Quantcast

Denny's quick and dirty FAQ

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Messages
7,733
Reaction score
74
Location
Nanaimo, BC
Some of this can be argued to death but generally the following is true (real world experience vs theory). Also, the point of these answers is to dispel the inaccurate "You can NOT" myths. There can be arguments for which is better but the following are true IME.

I think we need a simplified FAQ for this time of year. Something like:

Question: Can I use Twist off bottles?
Answer: YES. But only if you use a Bench Capper. A hand capper will not work well for this.

You can use bleach as a sanitizer, but it is hard to rinse, can mess up your clothing and there are better alternatives out there. (Star san, iodopher, etc/)
(Arguably oxiclean will also sanitize as well if you use 1/2 scoop per gallon and soak for a few hours).

You can use aluminum for brewing. Make sure you oxidize (cure) the inside of the pot by boiling water in it for 20(?) minutes.

You can use plastic for a secondary. You can also use a blue polycarbonite 5g water bottle, though they may or my not contain bip-B (which would also be an issue when drinking water).
Oxygen transference is pretty much non-issue.

A secondary is not necessary, but often recommended. There is no such thing as "secondary fermentation", it is a clearing and aging vessel/process (also known as a bright tank, and often aged cold).

Autolysis is a much over exaggerated problem. If the yeast (beer) is kept at cool temps (cellar or below) it will not be an issue. Especially when aging for less than 3 months. I have aged beer in the primary for over a year with no problems.

Three weeks fermenting is the recommended minimum fermentation time. 3 weeks before bottling or kegging. And that is a minimum. Use you hydrometer to see if fermentation is done but leave at least 3 weeks regardless to ensure the yeast have time to enter there bi-product clean up stage.

Once bottled, 3 weeks is about what it takes in order to have fully carbed beer that is not green. There are different stratagems regarding how much time in the primary and secondary but over all 3 weeks is the minimum. If you are using a secondary, leave it in the primary at least 1 week!

your yeasties will be happier and your beer will taste cleaner and usually better if you ferment at the lower end of the temperature range for the yeast.

And keep in mind that ambient temperature and fermentation temperature can be two different things.

If your ambient temperature (room temp) is 68, your fermentation temperature may be up to 8-10 degrees higher because your yeast gives off a ton of heat during a fermentation which will raise the temperature of your beer.

a starter is not needed for dry yeast. Follow the instructions on the package for best results

a starter is encouraged for liquid yeast (and a "starter" is not just smaking the Wyeast smack pack - a starter is made from water and DME to make a "mini-beer" to help get your yeast count up to where it should be for proper pitching rates: see:http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html for further information.
If you are brewing extract your original gravity reading may NOT match what your recipe says it should be. If you have the correct final volume, don't worry. It is nearly impossible short of stirring for over 5 minutes, to really integrate the heavier wort with the top of water. It WILL HAPPEN AUTOMATICALLY once fermentation begins. But don't sweat that initial reading. It happens all the time.

It often takes up to 72 hours after yeast pitching for the yeast to start working on your beer, it is called lag time, and it is the time that they are reproducing enough cells to being working on your beer.

Don't go by airlock bubbling as a sign of anything. Some beers ferment without a bubble, some airlocks bubble in the beginning but slow down or actually stop, while fermentation is still continuing, the airlock is a vent for excess co2, and if it's not bubbling it just means there is not an over abundance of co2. Nothing more.

The 1-2-3 rule is really silly. It doesn't take into account the afore mentioned lag time. If you count your one week at yeast pitch, have a lagtime of 3 days, and arbitrarily move your beer after a week, you may be interrupting the actual fermentation time. If you do decide to adhere to the 1-2-3 rule, don't start counting the week until you actually see a krausen or yeast activity.




What else am I missing?
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
64,961
Reaction score
16,497
the fermentation time in the directions for kits varies widely.

Some use the 1-2-3 rule (1 week primary, 2 weeks secondary, 3 weeks in the bottles).

