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Old 12-03-2007, 10:49 PM   #1
dpt222
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Default Initial fermentation done?

Hi all! This is my very first homebrew. I am making the True Brew Pale Ale kit. The beginning gravity was supposed to be 1.043-1.045, but mine was 1.038. I pitched the yeast and then the first time I checked it was after 7 hours and it was already bubbling, so fermentation may have begun before this. It then bubbled for at least 22 hours, and when I got home today it appears to have ceased. The direction say it will continue fermentation for at least 24-48 hours and then to let settle a few more days before bottling. My questions are:

1. Am I to assume fermentation is complete?
2. Is it the result of very active yeast that it is fermented already?
3. Should I just take a specific gravity reading now to see it its done?

Any other observations and comments are welcome and appreciated!

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Old 12-03-2007, 11:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpt222
Hi all! This is my very first homebrew. I am making the True Brew Pale Ale kit. The beginning gravity was supposed to be 1.043-1.045, but mine was 1.038. I pitched the yeast and then the first time I checked it was after 7 hours and it was already bubbling, so fermentation may have begun before this. It then bubbled for at least 22 hours, and when I got home today it appears to have ceased. The direction say it will continue fermentation for at least 24-48 hours and then to let settle a few more days before bottling. My questions are:

1. Am I to assume fermentation is complete?
2. Is it the result of very active yeast that it is fermented already?
3. Should I just take a specific gravity reading now to see it its done?

Any other observations and comments are welcome and appreciated!
Most of the fermentation is complete, yes. But, you should let it sit for longer time. Several things happen in these few days that will make your beer a lot better. Yeast consumes diacetyl, giving a cleaner taste. Also, larger particles, like yeast, will drop out of suspension, so you don't have to drink them.
This process is slow, not a 30 minute meal for instant gratification. That's why it is craft brewing. Try to not be in a hurry, and most of all, relax. Give it another week (7 days) and then you can bottle and wait another 3 weeks (21 days) to drink your first, not last, homebrew.

Good luck.
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Old 12-03-2007, 11:28 PM   #3
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Excellent...I guess I had it in the back of my head that maybe I made a mistake during the preparation. I wasn't sure if NOT seeing any more bubbling so soon was a bad thing since I'm inexperienced. I plan to let it sit for the full seven days before I prime and bottle it. I don't want to screw up my first batch! Does all the diacetyl get consumed by the yeast?

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Old 12-04-2007, 12:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpt222
I plan to let it sit for the full seven days before I prime and bottle it.
Your beer will be much better if you let it sit for at least three weeks before bottling. One week in primary is minimum plus two weeks in secondary. If you're not going to transfer to secondary, a total of three weeks in primary is pretty standard.

These are, IMHO, the minimum time requirements. Personally, I usually take about 5+ weeks from brewing to bottling. Then another 4 weeks in the bottle before drinking. Good beer does not like to be hurried. Your beer, and those consuming it, will thank you for being patient.
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Old 12-04-2007, 12:08 AM   #5
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Not all diacetyl, but enough to be not so discernible in taste. The actual percentage depends on many factors like yeast strain, fermentation temperatures, ingredients, brewer disposition, etc.
Enjoy your beer!

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Old 12-04-2007, 12:31 AM   #6
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Are there any advantages to transferring to a secondary as opposed to staying in the primary for an extended time?

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Old 12-04-2007, 01:01 AM   #7
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Well, I almost always use a clearing tank rather than leaving it in the primary fermenter. I like getting the beer off the trub and into a carboy with very little headspace and then I stick it in a dark cool place and forget it for a while. That's the main advantage I think- time. Just leaving it be until I want to deal with it. I do have clear beers and never use finings or filter it.

But, if you leave it in the primary for 3 weeks, and then carefully rack, it should be about the same for the same length of time. I mean, 3 weeks is 3 weeks wherever it is, so it should give you about the same results. When I move it, it may stay in the clearing tank anywhere from 10 days to 2 months.

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Old 12-04-2007, 01:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpt222
Are there any advantages to transferring to a secondary as opposed to staying in the primary for an extended time?
Yes.

Some are weary of autolysis - basically dead yeast cells exploding. In reality this process does not happen for months assuming reasonably healthy yeast and sub 80 degree temps.
However, the act of transferring to a secondary vessel does stir up the beer a bit which often causes yeast to ferment a little more, giving you better attenuation and often a cleaner, drier flavor. And it gives you the opportunity to harvest the yeast from primary for future batches.

If you don't have another vessel for clarifying (a more correct term than secondary) by all means use just one vessel for multiple weeks.
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Old 12-04-2007, 02:24 AM   #9
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Best way to know that fermentation is done is to take another gravity reading. You have your OG. Final gravity should end up 1.010-1.012 ish. If you're there you are done. If not, you might want to give it some more time.

no bubbles usually means its done, but if you want to know for certain a hydro reading is a good bet.

(Not trying to start another hydro debate, just throwing my ideas in there. It is OK to brew without one, but this thread already mentions its presence.)

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