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Old 04-07-2010, 09:46 PM   #1
acyl
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Default Is this just slow fermenting?

I brewed a 10 gallon batch and only ended up with 8 gallons of wort. I probably should have diluted back to 10 gallons but oh well. So I split into 2 buckets. and pitched half a packet of dry yeast into each bucket. The first bucket started fermenting very rapidy. The second one did not. I went up to the brew store and bought another packet and pitched the entire packet into the slow bucket 2 days after. I never saw any airlock activity in the 2nd bucket but its showing signs of fermentation. The first bucket looks to be done. it's been over 2 weeks since I started these. Should I just leave them both alone longer?

bucket 1

bucket 2

edit: at one time bucket 1 looked like bucket 2 but when I just opened it today, I was surprised to see all that gunk is gone.

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Old 04-07-2010, 09:51 PM   #2
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They look like they're fermenting to me. Don't judge fermentation by airlock activity, always use your hydrometer. After there has been no change in the SG for 3 days, your beer is done fermenting.

The reason your fermentation may have been slow could be due to underpitching yeast (1 packet of dry per 5 gallons is needed) or your fermentation temps were too low.

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Old 04-07-2010, 09:56 PM   #3
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probably a little bit of both. I never measure my SG until right before I keg it. I usually just let it go 4 weeks.

The reason I dont check SG is because I dont have a wine thief. I'm very sanitary when I work. I bet I can just clean my hydrometer with bleach water, rinse and float it in the bucket. Is this a bad idea?

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Old 04-07-2010, 09:56 PM   #4
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first off, stop opening your bucket, trust the yeast as long as you pitched it into wort at a healthy temperature. Or you could caulk around a square or plexiglas over a viewing hole.

If the yeast isn't killed by temperature or contaminants it will normally finish fermenting no longer then 3 weeks after pitching. I used a vial of liquid yeast 4 months after it's expiration date and it only took 2 extra days to start up. Once you can see activity in the airlock you can be confident it's ready to bottle within 2-3 weeks.

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Old 04-07-2010, 10:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by acyl View Post
probably a little bit of both. I never measure my SG until right before I keg it. I usually just let it go 4 weeks.

The reason I dont check SG is because I dont have a wine thief. I'm very sanitary when I work. I bet I can just clean my hydrometer with bleach water, rinse and float it in the bucket. Is this a bad idea?
Do not place your hydrometer, especially with bleach residue, directly in your fermenter. Not only is there a small chance for contamination, but you can't take a hydrometer reading from above; you must be at eye level with the water line to get an accurate reading. Go to Walmart and pick up a turkey baster for $1.00 or close to it, sanitize with a no-rinse sanitizer, and snatch some out for a proper reading. Not to mention, it's a free taste test...
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acyl View Post
probably a little bit of both. I never measure my SG until right before I keg it. I usually just let it go 4 weeks.

The reason I dont check SG is because I dont have a wine thief. I'm very sanitary when I work. I bet I can just clean my hydrometer with bleach water, rinse and float it in the bucket. Is this a bad idea?
I used to do that until I just spent the $8 on a wine thief. If you're letting it sit for 4 weeks on the yeast cake there is no need to worry about fermentation speed if your temperatures are okay.

I've actually abandoned the whole let sit in primary for a month method. If you pitch enough good yeast, a normal gravity beer is attenuated in about 5 days, give or take. After that, I go straight to bottles and have good drinkable beer in about 2-4 weeks from brew day. Now, someone will probably flame me for this advice, but I'm not going to wait over a month for a normal gravity beer to be drinkable; it doesn't need a month on the yeast cake, though it won't hurt it either.
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:03 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ichthy View Post
I used to do that until I just spent the $8 on a wine thief. If you're letting it sit for 4 weeks on the yeast cake there is no need to worry about fermentation speed if your temperatures are okay.

I've actually abandoned the whole let sit in primary for a month method. If you pitch enough good yeast, a normal gravity beer is attenuated in about 5 days, give or take. After that, I go straight to bottles and have good drinkable beer in about 2-4 weeks from brew day. Now, someone will probably flame me for this advice, but I'm not going to wait over a month for a normal gravity beer to be drinkable; it doesn't need a month on the yeast cake, though it won't hurt it either.
Kudos to you, my man! It takes real gonads to say that in a "hard core" brewers forum. LOL!!! I too keep my primaries and occasional secondaries to a bare minimum and always come out with great beers. When the yeast is done, it's done. You can let it sit on "the cake" until the cows come home. In my opinion, it doesn't make a bit of difference.

Besides, I've found that bottle/keg aging makes more changes in a beer's characteristics than does aging in the fermentation vat. Yet again, this is my opinion onlyl.
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Old 04-08-2010, 01:33 PM   #8
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Besides, I've found that bottle/keg aging makes more changes in a beer's characteristics than does aging in the fermentation vat. Yet again, this is my opinion onlyl.
I couldn't agree more. I've had beer in the primary for a month and it would still take a while in the bottles to get just right. So I said to hell with the long primary, just let it do its thing in the bottles. So far so good, and I'm not waiting 2 months to drink a beer. I made a mild and a stout and 18 days from grain to glass they are both excellent beers (and I'm bottling, not kegging).

IMO, the key is to pitch enough yeast and follow the KISS principle with your recipes.
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:44 PM   #9
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Half a packet for 4-5 gallons isn't enough yeast. next time use 2 packets. Bucket 1 looks to be close to finished as the krausen has dropped and bucket 2 looks like it needs a little more time. I don't even consider opening the top for at least 10 days in. I prefer to wait 2 weeks to even look at all.

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