General Category > Yeast and Fermentation

Open air fermentation

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Brew Your Own's latest issue has an excellent article on this topic.  They say to wait for autumn nights when the temperature drops to about  40F.  Brew your beer as normal, but leave the lid off the boil kettle at the end and let the lot wort cool for about 12 hours.  Then rack into the carboy or bucket, and pop on the airlock.  You could also set out several small pots of hot wort in various locations to use as "starters."  If you're a techie, you can also leave out petri dishes of agar to catch the wild microflora.  One very important thing:  you can get some nasty, harmful bugs (Salmonella, E. coli).  Evaluate the fermenting wort by smell only for the first month.  By then, the pH of the fermentation will have dropped enough to kill off any potential nasties.  Then you can taste.  I plan to try some open air fermentations very soon.  I highly recommend a trip to Allagash Brewing in Maine.  They've pioneered the open air fermentation with their "Coolship," which looks like a small stainless steel, open air swimming pool.

I read the question as "controlled open fermetation" not "wild yeast fermentation".  BYO's article did a very good job on how to get a wild fermentation started.

Buckets will workk better than carboys in my opinion.


With all of this talk and articles I am going to have to finally give open air fermentation a try.  A few months ago a friend in my brewclub made an SS open fermenter for another club member and also gave me one. It will fit a 5 gal. batch.

Well THAT'S a cool idea!

I would still probably rack off the top to get less trub/yeast layer instead of using the port.

I'm not handy with steel - maybe I'll use a Rubbermaid container one day...

How about a bus tub from the local restaurant supply store with a ball valve attached? Can anyone see a reason not to, assuming the plastic is not harmful? I think I'll give it a try this spring.

Something like this:


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