Non sealed fermentation. - Home Brew Forums
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:36 PM   #1
Sep 2010
Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 84
Liked 4 Times on 2 Posts

Hey guys,

usually I do my primary fermentation in a bucket with the lid on but not sealed since I have had the chance to make a hole and attach airlock/blowoff ( yes I know I'm lazy ) Usually I leave it in for only max a week to two, to let the vigorous fermentation die down then transfer to an airlocked carboy.

I know that during the main fermentation, the C02 produced essentially protects it (granted not 100%) so its relatively safe, and after that the alcohol usually is enough to prevent infection.

Here's the thing, school lately has kicked my ass left right and center, and I left a brown ale in a primary for like 5 weeks now.

Still tasks fine, no sign of infection, I'm just curious,
How risky is this really? Have I gotten lucky or will the average batch (if properly cleaned ) turn out okay in an "exposed" fermentor?

Primary: Orange Cascade PA, Bedtime Scottish
Bottled/Kegged: Foreign Oatmeal Stout,
Drank :( : Ryeson, GPA Killer, Caramel Saison
Planned: Gruit beer maybe? open to ideas!!

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Old 03-22-2011, 06:11 PM   #2
Dec 2009
Gladstone Oregon, Oregon
Posts: 1,131
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

The key is in the taste! If it tastes fine then you are good to go. As stated by a well known HBT member, "nothing pathogenic to humans can live in beer"!

I have left beers for 3-4 weeks in primary routinely and they are always good. In fact I only use primaries unless I am dry hopping!

Many homebrewers do not use airlocks or even blowoff tubes they do exactly what you do and that is loosely cover the fermentor.

Bottle/keg it and enjoy!

“I don't drink beer all the time but I can drink (a) beer anytime" - Me

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Old 03-22-2011, 06:31 PM   #3
Nov 2010
Waltham, MA
Posts: 495
Liked 11 Times on 11 Posts

Originally, brewers used to keep their fermentors open so wild yeast would ferment the wort. Too this day some micro breweries use open fermentation tanks.

That being said, if there are no off flavors or signs of infection I think you'll be alright.
15 Gallons of New England Hard Cider - Four yeasts: Ale yeast, two cider yeasts, and a champagne yeast.

Helliday Ale and Chocolate Nitro Stout

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Old 03-22-2011, 06:32 PM   #4
Apr 2009
Seattle, WA
Posts: 829
Liked 32 Times on 30 Posts

Yeah heck, people have open-fermented for centuries! You might even catch something nice and funkify your beer in a good way. So long as its covered I wouldn't worry as much about contamination, and oxidation usually (not always) takes a while to show up. I say bottle/keg it, and if it starts to taste funky, you'll just have to drink faster .

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Old 03-22-2011, 10:21 PM   #5
Jan 2011
oakland, california
Posts: 3,294
Liked 159 Times on 149 Posts

someone else pointed out on another thread how people with arthritis or weakness in their hands never seal their buckets at all. i've stopped sealing my buckets, makes it easier to skim off the krausen.

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