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Old 10-09-2013, 12:40 AM   #1
chris12_50
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Default Primary fermentation too quick

I started a 5 gallon pumpkin ale on Sunday. I checked on it yesterday and the airlock was bubbling away. Today, all finished. I'm new to brewing but aware that 'primary' fermentation takes about 4-6 days. It's never been this quick (2 days).

Should I be concerned? Should I transfer to the carboy (secondary) now? Or should I wait a few more days.

What would cause this to happen? I'm thinking there may be a leak somewhere. When I was cleaning the bucket with sanitizer, some water seemed to leak (very very minor) between the bucket and lid. I thought maybe it was just excess on the outside of the bucket or maybe the lid wasn't fully snapped on.

Anyways, what should I do? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated, as I really want this beer to turn out well.

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Old 10-09-2013, 12:45 AM   #2
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Probably a leak. You don't say what the temperature of the fermentation has been. The hotter the faster, and not necessarily for the better. I would wait for 2-3 weeks then take gravity readings to see how the fermentation has progressed.

I ferment most of my beers for 3 weeks in primary then package. I rarely use a secondary. Extra time is usually sufficient for the beer to clear.

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Old 10-09-2013, 12:46 AM   #3
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Airlock activity is only one indicator of fermentation.... If you want to REALLY be sure you MUST check your gravity with a hydrometer or refractometer to get an accurate picture of where you are gravity wise.... That's the only REAL way to tell. Hope this helps...

Cheers,

-jms

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Old 10-09-2013, 12:51 AM   #4
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sometimes yeast reproduces quickly, and can do the whole fermentation in the first couple days. yeasts like "nottingham" are notorious for quick ferms. but i would still leave it in the primary until at least day 10. i usually wait for day 14, it helps to clear your beer and with the flavor.

likewise, just because your airlock isn't bubbling doesn't mean that the fermentation has stopped.

you have to take two or three hydrometer samples to know for sure if fermentation has stopped.

good luck. i hope it is delicious.

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Old 10-09-2013, 01:04 AM   #5
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Thanks for the help. Raises additional questions now. I usually put my beer in a carboy for secondary fermentation. I like this because I feel like it gets most of the trub out an helps clear the beer. Sounds like a lot of people here don't use a secondary process. Not sure what I want to do right now with this.

Several of you have mentioned to check the gravity with a hydrometer. What do I do if it's not at the right gravity. I've been under the impression that I shouldn't remove the lid until it's complete. I assume I shouldn't just open and close the lid all willy nilly to check on the gravity. Is it appropriate to check the gravity and put the lid back on?

A final thing I've been wondering about. Is it ok to use a glass carboy for the entire fermentation process? I've heard/read somewhere you don't want to do this cause it could explode. Is this really possibly. Isn't that what the airlock is for? I would really like to do this, as I like the glass carboy better than the plastic bucket.

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Old 10-09-2013, 11:00 AM   #6
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If you have an airlock, exploding shouldn't be an issue.

Although there is an expected final gravity, I wouldn't say, imo, there is a correct dg. Although if it is over 1.02 I would definitely worry about the taste.

Checking the hydrometer reading three times over a week just lets you know if the gravity is still going down. If it isn't going down, you should be great.

If you sanatize properly there won't be a high risk of infection when you steal a hydro sample. That being said I would still wait until day ten.

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Old 10-09-2013, 12:01 PM   #7
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I always use a secondary for a week after 2 weeks in primary. Never had a problem with infections or anything else. I do this to clear the beer. I have tried transferring to the bottling bucket straight from primary and ended up with extra yeast in my bottles. Won't do that again.

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Old 10-09-2013, 12:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmashl View Post
I always use a secondary for a week after 2 weeks in primary. Never had a problem with infections or anything else. I do this to clear the beer. I have tried transferring to the bottling bucket straight from primary and ended up with extra yeast in my bottles. Won't do that again.
Have you tried leaving it in the primary for a longer amount of time? Giving the yeast more time to settle out and being a little careful of racking leaves me with so little yeast that it is hard to see in the bottle. That said, I often bottle a little sooner than I should so I can brew again.
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Old 10-09-2013, 02:01 PM   #9
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When all the rapid bubbling in the airlock slows or stops,only initial fermentation is done! It'll then slowly,uneventfully creep down to a stable FG.
Left for another 3-7 days,it'll clean up by products of fermentation & settle out clear or slightly misty.
So your entire fermentation was not done,only initial fermentation was.

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