Author Topic: Irish Red kit from Midwest- through primary in 2 days?  (Read 1369 times)

Offline chadjjones89

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Irish Red kit from Midwest- through primary in 2 days?
« on: May 10, 2013, 04:37:27 PM »
Hello, ladies and gents- long time no see! It's been a couple months since I was last on, and you provided some really great advice then, and I'm hoping you can do so again this go around.

I brewed my first ever batch of beer Wednesday afternoon, and after a slow start (thermal shock, maybe?) I had some really great bubbling going on all day yesterday. This morning, nothing. I checked "How to Brew" and thought it might be a bit of a low temp (~67F) but that was good. Temperature in the room where I'm fermenting never peaked above 74F and was never consistently above 69F. I know that sometimes a warmer fermenting environment can lead to shortened fermentation times, but one day of active fermentation just seems too short.

So here are the questions:

1) Is it possible that my fermentation was just very rapid, and if it is possible, is it probable?

2) If the above scenario does not seem to be the case, what suggestions do you have for determining the problem?

TL;DR- Beer seems to be through primary in ~2 days. Is this normal? If so, why? If not, how do we correct it?
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy"

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Online tygo

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Re: Irish Red kit from Midwest- through primary in 2 days?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 04:56:43 PM »
It's possible it finished in two days, but not likely.

Are you judging activity based solely on airlock activity?  That may not be the best indicator.  You may have a leak somewhere that's letting CO2 vent elsewhere.  What does the beer look like?  Has the krausen fallen?  Does it look like it's done fermenting?

Best bet is to take a gravity reading and see where it is.
Clint
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Offline goschman

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Re: Irish Red kit from Midwest- through primary in 2 days?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2013, 04:58:44 PM »
I am not sure I fully understand the questions but I it sounds like you have experience normal fermentation. I wouldn't touch it for at least 10-14 days after pitching the yeast.

Do you happen to have a hydrometer? If so I would take a reading closer when you intend to bottle/keg. Dealing with impatience when brewing has always been tough for me but is imperative especially when letting fermentation run its course.

Even if you aren't seeing much airlock activity that doesn't mean its done fermenting.

Offline chadjjones89

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Re: Irish Red kit from Midwest- through primary in 2 days?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2013, 05:24:59 PM »
I am basing this solely on airlock activity. I'm very hesitant to open it lest I should taint it with some environmental contaminant. I haven't popped the top on the fermentation vessel, so I can't speak to whether or not the krausen has fallen. I probably shouldn't be so skittish about opening the vessel, but I really don't want to screw up my very first attempt at home-brewing. The seal appears to be good, but it probably isn't perfect as I noticed a small amount of leakage around the rim. Not more than a tablespoon or so, but enough to let me know the seal isn't completely airtight.

Piggybacking off of this, I plan to skip secondary fermentation, and instead opt for a longer primary. The guy at the brewing supply store tends to think I can get away with that as (according to him) secondary is really mostly about allowing things to settle out in the beer for better clarity when bottling. Is it okay to skip secondary since I won't be making any further additions to my beer?
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy"

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Offline garc_mall

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Re: Irish Red kit from Midwest- through primary in 2 days?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2013, 11:38:29 PM »
If you are fermenting in a bucket (which it sounds like you are) you probably have enough leakage to ensure that you don't see airlock activity once fermentation slows a bit. I would leave it in for another 10 or so days, take a gravity sample, wait 3 more days, take a second gravity sample. if the samples are the same (I would bet they are), go ahead and bottle. If not, wait 3 more days, rinse and repeat.

Re: secondary. Secondary is only truly useful for homebrewers when you are doing a secondary fermentation (adding something with sugar to the beer after primary fermentation). Otherwise, the possibility of contamination and the probability of oxidation outweigh the minor benefits of the clarity (it will settle in the bottle anyway). I would recommend against secondary.

Just my 2 cents.
In a Keg: Flanders Red Ale, Rye Altbier, Cascade/Topaz Pale
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Irish Red kit from Midwest- through primary in 2 days?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2013, 04:20:15 AM »
+1 to the recommendations you've gotten so far.

