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Old 04-28-2006, 11:35 AM   #1
alemonkey
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Default Big beer in primary - how long?

How long do you think it's safe to leave a 1.090 beer in primary? I'm currently at 6 days. The krausen has fallen but there's still some airlock activity about every 30 seconds. I'd like to leave it in primary as long as possible to get the gravity down, but I don't want the yeast to autolyze. If I'm thinking correctly, that shouldn't be a problem for quite a while since there should be plenty of sugar left, right?

Or, do I need to worry about the bottom layer of yeast, since it can't get to the beer?

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Old 04-28-2006, 01:18 PM   #2
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From all I've read, and some experiments I've done due to lack of time to deal with beers in the past, I believe you are safe up to about a month in the primary (I've never let one go longer than that myself)... two weeks should be no problem at all IMO

I racked my 1.084 Flanders Sour Ale into secondary last Saturday at one week of primary fermentation, even though I was still getting a bubble every 10 to 15 seconds... it's been in the secondary for 6 days now and is down to one bubble every 30 to 40 seconds and has formed a second yeast cake... (SG was 1.020 at racking)... Oh, and I am using WLP099 and running the fermentation at ~80F for more esters

That being said, the main reason I racked when I did is that I am trying to get as much of the yeast to drop out as possible before I add the Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus to the mix (the Brett yeasts can feed on the spent Saccharomyces and produce unwanted flavors in a Flanders Sour Ale... these flavors are fine/expected in a Lambic however, and there would be no reason to rack off the old yeast in that case) I will probably transfer this one to my tertiary carboy this weekend/ early next week depending on clarity and then add my wild yeast and bacteria and age for 8 to 12 months (tasting after souring for the first time around Christmas)

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Old 05-05-2006, 02:06 AM   #3
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I have a 1.070 beer in the primary now for going on 10 days--still going strong. The last time I racked prematurely, the dang thing stopped fermenting, ending in a high FG, and a sweet, caramely beer. I'd leave it until it has all but stopped. I agree, you can safely leave it up to about 3 weeks before you should start worrying about too many off flavors from the trub or yeast autolysis. I safely left a moderate gravity porter in the fermenter for over 2 weeks with no effect. I also left an AG hefeweizen in the primary for over 2 weeks with no effect.

I guess just sit back, relax, have a homebrew, and watch the bubbles!!

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Old 05-05-2006, 02:31 AM   #4
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Well, it will be 2 weeks on Saturday and it's pretty much stopped. I've been rousing the yeast once a day all this week. I might rack it to secondary this weekend. I could use the yeast on the bottom anyway

Now I'm wondering if I should add some champagne yeast to the secondary to keep it going. I used WLP007, which is fairly attenuative, but I have no idea what the gravity is right now - I'll have to check it when I rack it.

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Old 05-05-2006, 08:45 PM   #5
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When I do Belgians I will leave them in the primary for no more than 24 days (usually get to 21 then transfer). then 14 days in the secondary and bottle (I don't keg my belgian so they have time to get better in the bottle).

Make sure to swirl the carboy every 2 to 3 days once the krausen has fallen to wake up the yeast.

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Old 05-05-2006, 10:52 PM   #6
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After two weeks it should be fine. Champagne yeast shouldn't be necessary. Being that the gravity started at 1.090, it should be around 1.022, give or take a few points either direction. White Labs gives it a 70-80% attenuation, which would put the gravity between 1.018 and 1.027. Check the gravity, but my guess is that it's good to go. Now if I can just get some when it's done...

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Old 05-06-2006, 02:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewsmith
After two weeks it should be fine. Champagne yeast shouldn't be necessary. Being that the gravity started at 1.090, it should be around 1.022, give or take a few points either direction. White Labs gives it a 70-80% attenuation, which would put the gravity between 1.018 and 1.027. Check the gravity, but my guess is that it's good to go. Now if I can just get some when it's done...
Well, I'm going to be in Chatsworth in a couple of weeks....

Won't be ready by then, unfortunately. I'm looking forward to getting some Hop Rod Rye, though
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