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Old 04-09-2014, 04:44 AM   #1
rhythm
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Default fermentation completed too quickly?

I recently brewed my first batch of beer. It's a 1-gallon kit from NB (Irish Red Ale).

Within 24 hours, it appeared fermentation had begun. (Thick layer on top with lots of bubbles) Great! However, after only another 24 hours it looked like fermentation was already nearly completed (thick layer gone, just a thin layer of small bubbles left on top, and a layer of trub visible at the bottom.) Does this seem too fast for the krausen to have come and gone? Just wondering...

Thank you,
Greg

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Old 04-09-2014, 05:03 AM   #2
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Fermentation in a one gallon brew can go fairly fast. Type of yeast and the temperature of the wort are factors also. As long as the wort temperature was in the optimal range for the yeast you have nothing to worry about.

The yeast have most likely gone into the cleanup phase if signs of active fermentation aren't evident. Off flavors are byproducts of fermentation. The yeast take care of this in the days following the active fermentation.

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Old 04-09-2014, 05:40 AM   #3
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I am new to brewing myself but I have extensively researched this question and the unequivocal best answer is that yeast is a living thing and will behave differently each time you use it. The speed of fermentation varies. What does not change is the fact that you can only be sure the fermentation has stopped when your specific gravity stabilizes to a specific value (depending on the beer) over several readings a few days apart. When it stops bubbling it may still be going, you can only ever be sure by checking the SG.


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Old 04-09-2014, 02:26 PM   #4
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Hi Rhythm!

Just wanted to pitch in since I'm a first time brewer and am brewing the exact same kit at the moment. I got it into the carboy Saturday afternoon, and the next day I had a very active fermentation. By Monday the entire krausen had subsided (or at least a very significant portion). That pretty much follows your same timeline.

As flars said, it could simply be the nature of a 1 gallon kit. Or maybe both of us pitched our yeast at too high a temp!

Would love to hear later how your brew is progressing. Cheers

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Old 04-09-2014, 04:46 PM   #5
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What was the yeast and what temperature did you ferment at?

I've noticed Safeale S-04 seems to ferment quite quickly for me, even when held at temperatures in the low 60's. It looks done after just 3 days. The first time it happened, I thought I'd fermented too hot and ruined my beer, but apparently, that's just a property of that particular strain of yeast.

That said, it is still important to keep your fermentation temperatures down in the low-to-mid 60's (wort temperature, not ambient).

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Old 04-09-2014, 08:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBart View Post
Hi Rhythm!

... Or maybe both of us pitched our yeast at too high a temp!
Kombat is correct.

pitched okay, but if the wort was 75°F... ???

Do your best to ferment in the ideal range for your yeast. Ambient air temps are NOT the same as wort temps - yeast activity will raise the temp inside the fermenter by 10° easily. I've measured it myself on my beers.
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Old 04-09-2014, 09:07 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the replies. The yeast was Danstar Nottingham Ale Yeast. The kit instructed that 65-75 degrees F is a good range for the yeast, but if that's wort temp instead of ambient temp then I may have been pushing it a bit. I've got the carboy in a closet where it's been mid to high 60s, and may have even hit 70 at times.

Perhaps a 'stick-on' thermometer that can be applied to the outside of the carboy would be in order next time, so I have a better idea of the actual wort temperature?

Thanks,
Greg

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Old 04-09-2014, 09:17 PM   #8
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did you add a whole 11g packet to 1 gallon? if so, no wonder your fermentation was over so quickly: that's a whole lot (as in too much) yeast for 1 gallon.

yes, a stick-on LCD thermo is a good idea.

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Old 04-09-2014, 09:22 PM   #9
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I brewed a lot of 1 gallon batches when I started brewing last fall (25+) and 1-3 days for active fermentation is about right for anything under 1.060 or so. Especially if you used the whole pack which is about enough for 3+ gallons of wort.

I recently switched to 5 gallon batches and even there, with a good yeast starter active fermentation last about 4-5 days. That doesn't mean it's done.

One great investment ($50-60) for 1 gallon brewers is a refractometer. It lets you take a gravity reading using just a drop or 2 instead of a cup or more. You have to do a little math once the wort is fermenting and hae to know the original gravity, but it's a slick tool for those small batches.

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Old 04-09-2014, 10:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetcell View Post
did you add a whole 11g packet to 1 gallon? if so, no wonder your fermentation was over so quickly: that's a whole lot (as in too much) yeast for 1 gallon.
No, the instructions said to use half of the pack. I didn't measure it out, I estimated. So it's possible I used a bit more than half. In this case though, even half a pack may have been a bit much, because after the boil I ended up with well less than a gallon of wort, and I didn't top it off with more water afterward (I wasn't sure if this would be OK). So I've only got ~3/4 of a gallon in the carboy.

-Greg
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