One detail on skipping the secondary though.  Do not rush the beer through the primary if you are going to skip the secondary.  It is just a couple of steps of impatient from "I'll leave it sit for 14 days" to "it's been 6 days, I'm sure it's done".  You need give the beer time to clear or you will have a lot of crud in the bottom of each bottle.  Just a reminder to not rush. 

Paul
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Irish Red kit from Midwest- through primary in 2 days?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2013, 05:18:37 AM »
I think it is very reasonable to think that the bulk of the fermentation is done already, especially at that high of a temp. At 74F ambient temp, your beer was probably up close to 80F at the peak of fermentation activity. Fermentation produces heat, and the higher the temp the faster the fermentation. For most ales you are generally best served by keeping the temperature of the beer in the low-to-mid 60's.

Even if the yeast has consumed all the sugar they're going to eat, they will continue to break down fermentation byproducts for several days afterwards. Don't rush the beer, let it sit for at least 10 days or so in primary before bottling (personally, I give it 2 weeks as a rule of thumb). And yes, it is safe to skip secondary. I think the majority of us here don't use a secondary except in certain specific circumstances (such as a beer that you want to age for an extended period of time before packaging).
Eric B.

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Offline chadjjones89

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Re: Irish Red kit from Midwest- through primary in 2 days?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2013, 07:23:25 AM »
Gentlemen, you never fail to deliver- thank you for the input!

So I'm gonna go on and get this out of the way since I learn best when other people know that I acted like a dummy. When I was getting everything into the fermentation vessel, I made the ridiculously rookie mistake of not getting an OG reading. I know- "Stupid amateur". As far as I can tell, all that is really going to impact is me knowing what my beer finishes out at on ABV. I was just so excited!

About the brewing process- I kept a close eye on everything the whole time the wort was boiling and I never even came close to a boilover- in fact, there was rarely ever more than a half inch of foam during the entire boil. Did I get a hot break? How to Brew indicated that just before the hot break there would probably be a large volume of foam and that a boilover could be possible. I don't guess it's a super big deal, but I was just curious.
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy"

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Offline cheshirecat

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Irish Red kit from Midwest- through primary in 2 days?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2013, 07:47:13 AM »
Since you are using a kit I wouldn't be to worried about not getting the OG, good practice to get into, but as long as you followed the directions and hit your volume when you toped upyou will be pretty close to what the kit says the OG should be.

With extract you may not get much of a hot break since the extract has already gone through hot break when it was made. When I was doing extract sometimes I got one sometimes I didn't.

Definitely watch those fermentation temps. During fermentation you will be 3-6 degrees above ambient temp. A water bath with a towel wrapped around the carboy/bucket did wonders for me.

Good luck!! 




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Offline Three

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Re: Irish Red kit from Midwest- through primary in 2 days?
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2013, 08:44:16 AM »

Congratulations on your first brew chadjjones89! You are beginning an awesome adventure.

I’m not going to give any new specific advice here that the other kind folks here have covered.  This beer is going to be very good.  You are going to wonder if or think that you are messing up until you go through the process a few times and drink some of the AMAZING beer that YOU brewed. 

This site is an great resource for info but there is so much of it that it can have your head spinning when you first start out.  Go slow.  Keep notes.  The next time you brew, bottle, etcetera, you will gain experience.  Once you get more comfortable try one new thing at a time or go back and rethink something your not happy with or have questions about in your brewing process.


What are you going to brew next?




 
Anyone who sings a tune so sweet is passin by........

Offline chadjjones89

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Re: Irish Red kit from Midwest- through primary in 2 days?
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2013, 05:59:09 AM »
I have no idea what the next brew will be. Unfortunately, I am in rather cramped living quarters so I don't have good storage space for more than a couple cases at a time- as a result, I haven't given it much thought. Maybe a hefeweisen? Summers tend to get quite hot here, so I want something that will be a good counter to that heat. Possibly an IPA?
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy"

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Offline majorvices

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Irish Red kit from Midwest- through primary in 2 days?
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2013, 08:33:25 AM »
I think you will be fine, no worries about cracking the bucket/carboy open. You're making beer, not performing heart surgery.

If you had room temps of 74 degrees the beer might very well have finished fermenting. You can add 4-6+ degrees ontop of ambient temps and warmer fermentations, while not making the best beer, will finish out much faster.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 08:55:01 AM by majorvices »
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