Author Topic: Fermenting Times  (Read 823 times)

Offline gcam333

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Fermenting Times
« on: March 19, 2010, 05:48:57 PM »
I am going to start my first batch next week. Midwest's -Autumn Ale. Typically would 7 days primary, 4 weeks secondary,
3 weeks minimum in the bottle be sufficient?  ( at 70-74 degrees) I don't want to screw up my first batch.

Offline dbeechum

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Re: Fermenting Times
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2010, 06:14:48 PM »
You'll be fine.. hell, when I used to bottle it was

1 week primary
2 weeks secondary
2 weeks bottle and go!

Later it become 1-1-2
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Re: Fermenting Times
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2010, 08:21:29 PM »
I'd worry more about a week in primary not being enough, than any problems with secondary/bottling. It's possible that fermentation wouldn't be finished after 7 days.

70-74°F may be warmer than you want for most yeasts too.
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Offline euge

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Re: Fermenting Times
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2010, 11:56:30 PM »
Bottle out of primary when the gravity hasn't changed for several days. Track the time don't let it dictate when you do anything like rack to secondary, bottle or keg.

Usually for a mid-strength beer such as 1.050-60 a couple weeks in primary will be sufficient. Check the gravity a couple times. Then go to the bottling bucket if it is ready. Secondary isn't really important or necessary to achieve clarity. Time will do this anyway in the bottle.

Secondary is a beneficial technique when adding fruit or even more hops to a batch in order for the additional sugar to ferment and add flavor/color to the brew. This could be done at the end in primary as well.

People will tell ya that the practice of using Secondary techniques also risks contamination thus risking infected beer. It's more of a redundancy issue IMO.

Have fun with your first batch! Any questions just ask. You'll get an answer fairly quickly on this forum. ;D
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Offline gcam333

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Re: Fermenting Times
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2010, 06:06:25 AM »
Is there agreement here that with this recipe I could make a decent beer single stage.  What would be the benefits of carrying this to secondary. From what I've been reading I thought the secondary was almost mandatory to achieve maximum flavor and clearing of the brew. I appreciate all the help, I tend to obsess about the details on things like this.

Gcam

Offline tygo

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Re: Fermenting Times
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2010, 06:26:36 AM »
The secondary's not really necessary.  Sometimes I use it, sometimes I don't.  If I need to dry hop or clear the primary out for another batch I'll do it.  I've got an APA in the secondary right now being dry hopped and I've got an ESB in the primary that will stay there until it's time to bottle it.  I'll probably leave the ESB in the primary for 3 weeks.  It's been in there for 6 days so far and it's not done fermenting yet.
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Re: Fermenting Times
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2010, 06:44:49 AM »
I'd worry more about a week in primary not being enough, than any problems with secondary/bottling. It's possible that fermentation wouldn't be finished after 7 days.

70-74°F may be warmer than you want for most yeasts too.

+1

Don't follow any fermentation schedule. Let the beer ferment as long as it needs. That may be 1 week, it may be two. I rarely transfer a beer out of the primary before two weeks. And I almost never use carboy as a secondary (I do use kegs as "bright tanks", technically a secondary, for some beers but most ales I just keg, carb and drink.) Secondary may or may not be desirable for you. On one hand it will help eliminate some of the sediment from the bottles. But OTOH it also increases your risk of oxidation (and possible contamination, though the beer is usually pretty stable at that point.)

Personally, for you first batch, I would recommend cooling your wort all the way down to 60-68 degrees before pitching your yeast (and I would personally use a dry yeast such as Safale US-05, a much easier option for a new brewer -  clean fermenting yeast, no starter needed and aeration is not as critical), I would recommend just keeping a wet towel or T-shirt on fermenter to keep fermentation temps down and I would not take it out of the primary fermenter for at least 2 weeks. Then I would probably recommend just bottling and carbing for 1-2 weeks at temp in the low 70s. Go ahead a try one at one week in the bottle, you are going to be dying to try it anyway. If carbonation is not where you like give it another week or two. Sometimes brewers (an d new brewers especially) tend to age ales needlessly for extended periods. Most low gravity ales are ready to drink within 4 weeks after brewing. Some improvement may happen over the next couple of weeks for some beers, but often times not.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2010, 06:53:54 AM by majorvices »
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Re: Fermenting Times
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2010, 06:48:32 AM »
I don't want to screw up my first batch.

BTW: If you really don't want to screw up your first batch do some intense research on fermentation temperature. Basically, in a nut shell, warm pitching and fermentation temp (anything much warmer than 68-70, 72 at the highest) will give you unwanted off flavors. And fermentation is exothermic and can generate 4-6 degrees over ambient (so, in other words, an ambient room temp of 68 degrees is too warm for most fermentation). This is way, way, way more important than your choice of using a secondary or not.

Also, a lot of times first batches of beer don't turn out to be the best beer in the world. Brewing is a craft and does take some practice to master. If you follow all the advice in this thread you may be surprised how great it turns out, however. ;)
« Last Edit: March 20, 2010, 06:53:07 AM by majorvices »
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Offline gcam333

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Re: Fermenting Times
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2010, 07:48:44 AM »
What would be the ideal temp range for fermentation? And for Botlle conditioning?

Offline hokerer

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Re: Fermenting Times
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2010, 07:52:49 AM »
What would be the ideal temp range for fermentation? And for Botlle conditioning?

Each yeast has an ideal range specified with it, but, for ales in general, mid-sixties would be probably be ideal.  Just remember that that is the temperature of the fermenting wort itself and not the ambient temperature of the air.  As was stated earlier, there can be a significant difference in the two.
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Offline euge

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Re: Fermenting Times
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2010, 10:53:09 AM »
What would be the ideal temp range for fermentation? And for Botlle conditioning?

Each yeast has an ideal range specified with it, but, for ales in general, mid-sixties would be probably be ideal.  Just remember that that is the temperature of the fermenting wort itself and not the ambient temperature of the air.  As was stated earlier, there can be a significant difference in the two.

For typical ale yeasts between 60-68F is just fine though some can go higher. At the height of fermentation for internal fermenter temps I figure 6-8 degrees higher than ambient temps as a rule of thumb. So if the room is around 60 then the wort probably is OK.

A fermenter can be set in a basin, tub, or something that holds some water as a heat-sink. The wet towel will wick water and cause cooling through evaporation and frozen soda bottles can augment this even further. This is a really effective technique.

Once the brew is done fermenting (is it ever really? ;)) and bottled keep it around 70F max. Temperature generated off-flavors can still happen at this point. Since the beer is a living thing and not pasteurized you'll see benefits of keeping it in a dark cool place and not a hot garage or attic.

Once the multitude of factors in brewing become apparent to ya you'll develop your own system. Not just a craft but a science and quite literally an art... A sharp learning curve but we're here to help with any questions that will surely arise!
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Offline gcam333

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Re: Fermenting Times
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2010, 11:06:43 AM »
Thanks a bunch to everyone. That "sharp learning curve" has got me to thinking???/

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Re: Fermenting Times
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2010, 04:23:02 PM »
Nah, making beer is dirt cheap and stupid easy. Your great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather could do it, after all.

Now making GREAT beer, that's an art and a science. Let a few things slide and you still end up with GOOD beer.
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