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Old 12-12-2012, 09:20 AM   #1
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Default Risk of autolysis in a 3 week fermentation

Hi guys, i'm new around here and maybe your already have answer this question somewhere, but here is the deal.

I'm brewing my first batch right now. I'm using malt extract and steeped grain to brew an Imperial IPA (at least i intend it to be). The original gravity for it was of 1.082, and i'm intending to leave it fermenting for almost three weeks (i'm entering in the 4th day fermenting) before taking it to bottle conditioning and carbonation.

The thing is, when i said that on an brazilian homebrew forum, they told me that the fermentation time (not using a second fermentor) was too long and i was risking to have an autolisis. One of them recommended me to drop the temperature to 40F (5ºC) after the fermentation is complete to avoid autolisis.

Is there any logic in this? I'm using John Palmer's How to Brew as a guide and nowhere there he mentions droping the temperature for an ale to a lager one.

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Old 12-12-2012, 09:28 AM   #2
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You're not brewing a 30 bbl batch in a conical fermenter are you? Then don't worry about it. Autolysis isn't a factor in that timeframe. You don't need to drop the temperature either. Let it sit at fermentation temperature for three weeks, let the yeast do their job. Then rack and bottle.

Palmer doesn't mention dropping that temperature because you don't have to do it.

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Old 12-12-2012, 09:28 AM   #3
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Well alot of people like to cold crash their brews to help clean things (yeast, hop/grain bits, etc) out and let it all settle to the bottom of the fermentor. I currently don't have the option to cold crash until I pick up a fermentation chamber but if u have the means i know alot of people will recommend it. As far as worrying about autolysis with a three week ferment, no u will be fine. I've heard different amounts of time used but most of them state that u can in fact leave the brew on the yeast cake for up to and beyond a month and a half to two months and still be ok. Most people here don't even bother with a secondary ferment as the risk of infecting the batch far outweighs the risk of autolysis.

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Old 12-12-2012, 10:01 AM   #4
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Hi guys, thanks for quick feedback. Skeptidelphian, no it's not a 30 bbl batch using a conical fermentor. In fact it's a really small first batch, someting like 3 gallons. And Pratzie, i also don't have the means to cold crash my beer, i just have to hope that the three weeks fermentation time will do most of the this job and deliver me a quite clear beer, but if it is a little bit hazy, i won't mind!
Just can't wait to taste it!

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Old 12-12-2012, 10:15 AM   #5
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If the beer isn't clear enough to suit you at 3 weeks, leave it another week. It'll be fine. I've gone 9 weeks without autolysis. I've heard from another brewer who left his beer in the primary for 8 months without ill effects.

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Old 12-12-2012, 10:46 AM   #6
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You could leave it for months and not have to worry about autolysis. RDWHAHB and cheers!

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Old 12-12-2012, 11:18 AM   #7
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Curious, you mentioned your were making an IPA, but didn't mention anything about drop hopping. Double check your kit recipe and make sure they didn't specify this, as most IPAs get some kind of dry hopping for a week to ten days. If so, add the dry hops after fermentation directly into your primary bucket during the three week period.

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Old 12-12-2012, 11:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonM View Post
You could leave it for months and not have to worry about autolysis. RDWHAHB and cheers!
The working word here is "could". Autolysis is a real thing. Stressed yeast (low pitch rate, poor temperature control . . .) combined with storing your primary warm or where there are temperature swings "could" cause autolysis.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:37 PM   #9
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After the first few days, some people will slowly warm their beers to about 70F to help the yeast clean up the byproducts from fermentation.

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Old 12-12-2012, 01:09 PM   #10
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Yeah, i'm aware about the dryhopping for IPAs, but as i was not too much sure about the process, i left it for another time.

AnOldUR, in case of temperature control, do you think that this variation of around 6 degrees (62F to 68F) (in terms of celsius it's just 3 degrees) is very poor? I wasn't able to get a fridge to keep the temperature fixed (here we are at constant 86F room temperature) so I had to improvise. Anyway...I think my pitch rate was good, so if i'm to have problems is with the temperature control. For you to have an idea, i've made a gravity measure with 24hs and the OG has droped from 1.082 to somewhere around 1.045. I think it's good, isn't it?

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