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Old 06-16-2009, 04:16 AM   #1
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Default Any downside to a ridiculously fast fermentation?

I brewed up an all-grain IPA yesterday (Sunday) with an OG of 1.062. I used a large starter from a home cultured Sweetwater Brewing Co. yeast. I pitched at around 80F at 3:30pm. Fermentation started fast & by 7:00pm the next day the SG was down to 1.014 which should be close to the final gravity. I've never had such a quick fermentation. Is there any downside to this fermenting out so quickly?

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Old 06-16-2009, 04:17 AM   #2
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Damn, must be some high powered yeast! Shouldn't be any problems I can think of.

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Old 06-16-2009, 04:23 AM   #3
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Not necessarily, but it can be a sign of something else that's wrong.

I usually associate rediculously fast fermentation with high fermentation temperatures. This will give you the fruity off-flavors. I have a witbier recipe that I actually use Chico yeast for and ferment it really high and it always ferments faster than my "regular" batches. I also like to ferment some of my lighter ales with pacman at < 60 degrees to get an especially "clean" taste and that always is slower.

That said, I have had 2 batches that fermented rediculously fast for no real reason and turned out fine.

Honestly, I would guess that, if you pitched at 80F, and your setting is June in Alabama, your wort probably didn't cool down as much as you'd like. If your room temp is 65 and your wort temp is 80, it will take literally a day for 5 gallons of it to cool down to room temp.

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Old 06-16-2009, 04:26 AM   #4
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Sorry,I didn't see that you pitched at 80F, that would be the reason. You might have some off-flavors since it probably jumped another 4-5 degrees during the fermentation. I usually cool to at least 70F before aerating and pitching yeast.

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Old 06-16-2009, 12:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Big10Seaner View Post
Sorry,I didn't see that you pitched at 80F, that would be the reason. You might have some off-flavors since it probably jumped another 4-5 degrees during the fermentation. I usually cool to at least 70F before aerating and pitching yeast.

That's what I thought when you said you pitched at 80F, and it started right away. You probably had a very "hot" fermentation. Yeast love warm temperatures and will go crazy when it's hot. The problem is that it can cause some unpleasant off-flavors, even fusel alcohols. That's why I always cool my wort to the mid-60s before pitching yeast, and then keep it no higher than 65ish.

If you have a stick-on thermometer on the fermenter, that helps monitor the temperature so you can put it in a water batch if it gets too warm. Since this batch is finished, it's too late now, but consider that for next time.
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:03 PM   #6
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Certainly the warm temperature played a big role in the fast fermentation along with a large starter. Of course I tasted the hydrometer sample and there was no hint of fusel alcohol which is a really good thing. (It tasted fantastic, pretty clean for one day of fermentation.) The Sweetwater yeast is normally a very clean fermenting yeast like 1056 so it normally that doesn't produce much for esters or phenols, though if it did produce a few because of warm fermentation, I'd be OK with that. I like some of the British yeast esters and phenols.

I think the Sweetwater yeast is also just a super fast fermenter like Nottingham. The previous batch I fermented with it was close to done it a bit over 2 days. That batch was in the early Spring when the house was cooler (~67F) and I had pitched a smaller starter. So I guess the warmer house temp (~76F) and larger starter explain why it was even faster.

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:11 PM   #7
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Just don't forget... although you may be pretty much at your FG for your beer, you'll still want to keep the beer on that yeast for at least 1 week, preferably two. This will allow the yeast time to clean up after themselves and get rid of some of the unwanted by-products from the fermentation.

I also agree with the guys here regarding temps. 80F will give your yeast a kick in the a$$ to get started and will quickly finish your fermentation. Using a starter as you did is always a good thing and also helps ensure quick fermentations. Another thing to mention is the yeast you are using. You said that you got this from a brewery? Get it straight from the source or did you culture from the bottle? Either way, because this is a brewery's yeast, it may just generally ferment out quickly. That's probably why the brewery uses it. Quick turnaround on products means more money in the pocket of the brewers in the long run.

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:40 PM   #8
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Yeah, I was planning on my usual 3 weeks of fermentation, in this case 2 weeks primary and 1 week secondary for dry hopping.

I do love this yeast and as long as it isn't producing any fusel alcohols, I'm delighted with the fast fermentation.

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:51 PM   #9
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Do you have a stick-on thermometer for the fermenter? Like an aquarium strip thermometer? It'd be great to monitor the temp, and see how high it gets without any off-flavors, especially now that summer is here.

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:56 PM   #10
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I do have a stick on thermometer. It never got above 80F which is where I pitched it. It helps that a fermented it in the bathtub of the spare bathroom with a cool water bath that went about halfway up the bucket.

Since most of the fermentation happened either while I slept or while I was at work, I don't for sure know how high it went, but the times I checked it was in the mid to upper 70s.

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