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Old 01-25-2013, 09:41 PM   #1
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I have the typical 5 gallon plastic bucket fermentation system. I like to see where the wort is in the process of fermenting? Is it bad if I pop the top of once a day to check on the wort. Attached are days 0,3 and 5 of my wort. I'm trying to win this eat with my gf she thinks it ruins the integrity of the beer.

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Old 01-25-2013, 09:50 PM   #2
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Personally I don't open the fermenter up once it's in the fermentation process. Why? Because when the yeast is working it produces gasses that push the oxygen out of the fermenter. You don't want to expose your brew to oxygen. Also this may sound a bit too paranoid but you also invite exposure to any particles that may be in the air to infect the brew. Just my two cents set it and leave it. If you are wondering if there are ways to tell if your beer is fermenting you can do a hydrometer test and also your airlock should be bumbling away!

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Old 01-25-2013, 09:52 PM   #3
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Well opening it up does increase the chance of an infection, and if the beer has mostly finished fermenting, can cause oxidation related off flavors. A good rule of thumb is after primary fermentation has finished, try to keep it protected from air exposure as much as you can. Opening the bucket while the fermentation is still vigorous is less problematic, because the carbon dioxide will build up again fairly quickly once the bucket is sealed and form a "blanket" that will protect the beer.

Your best bet to see whats taking place without risking harm to your beer is to get a clear fermenter, like a glass carboy or a Better Bottle. I'm planning on getting a Better Bottle carboy as my secondary as soon as tax man drops money into my account

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Old 01-25-2013, 09:53 PM   #4
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I feel your pain of not being able to see the fermentation. The safest bet is to keep it shut but the beer does create a layer of co2 on top of the beer and the krausen will also protect it. It is better to be safe then sorry so limit it somewhat if you can wait.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:34 PM   #5
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Six months ago I would have said opening the lid is a sure path to a raging wild yeast infection. I had one once when I first started that I blamed on peeking at the time. Lately I have been fermenting with English strains in tall buckets with no airlock and the lid just sitting on top. And top-cropping, which is way more scary than peeking. BUT if done right, that is, without breathing into the fermenter, with a sanitized spoon, and at the right time-it seems to be harmless. It seems to help, actually. I have taken to scooping the yeast off even if I don't plan to re-use it.

I wouldn't peek at a bottom-fermenter.
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:33 PM   #6
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If you want to be that nosey, then use a glass or plastic carboy as your primary for a batch once in awhile, then you can watch it, without opening anything. I personally don't open my bucket until 7 - 10 days, to do a gravity reading.

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Old 01-26-2013, 06:20 PM   #7
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I've been doing it for years. If you're careful and thorough with your sanitation, not a problem. IME, it does not lead to oxidation of the beer.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:29 PM   #8
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Oxidation is more of a long term storage issue, opening your fermentor once or twice is not going to lead to oxidized beer.

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Old 01-26-2013, 06:32 PM   #9
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If the bubbles start up and keep rolling within about 12 hours of pitching then don't touch the lid until it is nearly finished fermenting. My theory is that if there is strong fermentation going on, then you can screw it up in a lot of ways. With that said, I generally test and taste at day 4 or 5 and again a couple days later. Then I do it again 5 and 7 days after dry hopping. Some batches may get 8 to 10 tastes before kegging.

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Old 01-26-2013, 06:34 PM   #10
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I don't open my bucket for at least 3 weeks, but I don't think it will hurt it to peek once in while.

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