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Old 09-02-2012, 07:40 PM   #1
Han_Solo
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I Think...

I had an oatmeal stout with an OG of 1.060 then racked after a few readings of 1.026. Within a few days I had some yeast colonies on the surface and now there's a thin layer of foam on the surface (picture below). There is also some bubbles coming from the bottom that you can see on the side if you look closely (CO2 bubbles?) and there is plenty of airlock activity.

This is supposed to be a relatively low gravity stout but I still think the 1.026 that I had for a few days may have been a little high, which is why I think the fermentation is active again now after the yeast got moved around a bit.

Question is, how long should I wait before bottling? I'm relatively new to this an have mostly been sticking to the 1-2-3 routine and am worried about keeping the yeast around for too long. Should I wait for airlock activity to settle down before taking a gravity reading, or should I take one before? Also, is there anything that could cause the airlock activity other than fermentation?
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:51 PM   #2
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Don't worry about having your beer sit on your yeast for "too long". I've had my beer in primary or secondary for long periods of time (1-2 months) with no problems. You'll read other people on here with times longer than that, even with lower ABV beers.

I'm guessing that you aerated your beer when transferring into secondary, giving the yeast more encouragement to finnish their job. Wait for everything to settle and check SG until you hold steady at your FG. Then bottle.

Airlock "activity" is pressure differences between the baroy and room it's in. There will always be activity, even long long after fermentation is finnished.

If your sanitation methods are solid, I wouldn't worry about this being an infection. The best thing to do is wait, wait, wait, relax and have a homebrew!
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:58 PM   #3
Han_Solo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wSelwyn
Don't worry about having your beer sit on your yeast for "too long". I've had my beer in primary or secondary for long periods of time (1-2 months) with no problems. You'll read other people on here with times longer than that, even with lower ABV beers.

I'm guessing that you aerated your beer when transferring into secondary, giving the yeast more encouragement to finnish their job. Wait for everything to settle and check SG until you hold steady at your FG. Then bottle.

Airlock "activity" is pressure differences between the baroy and room it's in. There will always be activity, even long long after fermentation is finnished.

If your sanitation methods are solid, I wouldn't worry about this being an infection. The best thing to do is wait, wait, wait, relax and have a homebrew!
Thanks for the reassurance. I always sanitize my equipment so (hopefully) that shouldn't be an issue. Assuming that I did aerate the beer when racking, is it the bad kind of aerating that will cause my beer to taste bad? From what I understand I thought the only time to aerate was when you first pitched the yeast.

 
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:11 PM   #4
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I'd wait until the gravity readings are stable for at least three days, and then for a few days at least after that. Once the beer starts to clear, and it's been done for at least 3-5 days, it can be bottled.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:12 PM   #5
wSelwyn
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Han_Solo

Thanks for the reassurance. I always sanitize my equipment so (hopefully) that shouldn't be an issue. Assuming that I did aerate the beer when racking, is it the bad kind of aerating that will cause my beer to taste bad? From what I understand I thought the only time to aerate was when you first pitched the yeast.
True, the time to aerate your beer is only after chilling/yeast pitching time. However, it does seem from your account that the wort may not have been as well aerated at first, thus fermentation taking off again when taking to secondary. I wouldn't worry about if you accidentally over aerated this time. Aerating after pitching (racking to secondary, bottling, etc) can lead to some off flavors like staleness. But I wouldn't worry about it this time. Just think of ways to improve your methods.

I read a transcript a while back on Beer Smith's blog (i think). It was an interview with Palmer about the "myths" of secondary. In it, Palmer explained how he was one of the major culprits in spreading the news on how secondary was necessary. Essentially, he described that, back in the day, yeast available to homebrewers was not of high quality. "Secondary Fermentation" was that; fermentaion would start again after raking into another container. He explained that he knows now that he was re-aerating the wort without realizing it. If I can find the article/podcast, i'll pass it on to you.

BTW, I still secondary from time to time. To each their own methods. There are many many debates here on HBT about secondary fermentaion.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:21 PM   #6
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Han,

Your fine bud, its happend to me a couple times.
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:45 AM   #7
Han_Solo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wSelwyn

True, the time to aerate your beer is only after chilling/yeast pitching time. However, it does seem from your account that the wort may not have been as well aerated at first, thus fermentation taking off again when taking to secondary. I wouldn't worry about if you accidentally over aerated this time. Aerating after pitching (racking to secondary, bottling, etc) can lead to some off flavors like staleness. But I wouldn't worry about it this time. Just think of ways to improve your methods.

I read a transcript a while back on Beer Smith's blog (i think). It was an interview with Palmer about the "myths" of secondary. In it, Palmer explained how he was one of the major culprits in spreading the news on how secondary was necessary. Essentially, he described that, back in the day, yeast available to homebrewers was not of high quality. "Secondary Fermentation" was that; fermentaion would start again after raking into another container. He explained that he knows now that he was re-aerating the wort without realizing it. If I can find the article/podcast, i'll pass it on to you.

BTW, I still secondary from time to time. To each their own methods. There are many many debates here on HBT about secondary fermentaion.
That'd be great if you could pass on that article.

Since we are on the topic, is aerating your beer as simple as exposing it to the air?

 
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:24 AM   #8
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If you are using a dry yeast you don't need to aerate. I just dump into the carboy when it is about 80 degrees and shake the piss out of it. let it sit in the ice bath a little longer, shake, ice, till it is in the low 60s

 
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