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Old 01-26-2013, 04:32 PM   #1
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Default Various fermentation questions

Hi,

I have used dry yeast in the past, but I'm currently brewing my first batch with liquid yeast (Wyeast 3787), a starter and a blow off tube. It's on day 8 today, and I switched out the blow off tube for an airlock this morning. It is still bubbling the airlock 5-6 times a minute. Based on other posts, I'm assuming the fermentation should pretty much complete in the next couple of days. My questions are:

1) I was planning to rack it to the secondary after two weeks - is that too soon for a beer that ferments this long?

2) I have a son-of-a-fermentation chiller that I use, and I've been fermenting this batch at 65 degrees. Is it best to try and keep the primary around the same temperature the entire time? What about the secondary - still try to keep it around the same or does it really matter as long as it stays within an acceptable range?

3) The blow off jar had a layer of light colored sediment that looked an awful lot like my starter. Out of curiosity, do you lose yeast through the blow off tube or was that just trub?

Thanks for the information!

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Old 01-26-2013, 05:02 PM   #2
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3787 is a great yeast. It ferments at a temperature range of 64 to 78 degrees so you are on the low side so it may take a little longer to do its job. Bubbles in the air lock are not necessarily a sign of fermentation. You have to use your hydrometer to tell you when your fermentation is complete. Do not transfer to secondary until you are sure fermentation is complete. Take gravity readings 3 days in a row and if they are all the same fermentation has stopped. I would also expect that you would be somewhere near your expected gravity. If not you may have a stuck fermentation. If it is at or near your expected gravity then go ahead and transfer to secondary or you can just leave it in primary. Its entirely up to you. I usually leave my beers in primary for 3 to 4 weeks and skip secondary all together. The sediment in your blow off is yeast. That is completely normal. Secondary temperature is subject to interpretation. I usually will just do my secondary at the same temp as the primary. Some people cold crash their secondary. Some will let their beer condition at room temp for a few weeks and then cold crash it. Many of the brewerys in Belgium do 2-4 weeks secondarys at 32 degrees, then warm it up and bottle it.

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Old 01-26-2013, 05:58 PM   #3
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that layer in your blow off is yeast If it was kept sanitary you can step it up into another starter if you choose

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Old 01-26-2013, 06:50 PM   #4
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You're going to need to heat that fermentation up for 3787 to finish. Generally 70-75 to get the last 10 points or so. Search on here and you will see the perils of not doing that, including gushers and bottle grenades due to continued slow or restarted fermentation.
No need to bother with secondary, but that's up to you.

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Old 01-26-2013, 08:05 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice on warming up the 3787; I've just read some of the posts in here about doing that. I pulled the ice jug out and left the door off the ice section, so the fan is pulling in outside air now. My chiller is in the mechanical room in the basement, which runs warmer than the rest of the basement, but I put my little garage heater in there too. I'm going to try to hold the room temperature in the low 70's.

As I mentioned when I posted this, I just took the blow off tube off today and put a regular airlock on. Even though it's been going for over a week now, any ideas on how active the 3787 might get at warmer temps? I can always put the blow off tube back on.

phuff7129, If it's not fermentation, what causes the airlock to bubble steadily? I always figured it was the fermentation process creating carbon dioxide. I know that fermentation can be occurring even if there aren't any signs of it, but I always figured bubbling indicated active fermentation.

Thanks!

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Old 01-26-2013, 08:20 PM   #6
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3787 is a great yeast. You are good warming it some. It usually starts off fast but takes its time to finish. No need to rack to a secondary. i usually just leave mine in the primary. Give it plenty of time to make sure it is fully done. 3787 can fool you and continue to very slowly tick off the last few points.


To answer you question about airlock bubbling. All it shows is that the pressure inside the fermenter is higher than outside. It can be caused by a temperature or pressure change. Yes fermentation does produce co2 and can cause the airlock to bubble but it is not a true fermentation indicator.

Look at this video and tell me is this fermention is done yet.....

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Old 01-27-2013, 02:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J2W2
Thanks for the advice on warming up the 3787; I've just read some of the posts in here about doing that. I pulled the ice jug out and left the door off the ice section, so the fan is pulling in outside air now. My chiller is in the mechanical room in the basement, which runs warmer than the rest of the basement, but I put my little garage heater in there too. I'm going to try to hold the room temperature in the low 70's.

As I mentioned when I posted this, I just took the blow off tube off today and put a regular airlock on. Even though it's been going for over a week now, any ideas on how active the 3787 might get at warmer temps? I can always put the blow off tube back on.

phuff7129, If it's not fermentation, what causes the airlock to bubble steadily? I always figured it was the fermentation process creating carbon dioxide. I know that fermentation can be occurring even if there aren't any signs of it, but I always figured bubbling indicated active fermentation.

Thanks!
I didn't say it wasn't fermentation. I said that bubbles in the airlock are not always a good indicator of fermentation or lack of fermentation. It still could be fermentation. The bubbles could just be co2 being released by the already fermented beer but that is just a guess. Let your hydrometer tell you what your fermentation is doing. Then you are not guessing.
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