You will make better beer (IMO) if you do at least 2-2-3; though many skip the secondary tank and just leave in the primary for at least 3 weeks.
 

Revvy

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 11, 2007
Messages
41,302
Reaction score
3,673
Location
"Detroitish" Michigan
If you are brewing extract your original gravity reading may NOT match what your recipe says it should be. If you have the correct final volume, don't worry. It is nearly impossible short of stirring for over 5 minutes, to really integrate the heavier wort with the top of water. It WILL HAPPEN AUTOMATICALLY once fermentation begins. But don't sweat that initial reading. It happens all the time.

It often takes up to 72 hours after yeast pitching for the yeast to start working on your beer, it is called lag time, and it is the time that they are reproducing enough cells to being working on your beer.

Don't go by airlock bubbling as a sign of anything. Some beers ferment without a bubble, some airlocks bubble in the beginning but slow down or actually stop, while fermentation is still continuing, the airlock is a vent for excess co2, and if it's not bubbling it just means there is not an over abundance of co2. Nothing more.

The 1-2-3 rule is really silly. It doesn't take into account the afore mentioned lag time. If you count your one week at yeast pitch, have a lagtime of 3 days, and arbitrarily move your beer after a week, you may be interrupting the actual fermentation time. If you do decide to adhere to the 1-2-3 rule, don't start counting the week until you actually see a krausen or yeast activity.
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
64,961
Reaction score
16,497
your yeasties will be happier and your beer will taste cleaner and usually better if you ferment at the lower end of the temperature range for the yeast.

And keep in mind that ambient temperature and fermentation temperature can be two different things.

If your ambient temperature (room temp) is 68, your fermentation temperature may be up to 8-10 degrees higher because your yeast gives off a ton of heat during a fermentation which will raise the temperature of your beer.
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
64,961
Reaction score
16,497
a starter is not needed for dry yeast. Follow the instructions on the package for best results

a starter is encouraged for liquid yeast (and a "starter" is not just smaking the Wyeast smack pack - a starter is made from water and DME to make a "mini-beer" to help get your yeast count up to where it should be for proper pitching rates: see:http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html for further information.
 

RogueVassar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2009
Messages
162
Reaction score
3
Location
Northfield
If you're going for facts, I think it's misleading to say that 3 weeks is the minimum recommended fermenting time. I would switch that to opinion and replace it with hydrometer readings are the only way to know how the fermentation is going.
 
OP
Denny's Evil Concoctions
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Messages
7,733
Reaction score
74
Location
Nanaimo, BC
If you're going for facts, I think it's misleading to say that 3 weeks is the minimum recommended fermenting time. I would switch that to opinion and replace it with hydrometer readings are the only way to know how the fermentation is going.
True but there is also more going on than fermentation. Just because a hydrometer says it's done does not mean it's ready either.
 

xinunix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2009
Messages
69
Reaction score
1
In addition to your statement about Autolysis should you also add one about Hot Side Aeration being a much over exaggerated problem? That seems to be the general consensus here...
 

nigel31

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2009
Messages
147
Reaction score
1
Location
Hoboken, NJ
I beg to differ about your stating emphatically that there is no such thing about true secondary fermentation. While most use secondary vessels as a means of clarifying brews, if one adds something fermentable (e.g., brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses) to the secondary vessel, then the remaining yeast in suspension will indeed ferment for a second time.

If I'm wrong about this, then please forgive and correct, as I'm quite new to this all.
 

carnevoodoo

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 17, 2007
Messages
4,258
Reaction score
24
Location
San Diego, CA
I beg to differ about your stating emphatically that there is no such thing about true secondary fermentation. While most use secondary vessels as a means of clarifying brews, if one adds something fermentable (e.g., brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses) to the secondary vessel, then the remaining yeast in suspension will indeed ferment for a second time.

If I'm wrong about this, then please forgive and correct, as I'm quite new to this all.
No, you're right about that. That would be a secondary fermentation.

