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Old 05-06-2013, 06:36 AM   #1
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Default Persistent krausen question

Hiya folks,

I started a robust porter a couple weeks ago, using American Ale yeast. I made a point to keep this one really cool, at about 62-64 degrees most of the time since a previous batch heated up during fermentation and got to 78 degrees (in a 68 degree room) and I didn't want to risk that happening again. Fermentation kicked of promptly and I had a 1/2" krausen within 48 hours, and had krausen filling the carboy 48 hours after that. I was using a blow-off tube and it went from blowing a steady stream of bubbles after 5 days down to nearly none now, after 10 days. I have airlock in now and am getting a bubble every 70 seconds or so. The recipe I am following says to rack to a secondary after 10-14 days, but the krausen is still on the beer. It is still about 3/8 - 1/2" high and shows no signs of going away. Should I rack it in a few days regardless, or should I let it sit until the krausen goes away, then rack it?

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Old 05-06-2013, 06:47 AM   #2
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I'm pretty new the home brewing gig, but from what I have read and or experienced myself. Patients is a virtue. I'm figuring with your lower temperatures you are just getting a bit of a slower fermentation is all, and if you wanted the primary fermentation complete before racking to secondary then just let it sit for another week. I don't believe there would be any harm in that what so ever.

Do you have a refractometer? If you were really concerned with the primary fermentation being done before racking to secondary you could check the gravity of it over a few days to make sure it is done.

Also is there a reason you feel the desire to rack to a secondary? Or is that just what the recipe you are following says to do?

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Old 05-06-2013, 10:49 AM   #3
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The critical period for beer fermentation is the first 3 to 5 days as the yeast go crazy with all the sugars (think kindergarten kids with too much candy) and do all sorts of things like make fusel alcohols and off flavors. If you control the temperature during that period, the yeast behave much better but once the sugars are mostly gone, you can let your beer get warmer which encourages the yeast to eat the last bits of sugars and clean up the intermediate products. I think you need to get your beer closer to 70 to 75 F. to get them to finish. Your last bit of krausen may not fall on its own anyway but warming the beer is the first step.

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Old 05-08-2013, 06:00 AM   #4
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Thank you both for your input. I am planning to rack to secondary just because the recipe calls for it. This is only my fourth batch of beer, so I am mostly still just following recipes and trying to get my technique down.

I took a close look at the beer today, and it is still sitting at 66 degrees, and still has that 3/8" or so of krausen. I'm seeing a bubble in the airlock every 92 seconds. Looking close, I can still see tiny bubbles coming up from below, so it looks like fermentation is still going on. I have the carboy in a small metal trashcan, filled mostly with water. I did this to make it easier to cool the beer down in the early days of the fermentation. I can toss an aquarium heater in there to bring the temp up slowly to 70 degrees or so.

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Old 05-08-2013, 12:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Labradork View Post
Thank you both for your input. I am planning to rack to secondary just because the recipe calls for it. This is only my fourth batch of beer, so I am mostly still just following recipes and trying to get my technique down.

I took a close look at the beer today, and it is still sitting at 66 degrees, and still has that 3/8" or so of krausen. I'm seeing a bubble in the airlock every 92 seconds. Looking close, I can still see tiny bubbles coming up from below, so it looks like fermentation is still going on. I have the carboy in a small metal trashcan, filled mostly with water. I did this to make it easier to cool the beer down in the early days of the fermentation. I can toss an aquarium heater in there to bring the temp up slowly to 70 degrees or so.
If you were making soup and the old recipe book you were using called for a cup of salt but the other cooks said that it really only needed a teaspoon would you continue to follow the recipe? Recipes for making beer from kits were written long ago (in terms of beer evolution) and have never been upgraded since they were written. While it probably won't hurt your beer to move it to secondary it also isn't likely to help it either and it does give you chances for infection (it appears that all the pictures posted here showing infected batches are in secondary) and oxidation. Your call.
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