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Old 11-24-2012, 09:51 PM   #1
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Default How long should primary fermentation take?

I'm making some White House Honey Ale using a kit from my local brew shop.

It is currently sitting in a plastic pale undergoing primary fermentation.

The instructions call for racking after 2-3 days, when the appearance of the foam changes and it starts to collapse.

However, lots of information I am finding online says that it should sit in the pale for longer.

I've followed this shop's instructions in the past to bad results. So, naturally I am now second-guessing what they are telling me.

Does 2-3 days sound okay to you?

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Old 11-24-2012, 09:59 PM   #2
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You determine when a beer is done by taking 2 gravity readings over a 3 day period. I recommend folks do the first one on day 10 or 12 after yeast pitch, and another one 2 days later.

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Old 11-24-2012, 10:11 PM   #3
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But the beer's instructions are saying that the racking should take place on day 2 or 3. That's a huge difference from day 10 or 12.

Not too sure what to do.

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Old 11-24-2012, 10:12 PM   #4
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If you aren't going to take a gravity reading, then wait 2-3 wks and you should be good. Don't be in a hurry. I always wait a month before kegging bottling. Most beer does better with time.

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Old 11-24-2012, 10:12 PM   #5
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By the way, I'm not talking about bottling here...but racking from my primary fermentor into the carboy....

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Old 11-24-2012, 10:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyWarrior View Post
But the beer's instructions are saying that the racking should take place on day 2 or 3. That's a huge difference from day 10 or 12.

Not too sure what to do.
Ignore the lousy instructions, and do what we suggest.
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyWarrior
By the way, I'm not talking about bottling here...but racking from my primary fermentor into the carboy....
Still, 2-3 days is generally way too fast to take a a beer off the primary yeast cake. It's simply bad advice.
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgarry View Post
If you aren't going to take a gravity reading, then wait 2-3 wks and you should be good. Don't be in a hurry. I always wait a month before kegging bottling. Most beer does better with time.
Me too. Pitch yeast, come back in a month, keg or bottle.

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By the way, I'm not talking about bottling here...but racking from my primary fermentor into the carboy....
Yeah, we know. We're saying that racking at 2-3 days is idiotic. Bad information. You don't rack til the beer is done, and it usually takes around 7-10 days for fermentation to be complete. Often yeast doesn't even TAKE OFF for 72 hours. (look for the sticky at the top of the beginner's section that says "Yeast can take between 24 and 72 hours to show visible signs)

If you rack like those instructions, often folks end up with a stuck fermentation.

I suggest IF people choose to use a secondary which in 80% of the beers we brew (like this honey ale) I think is unnecessary and opt for an extended primary, that they rack if the gravity is stable at around day 14 and secondary for a minimum of 2 weeks, or as long as they feel necessary or can tell the beer is clear.
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:22 PM   #9
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It's bad information. Don't rack it until several days after it hits FG. You should tell your LHBS that their instructions are crap.

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Old 11-24-2012, 11:37 PM   #10
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When I brewed my first batch of beer (A Hefeweizen), the LHBS instructions said to rack to a secondary after 4-5 days. I knew nothing of this website, and so I followed the instructions. I was actually still getting a lot of airlock activity when I racked it over!

So into the secondary it went. Then the instructions said to bottle after 5 more days. I had a lot of trub in the bottom of the secondary, and still had airlock activity!

But... as per the instructions... I racked it to a bottling bucket and added the priming sugar, and bottled. 2 weeks later I had homebrew... It had a lot of carbonation, and tasted super bland and had no mouthfeel... really watery. I didn't have any bottle bombs or squirters... but it was over carbed.

Then I stumbled on to this website. Read my ass off... asked a couple of dumb questions... and bought another kit. But pitched the LHBS instructions in the trash. I never racked to a secondary on that next kit and kept the brew in the primary 3 weeks. After 2 gravity readings that were the same over a 3 day period... I bottled. It turned out fantastic. It was an Amber.

For kicks, I brewed the same kit again that I bought on my first attempt. I again ditched the LHBS instructions and went on info I got on here. Waddayaknow? I actually had a good drinkaable Hefeweizen that actually had flavor, and good carb.

So... believe my friend... believe.

Gary

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