Author Topic: Fermentation timing  (Read 978 times)

Offline FLbrewer

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Fermentation timing
« on: May 27, 2013, 06:18:45 PM »
So I racked my second beer yesterday afternoon and there were very slow bubbles in the airlock that evening. Tonight there is already a thin layer of krausen starting to form. Is this because I'm an awesome brewer (sarcasm) or for other issues like the amount of oxygen present, etc.

Offline quattlebaum

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Re: Fermentation timing
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2013, 07:13:48 PM »
It's just not finished yet. I would leave it in primary for no less than two weeks. I actually don't even do secondary anymore unless I am adding an adjunct like fruit or dry hopping. Do your best not to introduce o2 when you transfer.

Offline amh0001

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Re: Fermentation timing
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2013, 09:27:40 PM »
Sometimes when you add a healthy pitch of yeast, or a lot of yeast your fermentation will start pretty quickly. Did you use a pack of dry yeast? (that has a lot) or make a yeast starter (makes a lot, prior to pitching). Those are the times I see a fast fermentation.

Also certain strains of yeast will be more active then other, like a normal ale yeast like wlp001 (cal ale) or Nottingham, can be much faster to go than something at a lower temperature like a hybrid or a lager strain.

Speaking of temperature that's another area. If your beer is really warm that will increase yeast activity, but this is not what you want on the early part of your ferment. for a normal ale I usually pitch a few degrees colder than my target temp (ie 66 degrees for a 67 or 68 ferment). Just remember that you want to keep your temps low especially in the beginning to avoid too many esters etc being produced by the yeast. I would highly, highly suggest getting/using a temp controller and a used fridge. First thing you should should buy after you get a kit.

Hope that helps CHeers! :)

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Fermentation timing
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2013, 04:52:35 AM »
...It's just not finished yet. I would leave it in primary for no less than two weeks...

When its done, its done. If the airlock activity is slow/stopped, you're down to your expected FG, and the beer tastes good (no buttery or green-apple flavors), go ahead and rack/bottle/keg.

I'm not a fan of giving fermentation a time frame, unless its simply because you don't have time to mess with the beer (rack it, bottle it, etc.). This is why most homebrewers say 1 week, 2 weeks, etc. - because we only do brewing ops on the weekends.

That said - once you start getting to know your yeast and have made beers with varying strengths/ingredients, you'll be able to anticipate how long primary fermentation takes and be able to diagnose when its not going as planned. For this batch, seems like you're on the right track!
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Fermentation timing
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2013, 11:29:35 AM »
So it had been 30-ish hours since pitching? It would be a little worrisome if you *didn't* have krausen. For the most part, active fermentation of an ale will start in the 12-24 hour range.
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Offline quattlebaum

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Re: Fermentation timing
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2013, 06:45:35 PM »
This may help.
Tom from Michigan asks:
I have a few questions about secondary fermentations. I've read both pros and cons for 2nd fermentations and it is driving me crazy what to do. One, are they necessary for lower Gravity beers?

Two, what is the dividing line between low gravity and high gravity beers? Is it 1.060 and higher?

Three, I have an American Brown Ale in the primary right now, a SG of 1.058, Should I secondary ferment this or not?

Your advice is appreciated, thanks for all you do!

Allen from New York asks:
John, please talk about why or why not you would NOT use a secondary fermenter (bright tank?) and why or why not a primary only fermentation is a good idea. In other words, give some clarification or reason why primary only is fine, versus the old theory of primary then secondary normal gravity ale fermentations.

Palmer answers:
These are good questions – When and why would you need to use a secondary fermenter? First some background – I used to recommend racking a beer to a secondary fermenter. My recommendation was based on the premise that (20 years ago) larger (higher gravity) beers took longer to ferment completely, and that getting the beer off the yeast reduced the risk of yeast autolysis (ie., meaty or rubbery off-flavors) and it allowed more time for flocculation and clarification, reducing the amount of yeast and trub carryover to the bottle. Twenty years ago, a homebrewed beer typically had better flavor, or perhaps less risk of off-flavors, if it was racked off the trub and clarified before bottling. Today that is not the case.

The risk inherent to any beer transfer, whether it is fermenter-to-fermenter or fermenter-to-bottles, is oxidation and staling. Any oxygen exposure after fermentation will lead to staling, and the more exposure, and the warmer the storage temperature, the faster the beer will go stale.

Racking to a secondary fermenter used to be recommended because staling was simply a fact of life – like death and taxes. But the risk of autolysis was real and worth avoiding – like cholera. In other words, you know you are going to die eventually, but death by cholera is worth avoiding.

But then modern medicine appeared, or in our case, better yeast and better yeast-handling information. Suddenly, death by autolysis is rare for a beer because of two factors: the freshness and health of the yeast being pitched has drastically improved, and proper pitching rates are better understood. The yeast no longer drop dead and burst like Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life when fermentation is complete – they are able to hibernate and wait for the next fermentation to come around. The beer has time to clarify in the primary fermenter without generating off-flavors. With autolysis no longer a concern, staling becomes the main problem. The shelf life of a beer can be greatly enhanced by avoiding oxygen exposure and storing the beer cold (after it has had time to carbonate).

Therefore I, and Jamil and White Labs and Wyeast Labs, do not recommend racking to a secondary fermenter for ANY ale, except when conducting an actual second fermentation, such as adding fruit or souring. Racking to prevent autolysis is not necessary, and therefore the risk of oxidation is completely avoidable. Even lagers do not require racking to a second fermenter before lagering. With the right pitching rate, using fresh healthy yeast, and proper aeration of the wort prior to pitching, the fermentation of the beer will be complete within 3-8 days (bigger = longer). This time period includes the secondary or conditioning phase of fermentation when the yeast clean up acetaldehyde and diacetyl. The real purpose of lagering a beer is to use the colder temperatures to encourage the yeast to flocculate and promote the precipitation and sedimentation of microparticles and haze.

So, the new rule of thumb: don’t rack a beer to a secondary, ever, unless you are going to conduct a secondary fermentation.

Offline FLbrewer

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Fermentation timing
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2013, 03:10:05 AM »
So based on what Palmer said, why wait 2 weeks?

Online klickitat jim

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Re: Fermentation timing
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2013, 03:39:32 AM »
Clean up.

I know, I'm still sometimes wrapping my mind around this hobby. The turning of sugar into alcohol is done relatively quickly but then they have byproducts to clean up. Such as diacytle and acetaldehyde

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Fermentation timing
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2013, 04:22:21 AM »
Again - all depends on pitching rates, starting gravity, oxygenation, yeast strain, and temperature (setting and variance).

Check gravity. Taste. Package when ready.
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Offline denny

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Re: Fermentation timing
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2013, 08:50:23 AM »
Again - all depends on pitching rates, starting gravity, oxygenation, yeast strain, and temperature (setting and variance).

Check gravity. Taste. Package when ready.

THIS^^^^
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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