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Old 12-29-2011, 05:13 PM   #1
shaughnessy
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Default Opening fermenter during fermenting process?

I Am brewing my first batch of beer in a 5 gallon bucket with the airlock on top. I am curious if I am allowed to open the container to monitor the fermentation process since I obviously can not see through the plastic.

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Old 12-29-2011, 05:17 PM   #2
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No, you are NOT allowed to open your bucket! You will create an evil beer monster intent on world domination! Like my ex wife...

Seriously though, you want to minimize it but most of us have done it. I did it so much that I went out and bought Better Bottles so I could watch the beer porn without cracking the lid.

And to answer your next question, you dont HAVE to let it primary for 3-4 weeks but a lot of people recommend it.

And the third question? You also dont HAVE to let it sit in the bottles for a minimum of 3 weeks before you try one, but its a good idea.

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Old 12-29-2011, 05:47 PM   #3
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I just got one of those buckets - I was a little iffy, but it's 7.9 gallons, which let's me overstuff a 6.5 gallon carboy secondary for a an x-tra large batch. I was cool just seeing the air-lock action - I know what krausen looks like. It would be okay to peek while the fermentation is strong - the krausen and the dominance of the yeast give you some protection. They do open fermentation, right? Samuel Smith does fermentation in open 'Yorkshire Squares'. You can actually harvest the krausen that way, which carboys don't allow. That said, why take unnecessary risk, especially after peak fermentation?

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Old 12-29-2011, 06:08 PM   #4
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Checking it out will help you relax. Take a peak. Your next question's answer is no, it's not infected, that is what krausen looks like. Hope it turns out well!

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Old 12-29-2011, 06:20 PM   #5
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Just to add to be pile - yes, it is perfectly fine to take a look - in fact I would encourage it so as to familiarize yourself with what the fermentation process looks like. FWIW, I usually don't bother snapping down my lid for the first 48 hours, so I can monitor fermentation without messing too much with the lid. This also supposedly relieves some pressure, which is supposed to be a good thing for the yeast, though I wonder how true this is at homebrew scales.

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Old 12-29-2011, 06:52 PM   #6
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And enjoy the smell of fermentation! I love that odor...makes the house smell awesome!

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Old 12-29-2011, 06:56 PM   #7
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a flashlight on the back side of the bucket gives a good indicator of what krausen is up to.

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Old 12-29-2011, 06:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLem View Post
Just to add to be pile - yes, it is perfectly fine to take a look - in fact I would encourage it so as to familiarize yourself with what the fermentation process looks like. FWIW, I usually don't bother snapping down my lid for the first 48 hours, so I can monitor fermentation without messing too much with the lid. This also supposedly relieves some pressure, which is supposed to be a good thing for the yeast, though I wonder how true this is at homebrew scales.
that's interesting not snapping on the lid for a few days ... no problems with that? ... I think I'd like to do that as I just love to look at my beer, but I really prefer buckets to ferment in.
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Old 12-29-2011, 07:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadarnell

that's interesting not snapping on the lid for a few days ... no problems with that? ... I think I'd like to do that as I just love to look at my beer, but I really prefer buckets to ferment in.
No problems. First off, wild yeast and bacteria do not crawl into the fermentor, they fall in from the air, so as long as the beer is covered you shouldn't have a problem. Second, active fermentation pushes CO2 out so air from the outside can't get in. Problems arise when fermentation slows down and when temps fluctuate downward - a decrease in temp causes the gas in the headspace to shrink, which pulls in air (and any wild yeast/bacteria in it) from the outside. So, be sure to lock the lid down after a couple days to be safe.
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Old 12-29-2011, 07:31 PM   #10
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You can do a open top ferment without infecting your beer. Some breweries do it as well as some homebrewers. Leave the top off your fermenter until you see fermentation subsiding then snap the lid on. It gives your beer a different characteristic.

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