Author Topic: How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?  (Read 1184 times)

Offline jrhomebrewing

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How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?
« on: December 15, 2014, 12:40:14 AM »
I Have made a porter and the recipe says to keep at 65 degrees for the first week then put in a secondary fermenter and move to 35 degrees room for 6 more weeks before bottling. It has been in the secondary fermenter for 3 weeks at 35 degrees I am wondering if it is at the right FG and bottle it now what will be the difference be if I wait the full 6 weeks? Why do you move it to a cold room?

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2014, 12:54:26 AM »
A lot of recipes and kits have spotty directions at best. Unless your intention is to add fruit, dry hop, or (in the case of very strong beers) to age for extended periods, there is no need to secondary at all. And you don't want to rack off of the yeast before you know you are at final gravity, ever. You risk having an overly sweet beer with yeast derived 'off' flavor/character. You know you're at FG by taking hydrometer readings a couple days apart - identical numbers on 2 or 3 successive readings puts you at FG, NOT a predetermined time frame.
You place a beer in a cold fridge or freezer to encourage the yeast to drop out of suspension, giving you a clearer, less yeasty beer. Hopefully you hit FG before chilling - have you taken hydrometer readings to check ?

EDIT - Be sure to correct your hydrometer readings for the cold temp. This is a good calculator for hydrometer readings correction :  http://www.brewersfriend.com/hydrometer-temp/
 
« Last Edit: December 15, 2014, 01:09:13 AM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2014, 02:15:59 AM »
Its amazing that kits still call for a timed racking to secondary. I suppose recipes could just be old and therefore outdated methods.

1. Ignore any instructions that call for a time schedule fermentation. Always go by specific gravity.
2. Unless you are doing a second fermentation (adding fruit at the end, adding a second type of yeast or bug) then dont rack to a secondary fermenter.

Racking your beer off of the yeast cake before it has reached final gravity is like being in a race and dumping out all of your fuel before your final lap.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2014, 03:30:50 AM »
tell us about the beer. what was the recipe? what was the gravity when you racked it? most importantly, how does it taste?
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Offline jrhomebrewing

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Re: How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2014, 06:03:10 PM »
the OR what 1083 and the FG is 1020. so it should be ruffly 8% I just tasted it and it tastes great! I am thinking about bottling it either today or tomorrow. Is this a good idea?

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2014, 06:28:34 PM »
the OR what 1083 and the FG is 1020. so it should be ruffly 8% I just tasted it and it tastes great! I am thinking about bottling it either today or tomorrow. Is this a good idea?

it's hard to say for sure. it's probably done at 1.020 but because you moved it to a cold space before being sure fermentation was completely over there is some risk that when you bottle and bring it up to temp for conditioning that it will over carbonate and the bottles explode. If there are residual fermentable sugars in there that the yeast didn't get to before you put them all to sleep with the cold, when they wake back up they will go back to work on those sugars as well as the sugar you add as priming.

If you can, take a sample (maybe a cup or 12 ounces) of the beer in a sanitized quart jar with an airlock or similar and bring it up to room temp again. see if it starts working again. you could even add a big dose of yeast to see if the gravity comes down at all.

If the gravity moves I would try to bring the whole batch up to temp, repitch with a big starter of fresh, active yeast at high krausen and see if you can't get it to come down a bit more.
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Re: How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2014, 06:34:42 PM »
If you can, take a sample (maybe a cup or 12 ounces) of the beer in a sanitized quart jar with an airlock or similar and bring it up to room temp again. see if it starts working again. you could even add a big dose of yeast to see if the gravity comes down at all.

I think this is a sensible precaution. After 7 days, a beer this big may not have been fully attenuated, especially if it was under-pitched like most kits would call for.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2014, 07:05:04 PM »
If you can, take a sample (maybe a cup or 12 ounces) of the beer in a sanitized quart jar with an airlock or similar and bring it up to room temp again. see if it starts working again. you could even add a big dose of yeast to see if the gravity comes down at all.

I think this is a sensible precaution. After 7 days, a beer this big may not have been fully attenuated, especially if it was under-pitched like most kits would call for.

Warming the beer will release dissolved CO2, so airlock activity will not be an indicator of continued fermentation.  Make sure to check with a hydrometer.

And I agree 100% that a big beer typically needs more time than 7 days.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2014, 08:37:44 PM »
If you can, take a sample (maybe a cup or 12 ounces) of the beer in a sanitized quart jar with an airlock or similar and bring it up to room temp again. see if it starts working again. you could even add a big dose of yeast to see if the gravity comes down at all.

I think this is a sensible precaution. After 7 days, a beer this big may not have been fully attenuated, especially if it was under-pitched like most kits would call for.

Warming the beer will release dissolved CO2, so airlock activity will not be an indicator of continued fermentation.  Make sure to check with a hydrometer.

And I agree 100% that a big beer typically needs more time than 7 days.

+1 to this. I was not clear.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2014, 08:47:25 PM »
I knew you knew, and I knew what you meant.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2014, 04:23:24 AM »
I knew you knew, and I knew what you meant.

So you both understood each other and both had an understanding that both of you knew it, I take it.  (Wise a$$ comment for fun).

Seriously, big beers need more yeast, better temp control and TIME....
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2014, 04:33:40 AM »
I knew you knew, and I knew what you meant.

So you both understood each other and both had an understanding that both of you knew it, I take it.  (Wise a$$ comment for fun).

Seriously, big beers need more yeast, better temp control and TIME....

Perhaps I should have phrased it like Ralph Kramden "you know that I know that you know that I know..."
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2014, 04:50:34 AM »
Haha, for sure...the infinite loop.
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Offline jrhomebrewing

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Re: How Long to keep beer in the fermenter?
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2014, 04:33:20 PM »
Thanks for all the help! I ended up bottling it and everything is going good so far. no bottles have exploded yet haha. hopefully it stays that way!!