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Old 02-17-2011, 03:37 PM   #1
acsimmo2
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Feb 2011
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I have brewed a couple of times and always went by the rule:

1 week bucket
2 weeks carboy
2 weeks bottles

and been getting good results, but now i am really starting to get into it and realized that the amount of time it takes to ferment is based on the OG. the problem is i dont know when or how to measure the OG...or the FG for that matter. I would appreciate anyone who could shed some light on this subject. Thanks

 
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:43 PM   #2
Bensiff
 
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Use a hydrometer for gravity readings. Throw away the time rule...its something brew shops seem to tell new folks to keep things easy or to sell them extra equipment. Leave it in primary until you hit your FG and then let it sit on the yeast for another week at least to clean up.

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Old 02-17-2011, 03:45 PM   #3
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OG is measured as it goes into primary, before pitching yeast, once at pitching temperature (pretty basic, brewing 101 level)...

FG is determined when you take SG readings over multiple days, and they do not change (any)...

Unless you're brewing a style that specifically requires using secondary, OR adding more flavor elements to a brew and need to get off of the current ones, I would drop using secondary completely. 2-4 weeks in primary (on the yeast) will yield great results. That is, for brews with an OG of under ~1.065. Over that, you'll want the brew to be on the yeast for longer.

When you take your SG readings, taste the sample (I usually taste closer to week 3 on the yeast)... That will help you to really determine when the brew is ready to bottle/keg...

Look at it more like cooking a fine stew/sauce... You have the ingredients, and the start process, but how long it takes to finish is up to you, not the recipe.

I would also watch the temperature of the fermenting wort... Read up on the yeast you're using to decide what temperature you really want it to be at. While it does add a little more effort on your part, into the process, the results you get will be more in line with what you want. Better temperature control (fermenting) will also reduce how long you need the brew to sit on the yeast, or age.

It's all a learning process. First time you do something, you're learning. Next time, you're a bit better at it... Eventually, you've eliminated most of the issue spots in your process/method and can focus more on the recipe.

 
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:46 PM   #4
sjbeerman
 
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The specific gravity (OG and FG) are measured using a hydrometer. You can search this forum or Google to find out how to read a hydrometer. I typically take the OG when the wort has cooled to pitching temp, but before I pitch the yeast. I then take another reading 1-2 weeks later. The SG should be constant over a 2-3 day period to determine if fermentation is complete.
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Primary: Belgian Dark Strong
Secondary: EMPTY
Bottled: Belgian Saison Noel, Chocolate Porter, Raspberry Wheat

 
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:47 PM   #5
JonK331
 
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Yup, buy yourself a hydrometer. They are really easy to use. Don't bother with the secondary, primary for at least three weeks.

 
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:05 PM   #6
acsimmo2
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Feb 2011
Raliegh, NC
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Thanks, i get i read the OG right before pitching the yeast, but im confused when you say i need to take multiple readings. is the easiest way to just leave the hydrometer in the carboy when i switch it over to a secondary fermentation and just read it through the glass? or do i need to siphon some out?

 
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:16 PM   #7
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You take multiple readings once you've given the wort enough time on the yeast... 2-3 weeks is typically a minimum time frame we'll go before checking on things with the hydrometer...

I would NOT leave the hydrometer inside the fermenter...

Pick up either a glass, or plastic, wine thief to pull your samples with. Practice proper sanitation when using anything that's going to touch the wort post-boil.

Typically, the OG of the brew, fermentation temperature, and how much yeast you pitched into the fermenter will determine how long it's going to take. Pitch the right amount of yeast for the brew (OG) and put it into a good thermal range, and you could have it done sooner. But, most of us have become more patient with our yeast and how long they need to do their jobs (more than just making magic juice)... A lot of us also have more than one beer going at a time. At different stages in their process, so we're never too far away from bottling/kegging something, then having it ready for drinking...

 
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Old 02-17-2011, 08:57 PM   #8
acsimmo2
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Feb 2011
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is that 2-3 weeks in secondary fermention or 2-3 weeks after the yeast has been pitched? also, with this new style of fermentation i am going to try, how long should it sit in primary fermentation?

 
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acsimmo2 View Post
is that 2-3 weeks in secondary fermention or 2-3 weeks after the yeast has been pitched? also, with this new style of fermentation i am going to try, how long should it sit in primary fermentation?
NO SECONDARY... We do LONG PRIMARY fermentations (100% time on yeast cake)... Racking to secondary for ales, and most brews, is a carry over from the dark ages. With ingredients currently available, you no longer need to rack to secondary. You'll get better brew (faster) with far less risk of contamination, by leaving it in the primary for the duration.

Brew day
2-4 weeks in primary
Sample/test brew
When finished, bottle/keg

NO RACKING TO SECONDARY...

The ONLY time I'm racking to another carboy is when I'm moving the brew OFF of a flavor element, onto another one. Even then, it's only when I want to stop the addition of the previous flavor element. You'll get very clear brews by leaving it in primary. With far less stress to you, or the yeast, in the process...

 
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