i even dry hop in primary after fermentation is complete.  it's just another step that doesn't really do much and opens up the risk of oxidation and or contamination. 

cheers.
cheers.

rpl
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: when is fermentation through
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 08:47:55 AM »
Take a hydrometer reading when the airlock nearly stops bubbling.

If the gravity is where you want it AND there are no off flavors from incomplete fermentation (green apple, buttery), she's done.

If you have off flavors, wait 24-48 hours and taste again. You can bump up your ferm. temp. 1-2 degrees to help the yeast finish out.

In my experience, most ales fermented with most yeasts at or above 65F dont need two-three weeks to finish.

Secondary should only be used if you're lagering, fining/conditioning for clarity, or simply dont have time to bottle/keg. I dry-hop in the primary as fermentation dies down and then again in the keg.



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Offline weithman5

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Re: when is fermentation through
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 09:06:16 AM »
consecutive stable hydrometer readings.  i rarely notice any airlock activity because i lager and also i can't see my fermenter in the cooler.  i rarely check consecutive readings myself when i lager because i go out four weeks before checking at all and as long as the hydrometer is where it should be and there is lot of yeast growth on the bottom i am happy.
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Offline boapiu

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Re: when is fermentation through
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2012, 06:24:58 AM »
Thanks a bunch for the advice. I will wait my usual time frame before I keg and bottle. You shouldn't rush such a work of art.  ;)
Beer is an ancient beverage that has been consumed as part of a balanced diet for centuries - it contains the goodness of sprouted grain extracted into rich liquid and fermented to produce a nutritional 'liquid cereal' beverage.