Author Topic: First Time In Glass Fermenter  (Read 3529 times)

Offline goudron

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First Time In Glass Fermenter
« on: September 05, 2012, 06:40:03 PM »
On Labor Day I brewed a dark stout.  I played with a partial mash, it was really not much more than steeping grains, but I added some stuff to my distilled water to get used to worrying about water chemistry.  It was kind of silly because I had no pH meter to use, and my grainbill was very small with lots of water, so hopefully I didn't do more harm than good.  It was also my first full boil, I started at 4 gallons and boiled down to 3.  I also had my first boil over shortly after adding the DME (first time not using liquid extract too), but it wasn't too bad as this was also the first time I brewed in the garage with a turkey fryer type setup rather than on the kitchen stove.

All that was fine.  Since I only had 3 gallons, I thought it would be better to use my 5 gallon glass carboy to ferment in instead of the larger plastic bucket.  I got up to about 1.066 when all was said and done, and I tossed in some nottingham WP039 yeast around 9 PM and 70F.  When I came home from work for lunch on Tuesday, I was impressed with the vigorous fermentation - temp up a little to 71.  The airlock was all bubbly and there was a generous layer of trub on top.  Today at lunch, it was much the same story, but it was 75F.  Nice evidence of fermentation, but perhaps a little warm for this yeast.  I have a blanket around the fermentor to keep light out.  Tonight though, the bubbler is rather calm in comparison.  All the trub appears to have dropped out of site, and temp is back down to 72.

I've never seen the fermentation before, is it normal for all the bubbles on top to drop down after just a couple of days?  I suppose gunk gets pushed to the top and when it hits a certain density it just drops down.  I just wanted a sanity check.  This is normal, right?

Offline gmac

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Re: First Time In Glass Fermenter
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012, 07:39:16 PM »
Yep. Normal.
But next time consider replacing the blanket with a wet towel to keep the temp down. You're pretty hot at 75.
If its still actively fermenting, you can do that now.

Offline goudron

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Re: First Time In Glass Fermenter
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2012, 08:19:35 PM »
Good idea.  Was thinking of setting the fermenter in a cooler with some water, but didn't want to disturb it.  thanks.

Offline gmac

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Re: First Time In Glass Fermenter
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2012, 09:16:47 PM »
Disturbing it won't be that bad. Better to get it cooled off if it's still actively going.

Offline goudron

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Re: First Time In Glass Fermenter
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2012, 01:48:29 PM »
So OG was 1.067 on 9/3.  On Monday, 9/10, a week after starting, I thought the fermentation might be done, so I took a sample, and measured 1.015.  Seemed like it might be done, so I moved the fermenter to higher ground so I could siphon out of it, and washed bottles to get them ready to go for the next day or two.  The next day, I noticed the airlock with fresh sanitizer in it was quite bubbly again.  Sure enough, it was still bubbling.  Today it's still bubbling.

How much longer can it go if SG was 1.015 5 days ago?  I suppose I'll find out.  I don't see much point in taking another sample until the bubbles stop at least.  I'll take two measurements over 2 days before bottling, but again, I'm just checking to see if this is normal.  It's not normal for me, but I haven't made anything over 1.05 OG before either.

Offline tubercle

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Re: First Time In Glass Fermenter
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2012, 06:24:06 PM »
.... but I added some stuff to my distilled water to get used to worrying about water chemistry. ....

Hmmm...For some this an obsession. For me, I brew and sleep like a baby.
I pity those who obsess.

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Offline gmac

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Re: First Time In Glass Fermenter
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2012, 08:08:17 PM »
The beer could bubble for a bit even after it's done as dissolved CO2 comes out of suspension.  Moving it could have started that up.  I'd expect it probably isn't gonna get down much lower than it is, especially since it's an extract beer.

Personally, I'm with Tubercle on water.  I have hard water (get a water test) but all I do is brew dark beers with 100% tap water (and I've forgotten Campden tablets to remove chlorine and I haven't noticed any problems).  For lighter beers, 1/2 tap water and 1/2 distilled water.  That's as far as I intend to take water chemistry.  Yes, you can do a lot more but I think some over-think the process a bit. Once I've perfected ever other aspect of brewing, maybe then I'll think about looking at water chemistry.

Offline goudron

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Re: First Time In Glass Fermenter
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2012, 02:26:18 PM »
Thanks for the advice.  I will continue to worry about it though because I enjoy it :)

If it were CO2 stirring up, wouldn't it have settled by now?  It's been 6 days since I moved the fermenter, but it's still bubbling slowly (every 60 seconds?).

Offline gmac

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Re: First Time In Glass Fermenter
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2012, 03:38:14 PM »
Check the gravity.