Author Topic: "healthy fermentation" defined.....  (Read 1804 times)

Offline lupy

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"healthy fermentation" defined.....
« on: January 21, 2010, 09:27:55 PM »
Is it as simple as good attentuation through ideal temperatures?
Is it particular to the style of beer and yeast?
Is there and ideal pattern that dertemines a healthy fermentation? Maybe a range of ideals?

I searched, but mostly I found statements like "as long as you have a healthy fermentation" but I found no specific comments as to what constitutes a "healthy fermentation".

FTR I am satisfied that my fermentations have been healthy but they all seem to be slightly different; different start times, longer/shorter activity, less/more vigorous, krausen size.
Mostly curious. Thanks for any help.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: "healthy fermentation" defined.....
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2010, 09:45:27 PM »
Calling it "healthy" would seem to imply yeast health, but I would actually argue that as brewers we don't care about yeast health (unless reculturing) so much as the flavor of the beer. So maybe "appropriate fermentation" would be a better term, which I would define as any fermentation that gives you the results you wanted.
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Offline lupy

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Re: "healthy fermentation" defined.....
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2010, 11:07:34 PM »
any fermentation that gives you the results you wanted.
That was becoming apparant to me as I finished typing my OP.
I guess i was thinking about something like this:
After pitching yeast:
1)  Assuming a properly sealed fermenter; initial signs of activity are desired within 8 - 80hrs. Ideally, signs of activity should occur within 12-24hrs.
2)  Vigorousity(huh?) should produce rapid bubbling (if using an airlock). Ideally, bubbling should occur at a rate of ~1 or more bubbles per second. Fermentation should not be violent or produce excessive blow-off assuming adequate headspace has been included in the fermentation vessel.
3)  .........

OK, sorry. I'm boring myself now. The Mentalist is on and the tricerahops is kickin' in but my quandry remains.
Thanks again.






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Offline majorvices

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Re: "healthy fermentation" defined.....
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2010, 06:24:38 AM »
Calling it "healthy" would seem to imply yeast health, but I would actually argue that as brewers we don't care about yeast health (unless reculturing) so much as the flavor of the beer. So maybe "appropriate fermentation" would be a better term, which I would define as any fermentation that gives you the results you wanted.

Well said!
Keith Y.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: "healthy fermentation" defined.....
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2010, 07:04:25 AM »
Calling it "healthy" would seem to imply yeast health, but I would actually argue that as brewers we don't care about yeast health (unless reculturing) so much as the flavor of the beer. So maybe "appropriate fermentation" would be a better term, which I would define as any fermentation that gives you the results you wanted.

Well said!

+1

...or in other words.

Healthy fermentation is acheived only when the quality of the final product is good.
Ron Price

Offline redbeerman

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Re: "healthy fermentation" defined.....
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2010, 08:06:34 AM »
Yep!
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: "healthy fermentation" defined.....
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2010, 10:48:26 AM »
The taste of the final product is key but I do like to keep track of a few fermentation characteristics which guide me in assessing the fermentation performance and thus the health of the fermentation. Keep in mind that for none of these parameters there is a more is better or less is better.

- lag time measured as time from pitching to Ueberweissen (thin Kraeusen). For lagers I want to see it in 12-36 hrs but I have made many good beers where it was as long as 48 hrs. For ales I like to see it after 6-12 hr. It depends a lot on the amount of yeast pitched, yeast health and pitching temperature. Too short means that the yeast got too aggressive of a start and that I shout pitch at a lower temp next time.

- Average daily gravity drop over the first 7 days (lagers) or first 4 days (ales). I’m happy if my lagers get about 0.8 – 1.0 Plato/day. Ales tend to get twice as much. Too fast means aggressive fermentation and I would lower the fermentation temp next time. Too slow and I get worried about the yeast’s ability to finish the beer properly and or taking a long time to get done. The latter can affect my brewing schedule since I have only one primary fermentation chamber.

- Difference between limit of attenuation (fast ferment test) and final beer attenuation. This is the most valuable quality metric that I’m interested in. In particular lager fermentations can leave a difference between the two that may not be desirable. Besides other factors the difference depends on yeast strain and its health. If the yeast didn’t go as far as I wanted it to I have to take corrective measures which may include extended warm maturation or even the addition of fresh kraeusen beer.

To me a healthy (lager fermentation) takes 12-36 hrs to get going, develops a 4-5 in head  and blows off in a 5 gal carboy filled with 4.5 gal of beer, ferments a Plato each day and takes only a week of maturation to reach the desired attenuation difference.

Not meeting these metrics still makes good beer but I’m much happier if fermentation goes as planned.

Kai

Offline lupy

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Re: "healthy fermentation" defined.....
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2010, 08:21:28 PM »
That seems pretty well defined. Very helpful too.
Excellent work as usual Kai.
Thanks
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: "healthy fermentation" defined.....
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2010, 08:23:18 PM »
I hope I don't make you worry too much.

Kai

Offline lupy

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Re: "healthy fermentation" defined.....
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2010, 08:35:22 PM »
My friends tell me it's "overanalyzing" but it's probably closer to worry.
However, your posts / knowledge (if I fully grasp the content) tend to make me much calmer.
:cheers:
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: "healthy fermentation" defined.....
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2010, 08:49:51 PM »
I hope I don't make you worry too much.

Kai

Hmmm.... But now I worry.  ;)
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