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Old 07-30-2013, 02:50 PM   #1
henchman24
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I brewed my first batch on the 22nd of July. It was just a simple ESB extract kit from Midwest. I did a full boil (or somewhat close to it as I ended up with a tad under 5 gallons) and a yeast starter. Before pitching the yeast the SG was at 1.050. The recipe calls for 1.042-1.046, I assume mine was higher because it was more condensed, does that sound right?

For my fermenting I have a fridge with a controller that has kept temps around 68 degrees in the fridge (the temp on the fermenter went to as high as ~72-74, I now know I have to lower the fridge temp more to keep it from getting so high). It took about 24 hours for the airlock to show any activity. After that it was quite vigorous (had to re-fill the airlock a couple times, it never went dry though) for ~2 days and then the bubbles pretty much stopped. I recalled reading in Palmer's book that fermenting could be done in as little as 48 hours, so I decided to check the gravity and it came out to 1.015. The krausen was there mostly a tan color and about an inch deep. The gravity seemed a bit high to me (recipe calls for 1.010-1.012), and after some reading on here I decided to leave it in the primary. Well after a day it took off again, this time staying around ~68 according to the fermenter. By yesterday (1 week of fermenting time) it had slowed to about 1 bubble every 30 seconds on the airlock, so I decided to check my gravity again. This time it read 1.012, which is in the range of the recipe, but the krausen looked better this time. It was a little bit deeper of a brown color, smelled like I think beer should, and was about 3/4" deep. The airlock hasn't bubbled since I opened it this last time, but I know that is an inaccurate way to look at fermentation. I'm going to take another reading today to see if gravity stays the same, and tomorrow day as well.

So herein lies my questions:

Should I leave the beer in the primary fermenter for another 5-7 days even if the gravity stabilizes?

Should I even worry about using the secondary and just keep it in the primary for 2-3 more weeks? (kegging if that makes a difference and for my first batch, not super worried about clarity... I just want good beer)



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Old 07-30-2013, 03:39 PM   #2
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Sound like your on the right track. If you are reading 1.012 your done. I would move it to a secondary for 1-2 weeks to clean it up some. A good rule of thumb is 1-2-3. 1 week primary, 2 weeks, secondary, 3 weeks aging bottle or keg.



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Old 07-30-2013, 03:41 PM   #3
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Don't even think about touching it until the Krausen drops, and wait at least a couple days after that for the trub to settle and compact. THEN, take a SG and see where you're at. And, if you follow a few threads, you'll see that waiting a couple days> week to let your beer condition is a good idea before moving it. Let the yeast do their stuff. Whether you move it to a secondary, or directly to your bottling bucket/keg is really up to you, and a big controversy that everyone has to figure out in their own mind/experience. Pro and cons both ways, but what it comes down to is : Do or Don't do, it's still the best beer you've ever had because YOU made it.

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Old 07-30-2013, 04:20 PM   #4
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Probably the main cause of bottle bombs is bottling when the SG reaches the target range of the recipe. The yeast is done when it is done. You definitely don't want the fermentation finishing in the bottle.

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Old 07-30-2013, 11:05 PM   #5
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I never rack to secondary, even if its a dry hopped beer. I leave it in the primary fermenter for 3-4 weeks, crash cool for 2 days, rack into keg and carbonate. Do some searches on the forums and you'll see that is a very common way to homebrew these days. The idea that you need to get the beer off the yeast ASAP to prevent off flavors due to autolysis doesn't really apply to homebrewers fermenting in broad bottomed fermenters (carboys and buckets). That issue is really only a problem with the tall conical bottomed fermenters used in commercial breweries, due to the hydrostatic pressure put upon the yeast by the beer. Racking to a secondary actually tends to stir up more sediment back into solution, and creates another opportunity for oxygenation or infection. I also think checking the gravity every day also opens up the opportunity for the same problems. I don't even open my fermenter until I'm ready to rack. By doing a long primary you don't feel like you have to constantly check to make sure when fermentation is done, because after 3+ weeks at 68 degrees, its done!
By the way, you've already made your homebrewing experience and product quality way better by starting out with fermentation temp control and a kegging setup! Most of us weren't so lucky! Enjoy your new obsession

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Old 07-30-2013, 11:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimRausch View Post
Don't even think about touching it until the Krausen drops, and wait at least a couple days after that for the trub to settle and compact.
This is the best advise you can get. If there is Krausen on top it is not done fermenting. Leave it alone.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:17 PM   #7
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Much like what tooldude said.

I used to leave mine 3 weeks, but had an IPA change taste on me a week later and so now give 'em 4 weeks fermentation, 4 weeks conditioning, followed by a week in the fridge.

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...tasting a beer at 1 week, and again at 2....that to me just means there 2 less beers that are actually tasting good and are ready at the end.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:05 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the replies. I'll just leave it alone for 3ish more weeks and keep it simple.

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Old 08-06-2013, 10:33 PM   #9
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Took another gravity reading today and got 1.012. There are a few bubbles on top still (see picture) excuse me for being new at this, but are those normal?

My palette is still getting used to flat, warm beer so I can't say that it tastes weird. It might be a tad sour, but nothing that jumps out at you.



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Old 08-07-2013, 12:45 AM   #10
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Yes thats normal. If your still at 1.012 thats is where its going to ride. I would move it to a secondary if you can for a week to clean it up. I always find my beer taste better after a secondary. Best of look



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