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Old 08-10-2011, 07:29 PM   #1
paulnb9
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Default How short is too short for IPA fermentation?

I have a Ruination IPA clone in my primary and after the violent fermentation was over, I placed the air lock on. After only nine days of fermentation, there is less than one bubble coming out of the air lock every few minutes. Did this ferment faster than it was supposed to? I was under the impression that an IPA should ferment for at least two weeks. Thanks.

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Old 08-10-2011, 07:35 PM   #2
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What does your hydrometer tell you? Have you checked the gravity? Is it near where the F.G. is supposed to be? Has it held steady for about 3 days?

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Old 08-10-2011, 07:38 PM   #3
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I'd say that you're probably done with primary ferm, but like evanmars said, check your hydrometer and see where it is. Hydrometer is the BEST tool we have on this. If it's close to your FG, maybe let it sit a little longer till you hit target, or rack into a secondary if you like and sit on it for a few weeks(you can dry hop there as well). Tons of options, but very likely nothing to worry about.

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Old 08-10-2011, 07:38 PM   #4
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Wow I came on to ask the same question I brewed a beer I want to enter in a comp. The obvious anwser is when you see the beer begin to clear it would be ready to keg or bottle. I brewed mine last Saturday and the deadline to enter is this Monday so that is nine days from brew to bottle the judging will be the following weekend so it will have about a week in the bottle; OG was 1058 using London ale yeast fermenting at 70F. I need to chill force carb and bottle all in about a week. so I'm hoping to keg it friday chill then force carb Saturday and bottle some on Sunday. I'll let you know how it turns out.
anybody turn out an ipa in a week?

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Old 08-10-2011, 07:39 PM   #5
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9 days is a long fermentation.

Generally, fermentations should be complete within a week. Just because it's a big beer doesn't mean it's going to take longer to ferment, it means you need to pitch more healthy yeast.

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Old 08-10-2011, 07:54 PM   #6
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Just because your beer is finished fermenting, doesn't necessarily mean it is ready. It may be drinkable, but letting it sit for a while after fermentation is complete allows the yeast to continue working, it does more than just make alcohol.
2.5 weeks is pretty young to enter into a competition.

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Old 08-10-2011, 07:55 PM   #7
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Typical ale fermentations last 3-5 days. Yes there are exceptions but 3-5 is typical.

Check your hydrometer reading, that's the only way you'll kno got sure.

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Old 08-10-2011, 08:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evanmars View Post
Just because your beer is finished fermenting, doesn't necessarily mean it is ready. It may be drinkable, but letting it sit for a while after fermentation is complete allows the yeast to continue working, it does more than just make alcohol.
2.5 weeks is pretty young to enter into a competition.
I realize that's the hivemind mentality here, but I disagree with it. You shouldn't need to let it sit for "a while" after terminal gravity has been reached - around 48 hours should be sufficient for all fermentation byproducts to be metabolized.

You might want extra time to drop more yeast out of suspension, which also affects the taste, but that shouldn't be affecting the flavors created by the fermentation other than uncovering them. If your beer isn't tasting good at this point, then it's a recipe design problem or an off-flavor from fermentation. I get that some of these fade with time, but I don't like to treat symptoms, I like to prevent them from occurring and feel that this mentality gives brewers an excuse to overlook their process.

There might be a longer maturation period with recipes containing more ingredients (allowing flavors to meld, etc.), but I believe that everything goes back to pitching enough healthy yeast and controlling your temperatures during fermentation.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:10 PM   #9
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You could be right. I am, after all, just recycling information that I've been given. Taking it on faith, rather than researching it myself. Sorry if what I said is not correct.
With that being said, can you point me to your information showing that 48 hours is sufficient?

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Old 08-10-2011, 08:34 PM   #10
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The common bad boy of fermentation byproducts is diacetyl, commonly described as a butter/butterscotch flavor/aroma. This is yeast strain dependent (some English strains are notorious offenders), and also reliant on the temperature during the initial growth phase of the yeast (why many advocate pitching cooler, then letting your temp gradually rise). Chris White advocates a two day rest on p. 113 of Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation.

Other flavors such as acetaldehyde (green apple) should be completely consumed by the end of fermentation (it is one of the precursors of ethanol production: glucose --> pyruvate --> acetaldehyde --> ethanol), so, assuming complete fermentation, shouldn't be there in the first place. It can also come from oxidation of the pre-existing ethanol back to acetaldehyde, in which case you've probably got bigger issues on your hands from the oxidation. Quick searching doesn't reveal a specific timeline for acetaldehyde metabolism, but considering fermentation happens within a week or so, I can't imagine needing an additional week(s) (as advocated here in argument of cleaning up flavors) to clean up what should be an already minimal amount of chemical.

Just my thoughts. As always, if you're happy (and that includes making the people whom you're serving happy) with the beer you brew, that's the only thing that matters. Let your palate decide for you.

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