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Old 02-05-2008, 05:19 PM   #1
Rymo780
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Hey Guys and Gals (are there gals?)

I'm brewing some ale and I understand that fermentation is supposed to take about a week. It's now heading into the third week and it's still bubbling away. I put this down to how cold my basement is and thus how cold the mixture was. I've got a stick-on thermometer on my fermenter that read 18 degrees which is the lowest reading, so I don't know if it was lower than that.

Anyways, I understand that the first few days of fermentation is when most of the magic happens and that was when it was the coldest. I've since bought a belt warmer that keeps the temp at 22-23 degrees that I put on last thursday. I'm worried that since the mixture was 18 degrees or under during the first part of the fermentation, that the rest of it is going to take extra long.

Does anyone have any experience with this? What's the longest you've had to wait for primary fermentation? I want my beer now!

Cheers



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Old 02-05-2008, 08:30 PM   #2
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Well, welcome to HBT! And yes, you'll find that there a few women around. One of them is old and not very attractive, though.

Anyway, you'll find that there really isn't a timeline for fermentation. MOST ales will be done in a week or so, but I've had some ferment out in 24 hours, and some last more than 2 weeks. Temperature is a big factor, too.

Most ale yeasts like to be in the 60's F, so your 18 is right in there. 22-23 is a little warm. For specific yeast information, there is usually a guideline on the package telling you exactly what the preferred temperature is.

The only sure way to tell when fermentation is done is to buy and use a hydrometer. Sometimes warming up the fermenter a little causes co2 bubbles to come out of the beer, so it looks like it's fermenting but often times it's actually done by then. If you have a hydrometer, go ahead and take a sample of the beer and test it, and then taste it! I love the tasting part.



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Old 02-05-2008, 08:47 PM   #3
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Also, have patience. Trying to rush beer is a bad idea.

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Old 02-05-2008, 09:01 PM   #4
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I have a 1.100 belgian made on 1/12/08 that I put in primary on a 5 gallon starter... nearly a month later its still chugs once every 3-4 minutes! HAHAH! I was planning on racking this thing to a keg this weekend, but I think I need to wait a few more weeks. Its like it never stops!!! I started it cold, around 62°F, then when I noticed it starting to slow down I moved it away from my cold sliding glass door... its been at 75°F for the past 10 days or so. I'm expecting pretty decent attenuation... if I can hit like 76-78% i'd be thrilled!

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Old 02-06-2008, 03:27 PM   #5
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Thanks,

I took a reading and it's right at 1006. I think I'm going to bottle it this weekend. What kind of stuff can happen if you bottle beer too soon?

Rymo

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Old 02-06-2008, 04:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rymo780
What kind of stuff can happen if you bottle beer too soon?

Rymo
bad things man. botttles can explode if you bottle too early. better to wait it out than to risk it.

that being said, 1.006 seems rather low for a final gravity. are you sure you're correcting your hydrometer reading for temperature? does your recipe have an estimated final gravity?
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Old 02-06-2008, 04:59 PM   #7
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1.082 Doppelbock using WYeast 1007 has been fermenting at 64 degrees for at least 3 weeks. It has been in the secondary for 15 days and is still bubbling 3-4 times a minute! The yeast stayed in suspension for a very long time. If your beer still looks cloudy and tastes rather sweet, you will just have to wait it out. I wouldn't be worried, though. Patience, patience...

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Old 02-06-2008, 06:47 PM   #8
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A year with two months in the primary. Let your hydrometer sample sit overnight & give it a spin to remove the CO2. If it's still 1.006, you should be ok to bottle. You'll still have to let it carbonate and condition for 3-4 weeks.

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One of them is old and not very attractive, though.
Little cold up there to be fishing for complements.
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
1.006 seems rather low for a final gravity. are you sure you're correcting your hydrometer reading for temperature? does your recipe have an estimated final gravity?
It should be at 1006 when it's done according to the can it came in. How do you correct for temperature? Exploding bottles hey? I might have to leave it then.
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:13 PM   #10
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hm, well if 1.006 is what the recipe says then i'm inclined to trust it.

liquids expand when they heat up, which can create a bad reading. the packaging your hydrometer came with should have a temperature at which it's accurate (mine's 67 degrees F) and a chart for how to correct if the temperature is higher or lower. still, unless your beer is really hot or really cold that reading is probably pretty close.

if your hydrometer says 1.006 i'd say you're likely done. if the reading stays the same over a period of three days you're good to bottle!



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