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Old 03-15-2013, 02:41 AM   #1
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Default in the fermenter for almost 3 weeks

New at homebrewing. I have a Nut Brown Ale in the primary fermenter. It's been in for 19 days. Took a gravity reading today and it looks like it's around 1.018. My OG was right on at 1.050. I rehydrated the yeast on brew day following the direction from Joys of Homebrewing book. This was an extract kit with specialty grains. The fermentation began at 68-70 degrees, then began cooling it to 64 degrees after 24 hours. The fermentation was very steady, never required a blow off hose. The Krausen never really formed any higher than 2 inches before settling down. There was still visible activity from the airlock for about 4 days. I felt like I oxygenated pretty well after pitching yeast. Just wondering if it's done or should I do anything to help it finish more. Any advice would be much appreciated. I do enjoy brewing and want to make some decent beer. My first two left much to be desired. Thanks.

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Old 03-15-2013, 02:46 AM   #2
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You can agitate your fermenter and raise it up to 70 degrees. Your gravity may drop a couple more points, but it's likely done. Bottle as per the instructions. After a few weeks of bottle conditioning you should have a couple cases of tasty beer.

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Old 03-15-2013, 03:25 AM   #3
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You can agitate your fermenter and raise it up to 70 degrees. Your gravity may drop a couple more points, but it's likely done.
Bottle as per the instructions. After a few weeks of bottle conditioning you should have a couple cases of tasty beer.
At this point, I would not "agitate" it. If you do that, you'll have to wait longer for things to settle out, the yeast cake won't be very compact anymore, and your beer probably won't be as clear. If you've messed with the lid recently, agitation can also lead to oxygenation. Not good.

Let it sit another couple of days and take a hydro reading. If it's still 1.018, head to the bottling bucket, prime it and bottle.
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:56 AM   #4
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If you are doing extract you may be completely finished.

If you mean carboy by "primary" you are probably OK for a little while.

If you let it sit too long there is a possibility of autolysis - which is a sort of bitter protein like flavor setting in. Read up on it.

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Old 03-15-2013, 04:00 AM   #5
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If you've messed with the lid recently, agitation can also lead to oxygenation. Not good.
You don't need to worry about oxidation. There would be a thick layer of co2 in there protecting your beer. In this case, "agitation" doesn't mean shaking the carboy vigorously (e.g. when one is trying aerate), it means taking a sanitized spoon and gently swirling the yeast back into suspension.

It might get you another point or two, but I would say your beer is done. It is not uncommon for extract beers to crap out around the 1.020 mark. And with a Brown Ale, you will want a little bit of residual sweetness anyway. I'd say give it a week to settle out and bottle per the instructions.

I am more interested to hear what your first two beers were and what they left to be desired.

Cheers!
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:42 PM   #6
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kmos- the first beer i did was an all extract dark ale. Fermented well. Reached a FG of 1.01 after about 10 days. I let it ferment with a high temp (76-78 F), so I believe there were some off flavors. It was drinkable, but not something I could say was good. The 2nd was a called Brickwarmer Red from Northern Brewer. I didn't let this one sit in the primary long enough. I put in a secondary after a week because I thought the primary stage was done and I should secondary it at that point. This one was a lesson learned brew. It didn't reach FG, and ended up tasting really bad. I looked for some advice after that one and got feedback that I should leave it in the primary for about 3 weeks.

Just another question I thought of- When using adjuncts like orange peel, lemongrass.., Do you let those sit in the fermenter with the beer as it goes thru fermentation or are those meant to be thrown in the last 5-15 min of the boil, then strained out as you transfer? Thanks everyone for the feedback!

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Old 03-15-2013, 02:58 PM   #7
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Don't agitate or stir it- if you really want to, you could give it a very gentle swirl and bring it someplace warmer.

It sounds done to me, but getting it a little warmer would ensure that it's done.

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Old 03-15-2013, 03:02 PM   #8
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What kind of yeast did you use and what was the date on it ?

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Old 03-15-2013, 03:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dynachrome View Post
If you are doing extract you may be completely finished.

If you mean carboy by "primary" you are probably OK for a little while.

If you let it sit too long there is a possibility of autolysis - which is a sort of bitter protein like flavor setting in. Read up on it.
Just wondering if you've ever tasted autolysis flavors in your beer? I have read about it in the older brewing books but most folks seem to consider it a boogie man now. I have left brews in the primary on the yeast cake for months and never noticed any I'll effects, but would be really interested in first hand accounts of those rubbery meaty off flavors! Don't want to hijack the OP's post, but I don't want to scare him with something he doesn't have to worry about either.

And to the OP--welcome to your new addiction! Some extracts have a higher amount of non fermentables that will result in higher final gravities. Its like all grain brewers mashing at higher temps. I would be willing to bet that after 3 weeks you are probably done. Bottle and enjoy. This was one of the main reasons I made the jump to partial mash using Deathbrewer's method (look up easy partial mash brewing). I could do the mini mash at low temps, producing a highly fermentable wort that made up for the extract. You could also add some simple sugars to your recipes that will boost ABV and thin it a little. I like using unrefined sugars with some flavor left like piloncillo, demerrera, or palm sugars. Any ethnic grocery store should have something interesting. Good luck and let us know how she tastes!
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:03 PM   #10
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It was Lallemand/Danstar WINDSOR English Ale dry brewing yeast. I can't recall the date on it. On my first 2 brews, I pitched dry ale yeast and had vigorous fermentations with those. This one, I rehydrated and didn't get near the activity. Is this something that happens often?

I just bought a partial mash kit and I'm really pumped about trying this method. The stuff I have read, and videos I've watched state that the beer comes out better by doing all grain or partial grain brewing.

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