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Old 06-14-2010, 11:00 AM   #1
ben2010
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Default Is this a normal time frame?

Hey all - I am currently 3 days into my first home brew. I bought a kit from my local brew shop, its a Pilsner. The instructions say to leave it in the Primary fermentor for 5 days, until the initial head has dropped, and then rack to the Secondary for 14 days.

Does this 14 days seem excessive? Would there be enough yeast left over to react with the priming sugar after the 14 days?

Thanks everyone!

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Old 06-14-2010, 11:31 AM   #2
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The batch I just bottled, was 4 weeks primary, no secondary. I think that's a more "normal" time frame.

Kit instructions seem to be notorious for recommending rapid processing times. Ignore them. Also, for most recipes, a secondary fermentation is not necessary.

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Old 06-14-2010, 11:33 AM   #3
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1 month in primary. No secondary.

Some yeast would be alive after 6 months.

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Old 06-14-2010, 01:02 PM   #4
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Okay great - thanks for the replies.

Also, my primary is a brew bucket without an airlock hole - so I have the lid placed loosely on top - will it harm the brew if i lift the lid to peak in a couple times a day to check on the fermentation?

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Old 06-14-2010, 01:06 PM   #5
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4 weeks in primary is not a problem at all. In fact, it gives the beer time to clear, and th eyeast time to clean up the byproducts of fermentation. More time yields better flavors.

Many people don't use a secondary unless they are racking onto fruit, or dry-hopping. Even then, you can do those in primary. If you only have one primary fermenter, and want to get a second batch going, that's a good reason to transfer to secondary, once fermentation has completed. Use your hydrometer (you do have one, don't you?) to confirm fermentation is done, then feel free to rack.

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Old 06-14-2010, 01:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben2010 View Post
Also, my primary is a brew bucket without an airlock hole - so I have the lid placed loosely on top - will it harm the brew if i lift the lid to peak in a couple times a day to check on the fermentation?
Yikes! Don't do that!

Get thee to the LHBS, and buy a lid with either a grommetted hole, or a stoppered hole. Get an airlock, and use it. You can fill it with cheap vodka, or Star-San, or even water. But use it.

Then put the bucket in the back of your closet, and forget about it for about a month. No peeking!
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Old 06-14-2010, 03:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben2010 View Post
Also, my primary is a brew bucket without an airlock hole - so I have the lid placed loosely on top - will it harm the brew if i lift the lid to peak in a couple times a day to check on the fermentation?
While I agree with Frazier about getting a lid with a hole for an airlock and filling it with said airlock (btw, just drill your own hole, much cheaper), I have to say that being scared of opening your fermenter is over-rated! I have done it many times over the past 6 months and nothing has happened. Of course I make sure the dogs are not around when I do and that I don't have anything fall off my clothes (saw dust, dirt, dog hair and the like). I wouldn't suggest just looking in to be looking in... but if you have to, be safe and don't worry about it. If your just curious how things are going and really want to see it as the magic is happening.... use a glass or better bottle carboy and you will have a front row seat to all the action
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Old 06-14-2010, 04:15 PM   #8
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waiting only 5 days and racking to secondary is the 'wrong time frame' in the original question.
5 days is way too quick. rack when its DONE fermenting completely. not when krausen falls. (if you choose to rack at all...I like a secondary but many do not and just do a 3 week primary, then bottle)

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Old 06-14-2010, 04:52 PM   #9
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Great - thanks for the replies! I will wait past the 5 days for sure, I will know its done fermenting when there is no krausen at the top and the yeast is done swirling around, correct?

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Old 06-14-2010, 04:54 PM   #10
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No. The only way to know that fermentation is done, is to use a hydrometer. Take gravity readings 3 days apart, and if they are the same, fermentation is complete.

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