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Old 04-06-2013, 03:14 PM   #1
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Default Satelite fermentor?

Does anyone here use a satellite fermentor? I always have, now I have fellow brew buddies telling me they don't work, I'm damned! I've used them for years to check gravity progress. What say you?

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Old 04-06-2013, 03:21 PM   #2
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I say it's not worth it for the following reasons:

1. I seriously doubt that you could pitch the satellite with the exact ratio of yeast as the main batch.
2. I seriously doubt you could provide the exact same amount of oxygen to the satellite as the main batch.
3. I seriously doubt that you could hold the temperature of the satellite exactly the same as the main batch.

That being said, the satellite would provide you with a general idea of what is going on in the main batch. Presumably it's the same wort and the same yeast strain generally treated in the same manner.

I prefer to pull a sample of the main batch and know for sure what is happening, or has happened.

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Old 04-06-2013, 03:25 PM   #3
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The batch in the satellite was pulled after being in the carboy when fermentation started and has been in there since. Ill give you the temp theory though.

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Old 04-06-2013, 03:25 PM   #4
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I've never used one of these but I've thought many times about using a fast ferment, especially for beers/yeasts that are finicky and might end at a somewhat unpredictable gravity.

I wouldn't assume that what's happening in your cylinder is the same thing that's happening in your fermentor.

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Old 04-06-2013, 03:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajwillys
I've never used one of these but I've thought many times about using a fast ferment, especially for beers/yeasts that are finicky and might end at a somewhat unpredictable gravity.

I wouldn't assume that what's happening in your cylinder is the same thing that's happening in your fermentor.
Fast ferment, interesting article.
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Old 04-06-2013, 03:42 PM   #6
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t's been around, and shot down for years.

It a will only tell you WHAT YOUR BEER WILL FINISH AT, NOT when your 5 gallon batch of beer will be done.

It's used to measure attenuation of the yeast, not rate of fermentation.

It will take yeast a lot less time to chew through 12 ounces of wort than it will 5 gallons.....so don't trust that silly thing that someone came up with because they are too afraid to take samples from their beer as being accurate.

If you do take that as "gospel" you more than likely are rushing your beer off the yeast way to soon. You know "bottle Bombs" or suddenly posting an "is my beer in secondary ruined?" thread because now that you moved it to secondary because the "satellite" said it was done, you now have this scary looking growth that you have never seen in your bucket (because the lid is one) that suddenly grew on top of your wort and is ugly as sin....which we of course will tell you to rdwhahb because that is just krausen and it formed because you racked too soon and the yeast is still trying to work to make beer for you.

The idea came from commercial breweries, but you have to realize when they are using in it a 3 or 7 or 10bbl fermentaion setup, that their sattelite looks like this.



And they are drawing off hydro sample out of that bucket just like we do.

And they are STILL going to be taking readings and tasting the REAL beer in the ACTUAL FERMENTER, before making any determination.

It's been adopted by some home brewers, and unfortunately gets perpetuated by people (mostly noobs scared of taking real hydro readings) but it's about as accurate as airlock bubbling, (and you know where I count that in terms of fermentation gauges- slightly below the astrological calender )

Please don't fear taking a real hydro sample of your beer, don't ever go by a satellite grav reading.....Or an airlock....

Just take your grav reading and be done with it. And drink your samples.

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Old 04-06-2013, 03:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoppybrewster View Post
I've used them for years to check gravity progress.
But have you ALSO taken an actual gravity reading of the fermenter and compared the two to see if they're going at the same rate? Or if they've finished at the same gravity?

It seems no one who uses them actually ever has.....
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Old 04-06-2013, 03:47 PM   #8
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After reading all your posts I'm gonna chuck the thing. I have always been afraid of pulling samples. Maybe I shouldn't. Test once a day?



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Old 04-06-2013, 04:30 PM   #9
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You don't need to take a gravity reading every day.

The four main reasons to take readings. 1) To establish whether you hit your intended og mark in the beginning, and to establish when fermentation is complete (This is usually done by taking 2 readings over a 3 day period.

2) To determine ABV of the beer, og-fg x 131....

3) To diagnose whether you have fermenetation or if fermentation is stuck, if you think you have a problem.

4) If you're planning to rack to a secondary (which not every brewer does these days, some opt for an extended month long primary, then bottle or keg.

Fermentation can take anywhere from a week to 2 to actually complete, so unless you don't trust your yeast, regardless of whether you're racking to secondary or not, I recommend not taking the second set of readings til day 10 and day 12 or day 12 and day 14, then racking to secondary. This gives the yeast time to finish their job, and lets the yeast clean up some of the byproducts of fermentation that leads to off flavors.

If you're opting to leave your beer in primary for a month, like I do, then there's no point in taking the final reading til bottling day, to let you know for sure if the beer is finished, and what the abv is.

Otherwise the only time to take one, is if you think there's a problem...people think an airlock is a fermentation gauge for instance, when sometimes it NEVER bubbles, or they think fermentation is done because their airlock stopped, or an airlock in secondary starts bubbling, and they think it's infected (when it could just be because the cat rubbed up against the fermenter, or the ambient temp has warmed up and gas is expanding...THAT'S when you take a reading, to tell you whether anything's wrong or not.

Otherwise, just leave the beer alone, and trust that everything is fine....which 99.99% of the time it is.

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Old 04-06-2013, 04:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
You don't need to take a gravity reading every day.

The four main reasons to take readings. 1) To establish whether you hit your intended og mark in the beginning, and to establish when fermentation is complete (This is usually done by taking 2 readings over a 3 day period.

2) To determine ABV of the beer, og-fg x 131....

3) To diagnose whether you have fermenetation or if fermentation is stuck, if you think you have a problem.

4) If you're planning to rack to a secondary (which not every brewer does these days, some opt for an extended month long primary, then bottle or keg.

Fermentation can take anywhere from a week to 2 to actually complete, so unless you don't trust your yeast, regardless of whether you're racking to secondary or not, I recommend not taking the second set of readings til day 10 and day 12 or day 12 and day 14, then racking to secondary. This gives the yeast time to finish their job, and lets the yeast clean up some of the byproducts of fermentation that leads to off flavors.

If you're opting to leave your beer in primary for a month, like I do, then there's no point in taking the final reading til bottling day, to let you know for sure if the beer is finished, and what the abv is.

Otherwise the only time to take one, is if you think there's a problem...people think an airlock is a fermentation gauge for instance, when sometimes it NEVER bubbles, or they think fermentation is done because their airlock stopped, or an airlock in secondary starts bubbling, and they think it's infected (when it could just be because the cat rubbed up against the fermenter, or the ambient temp has warmed up and gas is expanding...THAT'S when you take a reading, to tell you whether anything's wrong or not.

Otherwise, just leave the beer alone, and trust that everything is fine....which 99.99% of the time it is.






I usually go for a month anyway, usually out of laziness or not having the time to bottle. I'll dry hop at 7 days or so. Used to secondary, usually to free up the carboy for the next batch, but I stopped doing secondary too. Never noticed the real benefit. I think my method is fine, my beers taste right. What do you suggest for dry hopping method for carboys? I use a hop bag but it swells up and is a pain to get out.
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