General Category > Yeast and Fermentation

Open Fermentation vs Closed Fermentation

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I apologize in advance if this is a duplicate thread..

i've been doing some reading, and it looks like open vs closed fermentation is about as debated as free will vs predestiny. what are your thoughts on open vs. closed fermentation? what are the advantages of one over the other? i've always only done closed.

The reason I'm asking is I just finished a 14 gallon lager.  It's in my refrigerator at 55df.  My keggle-fermenter is a keggle with the lid of a plastic bucket sealing off the hole and an airlock in the middle.  The lid is surrounded with rubber and is then strapped down to the keggle to make it a really tight fit.  My issue is this...I pitched the starter for this beer Saturday night.  I see absolutely no movement in the airlock, but I can smell the fermentation.  My only concern is that there may be a leak somewhere in the seal, though not a very big all.  I'm keeping the lager in this keggle for the duration of the entire fermentation, and not moving to secondary.  After d-rest, and temp drop...I'm thinking I should be fine...but I just kind of want a second (or third or fourth) opinion.

What do you think?

What you are doing is not necessarily considered open fermentation.

But I’d be worried that you pull air into the keggle when you lower the temperature to cold conditioning temps. We recently discussed this as the most likely case for the oxidation of a beer in this thread:


Hey Kaiser...yeah, it's not wide open, it's just not a "tight" seal.  I'm not even going to mess the lid until 8 weeks...then I'm going to remove the lid to transfer it into kegs and purge with CO2.

thanks for the link!

It's my understanding that English style beers traditionally used and benefited from open fermentation.  It seems I even recall something about it affecting the ester profile.  Anybody know anything about that?

lonnie mac:
I don't know if this is too hotly debated really... After all, beer is 10,000 years old and most of that is open fermentation! :)

For me, I have always fermented in a pot with a loose lid sitting on top. I lager this way too... Rarely if ever do I secondary unless it is a real big beer, or a lager... It works for me very well...

In your situation, I really wouldn't worry much... You have already gone to a much greater length that I ever have.


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