Open vs Closed Fermentation - Home Brew Forums

Register Now!
Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Open vs Closed Fermentation

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 08-22-2007, 03:15 PM   #1
Sigafoos
 
Sigafoos's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Aug 2007
Buffalo, NY
Posts: 847
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts



Reading Papazian's Joy of Home Brewing, he talks about "closed" vs "open" fermentation, and specifically how closed can be better as it removes some of the bad stuff from the kraeusen that cause headaches, etc.

When I first skimmed the section I thought that open would be where you're going for spontaneous fermentation and closed was in a bucket/carboy that's been sealed with an airlock/blow off tube, but upon reading it seems as though he defines "closed" as "carboy with blow off" and "open" as "using a bucket" (possibly with an airlock? It's been a few days since I read it). This is sort of confusing, and I guess it's "open" because there's air in the bucket (dear Liza, dear Liza) -- but that gets replaced with CO2, doesn't it? -- instead of being filled to the brim with the wort (hence the need for a blow off). I think there may have been something about how a 6.5 carboy is also open (for the same reasons), but maybe now I'm just making stuff up.

Anyway, is this right? Did I get some of the stuff wrong? Is Papazian sort of over-exaggerating? He's also said in a few places that start to finish, beer should take 4 weeks, which seems to go against what most people -- pro- and anti-secondary alike -- have said on here.

Also, is the headache thing something I have to worry about? My friends are BMC folks, and while they liked the microbrew hefe and kolsch I gave them last time they were over I don't want to give them a reason to say "...yeah, but I'll stick with storebought." I want them to either buy their own equipment or start subcontracting out to me once they taste my brew
__________________
Community Beer Works: a Buffalo, NY nanobrewery that is now open!

CBW website | Twitter | Facebook | HBT thread

Niagara Association of Homebrewers ex-President
Live in or around Buffalo? Join NAH for fun and excitement!

[1:47pm] chefmike: and dont listen to sigafoos!
[1:47pm] Sigafoos: that's generally good advice


 
Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2007, 03:33 PM   #2
malkore
 
malkore's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jun 2007
Nebraska
Posts: 6,922
Liked 37 Times on 35 Posts


i have always read that open fermentation = bucket with no lid...rather a cloth over the top to keep large stuff from falling in.
closed = any sealed w/ airlock fermenting vessel.

this is the first time i've seen it reference nothing but head space. technically a blow off tube is just a large airlock, since the end goes into a bucket of santized solution that's big enough to catch any overflow from a vigorous fermentation.

The headache thing is more about fusel alcohols... which is temperature and yeast related...not open vs. closed.
__________________
Malkore
Primary: English Mild
On tap: Pale Ale, Lancelot's Wheat, English Brown Ale, Steam Beer, HoovNuts IPA
Bottled: MOAM, Braggot, Raspberry Melomel, Merlot, Apfelwein, Pyment, Sweet mead, Cabernet
Gal in 2009: 27, Gal in 2010: 34, Gal in 2011: 13, Gal in 2012: 10

 
Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2007, 03:53 PM   #3
Beerthoven
Recipes 
 
May 2007
Cary, NC
Posts: 2,176
Liked 36 Times on 31 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigafoos
Reading Papazian's Joy of Home Brewing, he talks about "closed" vs "open" fermentation, and specifically how closed can be better as it removes some of the bad stuff from the kraeusen that cause headaches, etc.

When I first skimmed the section I thought that open would be where you're going for spontaneous fermentation and closed was in a bucket/carboy that's been sealed with an airlock/blow off tube, but upon reading it seems as though he defines "closed" as "carboy with blow off" and "open" as "using a bucket" (possibly with an airlock? It's been a few days since I read it). This is sort of confusing, and I guess it's "open" because there's air in the bucket (dear Liza, dear Liza) -- but that gets replaced with CO2, doesn't it? -- instead of being filled to the brim with the wort (hence the need for a blow off). I think there may have been something about how a 6.5 carboy is also open (for the same reasons), but maybe now I'm just making stuff up.

Anyway, is this right? Did I get some of the stuff wrong? Is Papazian sort of over-exaggerating?
I think you are right. I've read that section a few times and I also think that he uses the term "closed" to refer to any system with a blow-off tube to remove the kraeusen, and "open" to mean any system that allows it to sink back into the beer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigafoos
He's also said in a few places that start to finish, beer should take 4 weeks, which seems to go against what most people -- pro- and anti-secondary alike -- have said on here.
Well, I think some beers probably are finished in 4 weeks. In the first chapter of his book (http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/index.html), John Palmer demonstrates an extract brew that he bottles after two weeks and is carbonated and ready to drink after another 2 weeks. Personally, I think this is rushing the beer, but it can be done. Most beers benefit from longer aging both before and after bottling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigafoos
Also, is the headache thing something I have to worry about? My friends are BMC folks, and while they liked the microbrew hefe and kolsch I gave them last time they were over I don't want to give them a reason to say "...yeah, but I'll stick with storebought." I want them to either buy their own equipment or start subcontracting out to me once they taste my brew
No, I don't think the headache thing is something you need to worry about. I've drunk (drank? drinked?) lots of homebrews and I almost never get a headache from it.
__________________

Primary/Secondary: #133 Scottish 80/-
Kegged: #132 American Wheat
Planned: IPA, Brown, Pale Ale

 
Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2007, 03:59 PM   #4
Sigafoos
 
Sigafoos's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Aug 2007
Buffalo, NY
Posts: 847
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts


Now that I think about it, my wheat may be done in 4 weeks (primary for 2, bottling this weekend and will taste one a week), but I think that saying all of them will be is misleading.

I was just worried that since my primary is an ale pail, the results would be good but not great. Thanks for clearing that up for me, and also for letting me know I'm not crazy with my interpretation
__________________
Community Beer Works: a Buffalo, NY nanobrewery that is now open!

CBW website | Twitter | Facebook | HBT thread

Niagara Association of Homebrewers ex-President
Live in or around Buffalo? Join NAH for fun and excitement!

[1:47pm] chefmike: and dont listen to sigafoos!
[1:47pm] Sigafoos: that's generally good advice

 
Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2007, 10:29 PM   #5
Jim Karr
 
Jim Karr's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Dec 2005
SW Michigan..Bangor/Covert area
Posts: 1,259
Liked 6 Times on 5 Posts


I think that sometimes, too much emphasis is placed on "airtight" and "keeping out the nasties."

North Peak Brewery in Traverse City Michigan has large cubical fermenters that hold ten barrels each, and they have NO LID. They are completely open, often letting the krausen flow right out onto the floor. Customers freak out!

Their beer is exceptional!
__________________
As for me and my household, we shall serve the Lord. Joshua




"God is great, beer is good, people are crazy." Some country artist

 
Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Closed-system pressurized fermentation technique! WortMonger General Techniques 2241 07-12-2016 06:34 PM
Leave CO2 Bottle Open or Closed rob897 General Techniques 6 09-19-2008 07:12 PM
Bagel dispute: open vs. closed Kai Cooking & Pairing 48 07-02-2008 06:02 PM
closed versus open fermentation VermontFreedom Equipment/Sanitation 5 05-17-2006 04:32 PM
Open or closed? Sasquatch General Techniques 5 06-20-2005 02:15 PM


Forum Jump