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Old 06-25-2010, 03:31 PM   #1
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Default Honey Wheat Beer

I am in primary with a honey wheat beer right now and it has been in primary for 12 days now. I am concerned that it is in primary for too long. I don't want to keep the beer in the same vessel as the spent yeasts in order to avoid producing off flavors. The problem is that the fermentation is still HIGHLY active even after 12 days, with bubbles in the airlock every 7-8 seconds. Should I wait it out more until the fermentation dies out or should I move to secondary to isolate the beer from the spent yeasts? I know many people have different opinions on this and I would just like to hear what everyone has to say. Thanks.

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Old 06-25-2010, 03:35 PM   #2
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I am in primary with a honey wheat beer right now and it has been in primary for 12 days now. I am concerned that it is in primary for too long. I don't want to keep the beer in the same vessel as the spent yeasts in order to avoid producing off flavors. The problem is that the fermentation is still HIGHLY active even after 12 days, with bubbles in the airlock every 7-8 seconds. Should I wait it out more until the fermentation dies out or should I move to secondary to isolate the beer from the spent yeasts? I know many people have different opinions on this and I would just like to hear what everyone has to say. Thanks.
IMO, your logic is backwards, taking the beer off of the "spent yeasties" too early can give you off flavors. You need to give the beer and the yeast plenty of time together. I often go 3-6 weeks in primary and my beers are better then they have ever been. I only use secondary fermenters for bulk aging of barley wines and other strong beers.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:18 PM   #3
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Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.

Also, you could try waiting.

A lot of us only use primary ferments, and will leave the beer in the carboy for 3 weeks or more. 12 days is nothing. Don't worry about it.

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Old 06-25-2010, 05:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by HokieHomeBrew View Post
I am in primary with a honey wheat beer right now and it has been in primary for 12 days now. I am concerned that it is in primary for too long. I don't want to keep the beer in the same vessel as the spent yeasts in order to avoid producing off flavors. The problem is that the fermentation is still HIGHLY active even after 12 days, with bubbles in the airlock every 7-8 seconds. Should I wait it out more until the fermentation dies out or should I move to secondary to isolate the beer from the spent yeasts? I know many people have different opinions on this and I would just like to hear what everyone has to say. Thanks.
You have nothing to worry about. 12 days is not a big deal. Keep it in the primary for three weeks, then bottle or keg it. No need to age it either. Wheat beers are better when they're drank young.
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:26 PM   #5
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Everything that's been said before for sure! Also, bubbles in your airlock are not a reliable way to tell if fermentation is done. Let it sit for a week or so, then take a hydrometer reading, 3 days after that, take another reading (don't forget to correct for temp!). If they're the same, then you know that fermentation is done!

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Old 06-25-2010, 06:42 PM   #6
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One other thing to note is if you used real honey or honey malt. Real honey takes FOREVER to ferment. I did that in one of my first beers and bottled too early. They all overcarbonated, luckily none of them blew up.

Side note: I'm a Hokie as well, graduated in '07. Blacksburg is the greatest place in the world

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Old 06-25-2010, 11:11 PM   #7
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Leave it for a while. Also hopefully you didn't use Honey and expect a Honey taste. It will ALL ferment out and leave the beer drier.

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Old 07-04-2010, 02:43 AM   #8
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One thing to keep in mind is that almost no one has ever posted a problem stemming from leaving their beer too long in primary. It is very hard to do. As posted before me........wait.

Mistakes are made racking beer too SOON, not too late.

I haven't been brewing all that long, but have had more than one batch require more than two weeks in the primary fermentor.

Pez.

EDIT - after re-reading this thread, I realized one of my beers longest in primary was in fact a honey wheat (Northern Brewer) that i added another whole pound of honey at flameout for a total of two pounds. Took almost three weeks in primary! I had also added 1 oz of orange peel, and the beer was good, but a bit "busy" for my taste. The honey flavor was spot on and just what I wanted. Try adding honey at flamout for the best possible aroma/flavor retention. I quickly learned that simple is best, and too many flavors muck things up.

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Old 07-10-2010, 12:29 AM   #9
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My wheat beers (especially anything with honey) all went nuts and have taken extended primary fermentation just short of 3 weeks to finish. Just my 2 cents but I'm a new brewer.

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Old 07-15-2010, 08:55 PM   #10
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I'm just now starting to do month-long primaries - and 3 week-long primaries for beers that need to be racked onto fruit or dryhopped. Do a quick search and you might be swayed by some of the arguments that longer is better (autolysis isn't really as huge a risk as some make it out to be). $20+ per extra fermenter frees up your pipeline a bit, so longer fermentation periods don't necessarily matter

That being said: AWESOME NAME! I'm a proud 2005 Hokie. Like Steelers fans, Hokies happen to be everywhere you look.

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