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Old 02-04-2008, 02:26 PM   #1
JonnyO
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Default Fermentation time....how long is too long?

This is my second batch, an amber ale. I did a partial boil (about 1.5 gal.) then mixed it with cool water up to the 5-gal. volume. I assumed that mixing would aerate the wort sufficiently. My water was not as cool as I wanted and it took several hours for my wort to cool to about 78 degrees at which time I pitched the yeast. Fermentation started sometime around 12 hours later. That was 8 days ago, and it still appears to be fermenting. From the start, the fermentation hasn't really been rapid (bubbles in the airlock every 10-20 sec), and now I'm getting bubbles every 45 seconds or so. I know the general rule is to just relax, but is there a point in time that I should worry? I don't have a secondary, so I guess I'm planning on using a "3-3" method instead of "1-2-3." I guess I'm just after a little reassurance that a slow, steady fermentation is just fine. Thanks.

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Old 02-04-2008, 02:33 PM   #2
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Hey Jonny. I am still new to this as well, but from what you say I wouldn't be too worried about the activity in your primary. Especially if you plan on leaving it in the primary for three weeks, let it ferment away. Make sure that you use your hydrometer. It will tell you everything about the process your beer has gone through.

I would think that your biggest worry would be some kind of bacteria growing while you were waiting for your brew to cool. I wouldn't worry too much about that either, I waited about 9 hours to pitch on my first brew and it turned out great.

Like I said I am pretty new so maybe one of the more experienced guys could be more specific.

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Old 02-04-2008, 03:05 PM   #3
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8 days isn't excessive. I'd check the gravity, as a slow bubble rate can also just be weather/temperature changes.

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Old 02-04-2008, 04:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonnyO
I don't have a secondary, so I guess I'm planning on using a "3-3" method instead of "1-2-3." I guess I'm just after a little reassurance that a slow, steady fermentation is just fine. Thanks.
3-3 will be perfect. That's plenty of time for the yeast to finish fermenting, and to clean up after themselves as well. There's a school of thought that suggests 3-3 is actually better than 1-2-3 (so says Jamil Zainasheff, home-brew guru), so you have no cause for concern. RDWHAHB!
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:05 PM   #5
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I know this thread's been done for awhile, but don't like to start new, if I don't have to.

Anyway, I have a Belgian strong dark that's been in primary for 16 days (pitched late on 4/17/11), and it's still going pretty steady. Was planning on racking to secondary this Sunday the 8th, but am concerned about how long it's been going.

I read that low temperature can have an effect, so I bumped the heat up a bit in the house this morning. The stick-on fermometer is reading about 68 right now.

My OG was 1.079, and I haven't checked where it's at right now.

Just looking to see if anyone has experienced a fermentation going this long.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 05-03-2011, 03:26 PM   #6
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My first high gravity beer just went into the primary this past Sunday, but from everyone else I've talked to, 3-4 weeks in the primary for a big beer like that is totally ordinary. (and much longer if you aren't planning to secondary)

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Old 05-03-2011, 04:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
I have a Belgian strong dark that's been in primary for 16 days (pitched late on 4/17/11), and it's still going pretty steady. Was planning on racking to secondary this Sunday the 8th, but am concerned about how long it's been going.
Don't worry about a bigger beer like that. They can take a while to ferment. I did a Belgian Strong dark recently that actively bubbled for 21 days. I just let it sit in the primary for 6 weeks and it tasted great going into the bottles.

Just sit back and let the yeasty beasties do their work.
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:14 PM   #8
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Definitely check your gravity a couple of times before you rack it over to secondary and make sure its not still fermenting. What you don't want to do is move it off all of your yeast before its done fermenting, otherwise you can wind up with a stuck fermentation in the secondary container (bright tank). I also wouldn't worry about leaving it on the yeast too long. Any more I don't use a secondary at all and just leave it in the primary, and I've left batches up to 6 months to really let the yeast clean up well and haven't run into any problems yet.

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Old 05-03-2011, 05:27 PM   #9
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I've had a beer take 4 weeks for the SG to stabilize. Don't bottle it 'til it's done.

NRS

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Old 05-03-2011, 07:05 PM   #10
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Thanks so much, guys. Here's a couple questions for some clarification:

Quote:
Originally Posted by erikpete18 View Post
Definitely check your gravity a couple of times before you rack it over to secondary and make sure its not still fermenting.
I haven't done this before, but recall reading about it. I'm assuming that by checking the gravity more than once, you're looking to see if it's dropped further since the last time you checked it. And, ideally, you want it to not have moved since the last check to ensure that fermentation is complete.

Also, I know I should know this, but obviously don't... What is meant by SG, and what is it's significance?

Thanks again!
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