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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Taking the plunge. Open Fermentation. Yes I'm willing to dump a batch.

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Old 03-26-2012, 01:43 AM   #21
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at what point do you intend to cover the beer? After the initial fermentation?

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Old 03-26-2012, 01:55 AM   #22
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Hmm, interesting. I guess there isn't enough oxygen diffusing into the wort so the yeast below the surface must be fermenting despite the open air at the top.
Yeast will often ferment even in the presence of oxygen. It's a competitive adaptation called the Crabtree effect.
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:55 AM   #23
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at what point do you intend to cover the beer? After the initial fermentation?
After fermentation is 70-85% done I was planning on transferring to a carboy to condition for a few days. To update, the fermentation is under way though it was a bit too cold (53F) for an ale. I will most likely move it indoors and probably will put a lid on the kettle.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:17 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by drocu View Post
Hmm, interesting. I guess there isn't enough oxygen diffusing into the wort so the yeast below the surface must be fermenting despite the open air at the top.
The krausen on a fermenting beer typically serves as a nice barrier against excessive oxygen, in an open fermentation setup. Yeast will, however, still ferment in the presence of oxygen, as pointed out by MalFet.

I would say that open fermentation for a homebrewer is more of a novelty than anything else. There is much less chance of infection doing a closed fermentation, and I really think that the primary reason homebrewers do an open ferment is simply to say they did.

Something important to keep in mind is that what works in large breweries with impeccable sanitation and a setup specifically geared towards open fermentations may not work well (at all) for the homebrewer. If you are making good clean brews in carboys or conicals, I have trouble understanding why anyone would take on a practice that risks infection and wasted batches.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:43 AM   #25
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My uncle used to open ferment german lagers in his basement, in square terra cotta fermenters , covered with cheesecloth, set directly on the concrete floor. I don't think he had any issues with infection, but that's way back..a bit fuzzy.

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Old 03-26-2012, 05:58 AM   #26
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I either use sanitized foil on top of my containers (like for a yeast starter) or drilled silicone bungs with a flap that covers the holes. Works well, although I have noticed dead fruit flies floating in a couple of batches, which could lead to infection under the right circumstances.

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Old 03-26-2012, 10:42 AM   #27
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After fermentation is 70-85% done I was planning on transferring to a carboy to condition for a few days. To update, the fermentation is under way though it was a bit too cold (53F) for an ale. I will most likely move it indoors and probably will put a lid on the kettle.
Well good luck!
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:50 AM   #28
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At Im Fuchschen brewery in Dusseldorf, fermentation is in completely open concrete fermenters. After 3 days of very active fermentation, they transfer to brighting tanks for another 7 days. They make altbier there (mmm, delicious altbier!).

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Old 03-26-2012, 12:20 PM   #29
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That's a cool picture. I'm pretty intrigued by this. Anyone that know about yeast knows they behave differently in different pressure environments. In fact, there are several posts on these boards about beer made under high pressure. I think the risk of infection is pretty low and the potential loss of a batch is fairly inconsequential for a homebrewer.

Congrats on having the brass to try this, OP. I look forward to your results and trying it myself.

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Old 03-27-2012, 04:12 AM   #30
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That's a cool picture. I'm pretty intrigued by this. Anyone that know about yeast knows they behave differently in different pressure environments. In fact, there are several posts on these boards about beer made under high pressure. I think the risk of infection is pretty low and the potential loss of a batch is fairly inconsequential for a homebrewer.

Congrats on having the brass to try this, OP. I look forward to your results and trying it myself.
Thanks I will keep let the community know how this beer turns out and if i get any infection off flavors. So far so good, I'm using wlp002 and despite only reaching 50F today there was still bubbling krausen. I'm tempted to move it indoors though, as of right now, it's 35F degrees outside. Way to cold for even a lager. Oh well RDWHAHB.
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