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Old 07-11-2012, 06:19 PM   #1
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Default Min and Max time in fermenter

New brewer here...first batch is an Irish Stout. Fermenting only took about 24hrs and began only a few hours after pitching the yeast. Wort temp at time of pitching was about 75degF. Did a cold ice bath to get wort down about to temp about 3hrs after removing from burner. Its hot here in TX and with AC on, i have the room temperature at 74degF during the day and down to 71degF during the night. Questions are as follows:
1) did the fermentation go quick because of the higher room/wort temperature?
2) will quick fermentation spoil the beer?
3) how long should i keep the beer in the fermenter after fermentation is completed (my instructions say 3-4 days)?
4) is this the minimum time to keep it in fermenter, and is it better to keep in fermenter longer?
Guess i am pretty excited to bottle and impatience is taking over. Any insight is greatly appreciated.

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Old 07-11-2012, 06:28 PM   #2
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Most likely hot temperatures made fermentation go quicker. It will be fine. You should pick up a hydrometer as that is the best way to know if it is done. Otherwise it is a guessing game.

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Old 07-11-2012, 06:34 PM   #3
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Forget the instructions. 10 days is a pretty safe and reasonable bet. No harm in going longer.

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Old 07-12-2012, 05:48 PM   #4
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many thanks for the responses. ok, so my follow up questions:
1) when is air into the brew insignificant and when is it a big no-no?? i presume during the reactive processes (fermentation and in the bottles), you don't want to get air into the carboy or bottle. however, is air an issue outside of these periods? you mention the hydrometer to make final readings, but this means i have to open up the fermentation vessel, which i still have on the airlock and sealed.
2) lets assume i break the seal and take my final hydrometer reading and isn't there yet, do i reseal and put the airlock back on to prevent more air from gettting in? Or after the fermentation process is done, do i need to keep it sealed? Will it harm the beer to remain unsealed?
3) will the hydrometer reading fall over time or once the fermentation process is complete, that is it
I realize i am asking lots of questions...my personality...i just like to understand the processes and issues at play.

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Old 07-12-2012, 05:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dev-Ale View Post
many thanks for the responses. ok, so my follow up questions:
1) when is air into the brew insignificant and when is it a big no-no?? i presume during the reactive processes (fermentation and in the bottles), you don't want to get air into the carboy or bottle. however, is air an issue outside of these periods? you mention the hydrometer to make final readings, but this means i have to open up the fermentation vessel, which i still have on the airlock and sealed.
2) lets assume i break the seal and take my final hydrometer reading and isn't there yet, do i reseal and put the airlock back on to prevent more air from gettting in? Or after the fermentation process is done, do i need to keep it sealed? Will it harm the beer to remain unsealed?
3) will the hydrometer reading fall over time or once the fermentation process is complete, that is it
I realize i am asking lots of questions...my personality...i just like to understand the processes and issues at play.
1. Oxygen after fermentation gets underway is the death of beer- causing oxidative reactions and poor flavor from a "sherry" like flavor to wet cardboard smell and flavor. Still, opening a fermenter to gently take a sample will not harm the beer. Use a sanitized wine thief to take a sample (or a sanitized new turkey baster) and simply cover it back up. It'll be fine.
2. You want to keep an airlock on, especially after fermentation stops/slows to prevent airborne bacteria/wild yeast from entering, as well as to prevent oxygen from pouring in.
3. Once fermentation is complete, the SG will not fall any more. That's the actual definite of it being complete, and at final gravity. Once it's at the same SG for at least three days, it's considered done fermenting.
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Old 07-12-2012, 05:56 PM   #6
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Good questions. I'd highly suggest a basic homebrew book like this one:
http://www.amazon.com/How-Brew-Every.../dp/0937381888

Air (namely, O2) is important for yeast. Aside from that, it's the enemy of beer. So, you WANT oxygen right when you pitch the yeast, and that's it. Every other time, we try to minimize it. But no need to be paranoid about it. So, breaking the seal for a hydro reading is necessary and harmless. You should seal it back up after taking the reading.

The hydro reading falls over time during fermentation, as the yeast consumes the sugar and leaves alcohol (b/c the density of the liquid drops). Once fermentation is complete, the yeast stop eating and the density remains constant. So, if you take two hydro readings and they're the same, it generally means fermentation is complete.

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Old 07-12-2012, 06:01 PM   #7
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Different question on the topic of aeration: What about aeration during the mash process? I always figured it wouldn't hurt to aerate before the boil, since that should add oxygen anyway. But I've heard of people trying to minimize the oxygenation of the wort going into the kettle from the mash tun. Which is it?

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Old 07-12-2012, 06:14 PM   #8
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Boiling removes oxygen, so aerating before boil doesn't help you.

The debate you're asking about is "hot side aeration"...it exists, but not really on a homebrew level. If you're pouring 3 bbls of wort from 30 feet in the air, maybe, but some incidental splashing into the kettle is fine. Nothing to worry about. But don't ADD oxygen purposefully at this point.

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Old 07-12-2012, 06:28 PM   #9
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Yes, I wouldn't bother with trying to aerate before the boil, but I was more concerned about the "incidental splashing" from the mash tun into the kettle. My system is gravity-fed, so I've been known to let the wort just trickle out of the spigot on my mash tun into the kettle below (about 3 feet). This allows me to get a good view of the wort and look for hulls that might have snuck through. I've never noticed any off-flavors that I've attributed to that method, and I've seen people that will try to minimize the splashing with hoses submerged in the kettle.

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Old 07-12-2012, 06:31 PM   #10
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Fine by me.

One advantage to a 3ft tube on the spigot is suction/siphon effect to "pull" the wort out of the mash tun. I find I get more out with a decent run of tubing attached.

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