Originally Posted by mwsmith15
I had read 4-6 days should be plenty in Primary as long as you were getting 1 bubble per minute. I will keep it in primary longer next time I guess
First off, never go by airlock bubbling....Some fermenters never show a bubble what so ever. And other times bubbling slows down, but the beer is still fermenting.
Your airlock is not a fermentation gauge, it is a VALVE to release excess co2. Often after the peak of fermentation has already wound down, there's simply no need to vent off any excess co2 but the beer often still fermenting.
The bubbling just means that it is venting excess CO2, nothing more. If it's not bubbling, that only means that it is not producing enough co2 to need to vent.
If your airlock was bubbling and stopped---It doesn't mean fermentation has stopped.
If you airlock isn't bubbling, it doesn't mean your fermentation hasn't started....
If your airlock starts bubbling, it really doesn't matter.
If your airlock NEVER bubbles, it doesn't mean anything is wrong or right.
Fermentation is not always "dynamic," just because you don't SEE anything happening, doesn't mean that any-thing's wrong,, and also doesn't mean that the yeast are still not working diligently away, doing what they've been doing for over 4,000 years.
The 1-2-3 method, or anything that advocates moving a beer out of primary based on a time frame of just a few days is NOT one of the best methods out there, even sillier than going by airlock action.
Moving your beers arbitrarily after a week doesn't factor in the lag time that often happens to our yeast (as illustrated by the "Fermentation can take 72 hours...." thread. )
If you have a 3 day lag time while the yeast is reproducing, and then arbitrarily decide to rack your beer on the 7th day, you are racking with only 4 days or so of fermentation and more than likely racking way too soon.
You see many threads were new brewers who do that panic becausue suddenly they see this ugly growth on top of their beer after a couple days in secondary. That growth we end up telling them after they post a picture is a krausen and it's because it wasn't finished fermenting to begin with, and got kicked up agin by racking.
OR they post after a week or two in secondary that their beer is stuck somewhere between 1.030 and 1.020....and we tell them that happened because they again racked too soon. and left the yeast they needed to finish the beer behind....
Or they rack over when there is still even a krauzen on top.
So I don't believe in using the 1-2-3 method unless you are counting 1 on the day you actually see a krauzened formed on top of their beer.
In Mr Wizard's colum in BYO awhile back he made an interesting analogy about brewing and baking....He said that egg timers are all well and good in the baking process but they only provide a "rule of thumb" as to when something is ready...recipes, oven types, heck even atmospheric conditions, STILL have more bearing on when a cake is ready than the time it says it will be done in the cook book. You STILL have to stick a toothpick in the center and pull it out to see if truly the cake is ready.....otherwise you may end up with a raw cake....
Not too different from our beers....We can have a rough idea when our beer is ready (or use the 1-2-3 rule which, like I said, doesn't factor in things like yeast lag time or even ambient temp during fermentation and do things to our beer willy nilly, like moving it too early, or thinking our beer is going to be drinkable at 3 weeks....but unless we actually stick "our toothpick" (the hydrometer) in and let it tell us when the yeasties are finished...we too can "f" our beer up.
You can't really do something arbitrarily, you have to learn to "read" your beers, the hydrometer is the best way to do that.
You will find that many of us leave our beers in primary for 3-4 weeks (or more) and only secondary if we are adding fruit or oak, or to dry hop (though many of us dry hop in primary now as well)....and we have found our beer vastly improved by letting the beer stay in contact with the yeast.
There's been a big shift in brewing consciousness in the last few years where many of us believe that yeast is a good thing, and besides just fermenting the beer, that they are fastidious creatures who go back and clean up any by products created by themselves during fermentation, which may lead to off flavors.
Rather than the yeast being the cause of off flavors, it is now looked at by many of us, that they will if left alone actually remove those off flavors, and make for clearer and cleaner tasting beers.
Even John Palmer talks about this in How To Bew;
Originally Posted by How To Brew
Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermentor for a total of 2-3 weeks (instead of just the one week most canned kits recommend), will provide time for the conditioning reactions and improve the beer. This extra time will also let more sediment settle out before bottling, resulting in a clearer beer and easier pouring. And, three weeks in the primary fermentor is usually not enough time for off-flavors to occur.
If you do decide to secondary, without a hydrometer, then wait til about 14 days after you pitched yeast, that way you will make sure that the beer has finished, and also give it a couple days for the yeast to clean up the byproducts of fermentation that lead to off flavors (and more than likely won't be cleaned up in secondary away from the yeast.)
Then leave it in secondary for another 2 weeks.
But please, make your next purchase a hydromter, and learn to use it....don't rely on arbitrary idiocy like the 1-2-3 rule or airlock bubbling as your guide...they are both flawed methods...
And often you will find that the yeast have their own timeframe, and agenda, because it is they who are in charge after all, not us.
They've been doing it for 45 million years, so they are pros...
But realistically, the only way to truly know what is going on in your fermenter is with [B]your hydrometerThink evaluation before action
you sure as HELL wouldn't want a doctor to start cutting on you unless he used the proper diagnostic instuments like x-rays first, right? You wouldn't want him to just take a look in your eyes briefly and say "I'm cutting into your chest first thing in the morning." You would want them to use the right diagnostic tools
before the slice and dice, right? You'd cry malpractice, I would hope, if they didn't say they were sending you for an MRI and other things before going in....
Thinking about "doing anything" without taking a hydrometer reading is tantamount to the doctor deciding to cut you open without running any diagnostic tests....Taking one look at you and saying, "Yeah I'm going in." You would really want the doctor to use all means to properly diagnose what's going on. It's exactly the same thing when you try to go by airlock....
But without a hydrometer, then WAITING is the best answer as to when to secondary (again if you choose to, many these days don't and it has even been covered on Basic Brewing Radio and in Byo, the long primary/ no secondary shift in brewing consciousness.)
Your hydrometer, like patience is your friend. Learn to use both of them and you will make great beers.