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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Primary fermentation duration
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:48 AM   #1
pherball
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Default Primary fermentation duration

hello all,

I just brewed my first batch of beer this past saturday and i have some concerns about the progress of the fermentation.

Primarily i am worried that my primary phase ended too soon and that the attenuation is incomplete. I put the wort into the carboy on saturday afternoon. Today (wednesay) the bubbling has slowed quite a bit and the foam on top was receding.

The lag time was short, bubbling began within 12 hours of pitching the yeast, also i did as much aeration as possible with "manual" techniques.

At the peak of fermentation the foam was about 1.5 inches thick and the bubbling was constant but not very vigorous.

Lastly what has me most concerned now is my choice of yeast. I used 1968 london esb, which apparently is highly flocculent. Is it possible/likely that the yeast has settled out before attenuation is complete, and can i shake up the carboy to get it going again or will this be bad for the beer in some way (shaking the carboy)?

[temps were between 62-65 the whole time]

thanks, sorry for the long post

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Old 12-06-2007, 03:04 AM   #2
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It's more than likely perfectly fine, and your beer is about done. Length of fermentation does not really related to the degree of attenuation- I've had some beers ferment out overnight, while others two weeks later are still chugging along. The only way to know for sure is to take the sg. Usually within a week, you're at or very near the final gravity. But again, this varies so much! My current method is 1-2-3: one week in the primary fermenter (usually more like 10 days because of my work schedule), and then if it's at the fg, two weeks in the clearing tank. After that, 3 weeks in bottles, then drink!

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Old 12-06-2007, 03:41 AM   #3
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Sounds like everything is going according to plan to me. You'll have brew to swill in no time.

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Old 12-06-2007, 04:31 AM   #4
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Sounds like it's fine. If you are really concerned, take a hydrometer reading. See what the gravity is. If it's high, wait 2 days and take it again and see if it changes. If it changes...it's still going, if it's at your final gravity, then it's done and you can let it condition. DON'T TRUST AIRLOCK ACTIVITY!!!

My advice...don't even look at the beer for at least a week after transferring to the primary. My last beer sat in the closet, in the primary for 3 weeks before I ever looked at it. I knew it was bubbling tho, because my cats kept sniffing at it and reacting to the noises

Also, I can't believe no one said it yet... RDWHAHB!

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Old 12-07-2007, 05:45 PM   #5
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pherball,

I have for the last 14 years, {this is year #15}
let my ale stay in the primary a week,
and then the secondary a week,
then to bottles for a month,
and its better after two!

I don't use the hydrometer much if at all,
just 1 week in old #1.
And 1 week in old #2.
Then a month in the bottle,
is a good 'rule of thumb'.

However, I am getting into steeping speciality grain
in my ale this year.
And the owner of the:
{ 'Homebrew Headquarters' }
{N. Dallas, north of Arapaho on Coit.}
old Kelly is taking more of an interest
in my zurmological education.

Kelly said to rerack to the secondary after the 'krousen falls.'
And leave it in the secondary for 7 days and then bottle.
This would knock 2-3 days of the carbouy time?
But Kelly said it was alright.

I may have to get used to using that dern Hydrometer after all.

http://jacksknifeshop.tripod.com/

J. VonKnife

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Old 12-07-2007, 05:59 PM   #6
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Sounds like everything is going just as it should.

I've had fermentations as short as 48 hours. I've also had lag times that long with ferments that lasted weeks. Every fermentation is different which can take beginners some getting used to, but eventually you know when to really worry.

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Old 12-07-2007, 09:35 PM   #7
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thanks for the replies

update: i took a hydro reading last night and it came out 1.020. this seems high to me, i tried to calculate the apparent attenuation but couldn't figure out the math, if anyone could give me a straightfoward equation for figuring out the attenuation that would be great

My OG was 1.049 and after five days in the primary it is measuring at 1.020, i used 1968 ESB yeast by the way

I tried the beer and nothing tasted off, just rough around the edges, i'm hoping that more hop character will develop because right now it is mainly a pretty one dimensional bitter quality that comes through.

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Old 12-08-2007, 01:21 AM   #8
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Sounds like you are on the track to some good brew ... keep checking the hydro but give the batch at least 10 days to settle down ...

Those yeast never seem to give up

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Old 12-08-2007, 03:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pherball
thanks for the replies

update: i took a hydro reading last night and it came out 1.020. this seems high to me, i tried to calculate the apparent attenuation but couldn't figure out the math, if anyone could give me a straightfoward equation for figuring out the attenuation that would be great

My OG was 1.049 and after five days in the primary it is measuring at 1.020, i used 1968 ESB yeast by the way

I tried the beer and nothing tasted off, just rough around the edges, i'm hoping that more hop character will develop because right now it is mainly a pretty one dimensional bitter quality that comes through.
That is under 60% so unless you threw a bunch of unfermentables in there, it's not done. You should probably finish around 1.014 to 1.016.

That is a very flocculant strain and it may need rousing if your fermentation stops at 1.020. GENTLY swirl the carboy to resuspend some of the yeast - keep the airlock on when you do this, and don't worry, you are not aerating while you are doing this. All of the oxygen that may have been in the carboy when you started has been driven off by now and all you have in there is CO2.
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