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Old 12-30-2008, 02:08 PM   #1
xxdcmast
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Default First attempt question on primary fermentation

I received a homebrewing kit for christmas and last sunday I broke it open and decided to start my first batch. Before doing anything though I read the directions that came with the kit/ingredients and watched a few of the homebrew videos that were available on youtube for an idea of what I was doing, what to look for, etc.

The kit that I received had 2 3.3 cans of amber malt, 1 lb crystal grains, 1 oz cascade hops, and 2 packets of yeast.

I completed the boil and put the wort into my primary fermenter. Now in the directions that I had said to use two packets of yeast so I did. I then capped my primary bucket and put the air lock in. I placed the container in a corner near my baseboard heat. Temp of the room is usually around 62 degree or so.

Basically now it has been about 3 days where the wort is fermenting. The first few days I could see the airlock bubbling pretty quickly however yesterday and this morning I havent seen any activity. I am due to transfer it to the primary fermenter thursday morning but the lack of airlock activity is kind of worrying me.

Did I do something wrong? Was I not supposed to use 2 packs of yeast?

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Old 12-30-2008, 02:30 PM   #2
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A lack of airlock activity doesn't mean anything. Sure we all get a warm feeling when we do hear the airlock but really doesn't have to make a noise to be fermenting. A gravity reading is the only sure fire method of knowing how fermentation has gone. Make sure you take a reading before you transfer to your secondary.

Also, you might want to opt for more time in the primary. Many skip the secondary all together and just let the beer sit on the yeast cake for ~3+ weeks. Not that there is anything wrong with using your secondary. It is just another option to consider...unless you have plans for another beer and need the primary sooner than later.

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Old 12-30-2008, 02:33 PM   #3
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No worries...pitching 2 packages of yeast isn't a problem, you're fermentation probably got going really quickly and is done now. But the only way to know for sure that it is done is with a hydrometer, which hopefully came with your kit (same gravity in the 1.008-1.016 range depending on style for 3 consecutive days). For your first batch I say follow the recipe (it will make really good beer), but in the future I think you'll find (I did) that leaving the beer in the primary for 2-4 weeks makes even better beer without the need for a secondary.

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Old 12-30-2008, 02:34 PM   #4
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I'm pretty sure you mean you are due to transfer to the secondary Thursday

I wouldn't transfer after such a short time in primary. If you are positive that you want to use a secondary fermenter (search the forums for the debates on using a secondary fermenter at all), it seems that many people on this site keep the beer in the primary for 2-3 weeks then transfer to secondary for another 2 or so weeks. You don't want to transfer after such a short amount of time in primary as the yeast hasn't had a chance to fully complete its job.

Also, don't use airlock activity as your gauge of fermentation activity, the only true way to test this is by taking a (SANITIZED) sample and using your hydrometer. The airlock is only there to release CO2 and not allow oxygen in.

To me, doesn't seem like you have done anything "wrong" yet.

Although I am a nooB too, hope this is helpful. Congrats on your soon-to-be new obsession!

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Old 12-30-2008, 02:37 PM   #5
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Like chef and eve's said get outta the habit of thinking airlock bubbling MEANS anything...

And read this;

http://blogs.homebrewtalk.com/Revvy/...before_action/

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Old 12-30-2008, 02:54 PM   #6
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I was under the impression that leaving the beer in the primary for too long will lead to the beer picking up some undesirable flavors from the yeast?

Also wont transferring to the secondary fermenter result in a cleaner clearer beer?

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Old 12-30-2008, 03:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxdcmast View Post
I was under the impression that leaving the beer in the primary for too long will lead to the beer picking up some undesirable flavors from the yeast?

Also wont transferring to the secondary fermenter result in a cleaner clearer beer?
Lots of folks around here don't use secondaries, and just leave the beer in primary for at least 3-4 weeks. And they've made a lot more beer than I have, so I tend to believe them.

Heck, I haven't secondaried any of my beers, and all of them have been clear as a bell with sufficient time in primary/bottles. Well, except for the hefe, which is actually clearer than expected, too.
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:05 PM   #8
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Leaving it in the primary for over 6 months might give you undesirable flavors, 3 weeks or more will not (Unless you have it at 90 degrees or something).

The beer will clear at the same rate in primary or secondary, as long as you are not stirring it or anything it doesn't really matter what the beer is sitting on while it drops sediment, you just have to be more careful when transferring to the bottling bucket.

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Old 12-30-2008, 03:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxdcmast View Post
I was under the impression that leaving the beer in the primary for too long will lead to the beer picking up some undesirable flavors from the yeast?

Also wont transferring to the secondary fermenter result in a cleaner clearer beer?
You were under the wrong impression to a point...up to about 2 months on a healthy yeast cakes is fine...in fact it is actually beneficial for the beer to leave it on the cake for a couple weeks after fermentation is complete.

Read these posts and the threads they were in...we shoot down a lot of myths in this place...

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/974830-post22.html

Read this http://www.homebrewtalk.com/793183-post70.html
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