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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Moving to school in one week, but I have a beer in the primary!!
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:46 PM   #1
nl724
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Default Moving to school in one week, but I have a beer in the primary!!

Okay guys...before commenting understand that I kind of knew I was getting myself into this before hand, but I needed to make one more brew before heading back to school for the summer!

Okay...so I brewed an Ordinary bitter a week ago from this last Saturday and due to good fermentation temps and a lack of a yeast starter this brew is still fermenting. The airlock has been bubbling once every 40 seconds or so (I don't like to take hydro samples for fear of oxidizing the brew). I usually like to secondary my brews at least one week before bottling, but that is not going to be possible since I am leaving for Purdue Saturday morning!!

If it were you, would you...
1. Bottle straight from the primary
2. Keep it in the primary until fermentation completes, secondary the beer for the few days available, and then bottle it Friday night before you leave.
3. Keep it in the primary until fermentation completes, then secondary the brew until the fourth of July when you can come home to bottle it.

Any suggestions????

I spent a good amount of effort trying to make this beer as authentic as possible by using a good base malt (Crisp MO) and a nice liquid yeast (WLP002 English Ale Yeast, I think??), so I would not like ruin it by trying to speed up the process.

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Old 06-02-2008, 02:54 PM   #2
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I would leave it for the entire time between now and July 4th on the yeast cake, then bottle it that weekend...You will have an amazingly clear, crisp and clean tasting beer, becasue once fermentation is complete, the yeast will go back and clean up after themselves.

I've started keeping all my beers on the yeast for a month, and MY GOD how they have improved...You don't need a secondary, because the yeast does all the work!!!

If you've worked hard on this beer, doing that will really put it over the edge...

(and if any n00b brings up the Dreaded Autolysis Bugaboo, I simply refer you to the final paragraph on the topic in Palmer's How to Brew)

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As a final note on this subject, I should mention that by brewing with healthy yeast in a well-prepared wort, many experienced brewers, myself included, have been able to leave a beer in the primary fermenter for several months without any evidence of autolysis.
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:26 PM   #3
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Go with #3. It's not going to hurt the beer any and you'll be much happier with the results than you would if you bottled it too soon.

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Old 06-02-2008, 03:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nl724 View Post
(I don't like to take hydro samples for fear of oxidizing the brew)
I had to stop reading right there. You're not going to hurt the beer by taking hydro readings, or oxidize it to any perceivable extent. Fermentation is not 'over' in any set time period. Fermentation is complete when your hydro readings are stable several days in a row.
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:58 PM   #5
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Ordinary Bitter doesn't need a lot of aging (assuming you made it to style guidelines for OG) so if fermentation is complete you could bottle friday. It won't be as clear and you'll get more sediment in the bottles but it will be fine. But ONLY if fermentation is complete and you can only know this by taking hydrometer readings (+1 to what blacklab said).

All that said if it were me I'd just leave it in primary until you get back. If you will have the time, dry hop it for a week before bottling.

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Old 06-02-2008, 04:25 PM   #6
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As far as Oxidizing it. There is a layer of CO2 protecting your beer. What do you think all those bubbles are. Oxygen will not get in while taking your hydro sample.

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Old 06-02-2008, 04:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nl724 View Post
The airlock has been bubbling once every 40 seconds or so (I don't like to take hydro samples for fear of oxidizing the brew).
If that were a problem then WHY would all the books, like Papazian's, & Palmer, etc....and every recipe have a OG/FG mentioned, and every forum talk about using hydrometers??? If that were a danger then it wouldn't be so highly recommended....

Since there's so many things mentioned in books NOT to do...If it were harmful, don't you think it would be mentioned among them?
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:39 PM   #8
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Ok, this may no be the "right" answer...but it's mine:

If it were me, I'd bottle on Friday as long as the hyrometer readings were steady for the past 3 days. I like beer...I like it a lot, and I don't necessarily need it to be "perfect" before I drinks it . I'd rather have my own beer to drink for my first few weeks of school. Now if it were a bigger beer that needed to condition a while, I would definitely leave it until you get back from school.

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Old 06-02-2008, 05:47 PM   #9
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4. Leave it in the primary & bottle on the 4th. Since it's an Ordinary Bitter, you would be able to drink it at that point without waiting for carbonation.

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Old 06-02-2008, 05:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
If that were a problem then WHY would all the books, like Papazian's, & Palmer, etc....and every recipe have a OG/FG mentioned, and every forum talk about using hydrometers??? If that were a danger then it wouldn't be so highly recommended....

Since there's so many things mentioned in books NOT to do...If it were harmful, don't you think it would be mentioned among them?
Yeah I guess...I just figured that the less you expose the wort to open air the better off you are...so If I can avoid it, why check using a hydrometer for three days in a row?
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