I also think that some of these are opinions. The three week rule for fermentation seems a little arbitrary and not taking a lot of things into consideration. For a low gravity beer, two weeks is typically enough. For some bigger beers, you might need 4-6. There's no magic number.

I think using twist offs is potentially dangerous. Sure, the caps might seal, but the glass is much thinner and more prone to breaking.

You can use bleach, but it is more likely to mess up your beer than your clothes. You did not point out the destructive qualities of bleach on beer. It is disgusting.

I think that there's a lot of conjecture and oversimplification in this thread. I don't think that it is too healthy to a new brewer to get ideas in their heads that aren't solid fact.
 

F_R_O_G

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2013
Messages
212
Reaction score
14
Location
north Seattle
not to troll this post but people will just blindly fallow anything that they see on the internet most of the time when dealing with making beer. (not to say the authors post aren't completely correct, they are) there needs to be less anecdotal evidence and more references to reputable research. if i may i will had some references... most from the same book

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"You can use bleach as a sanitizer"

this is mostly a concern with plastics, but like Danny said there are better alternatives

"The main thing to keep in mind when cleaning plastics is that they may adsorb odors and stains from the cleaning products you use. Dish detergents are your best bet for general cleaning, but scented detergents should be avoided. Bleach is useful for heavy duty cleaning, but the odor can remain and bleach tends to cloud vinyl tubing. Percarbonate cleaners have the benefit of cleaning as well as bleach without the odor and clouding problems." John Palmer http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter2-2-2.html

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"You can use aluminum for brewing."

I may go so far as to say it's preferred in some situations like heating up part of the mash for decoction. this is because of it's high heat transfer ability, preventing scorching of the grains.

(not going to type it all out)

John Palmer "how to brew" pg 171, 3rd ed

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"You can use plastic for a secondary."

absolutely can, just make sure you clean it well.

"There are basically three kinds of plastic that you will be cleaning: opaque white polypropylene, hard clear polycarbonate and clear soft vinyl tubing. You will often hear the polypropylene referred to as "food grade plastic", though all three of these plastics are. Polypropylene is used for utensils, fermenting buckets and fittings. Polycarbonate is used for racking canes and measuring cups. The vinyl tubing is used for siphons and the like."
John Palmer http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter2-2-2.html

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Autolysis is a much over exaggerated problem."

though i haven't seen many post exaggerating autolysis. I have had my own LHBS incorrectly tell me that i had a Autolysis problem when it was just a low pitching rate problem.

"I should mention that by brewing with healthy yeast in a well-prepared wort, many experienced brewers, myself included, have been able to leave a beer in the primary fermenter for several months without any evidence of autolysis. Autolysis is not inevitable, but it is lurking."
John Palmer http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter10-3.html

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Three weeks fermenting is the recommended minimum fermentation time."

this would be a good standard. but some well made, low gravity beers may be done in 2 weeks. others will take 6 months plus. this is in addition to bottling time.

"Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermentor for a total of 2-3 weeks (instead of just the one week most canned kits recommend), will provide time for the conditioning reactions and improve the beer."
John Palmer http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter8-2-3.html

"Different beer styles benefit from different lengths of conditioning. Generally, the higher the Original Gravity, the longer the conditioning time to reach peak flavor. Small beers like 1.035 Pale Ales will reach peak flavor within a couple weeks of bottling. Stronger/more complex ales, like Stouts, may require a month or more. Very strong beers like Doppelbocks and Barleywines will require 6 months to a year before they condition to their peak flavor."
John Palmer http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter8-4.html

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AZ_IPA says:
"your yeasties will be happier and your beer will taste cleaner and usually better if you ferment at the lower end of the temperature range for the yeast.

And keep in mind that ambient temperature and fermentation temperature can be two different things."

If your ambient temperature (room temp) is 68, your fermentation temperature may be up to 8-10 degrees higher because your yeast gives off a ton of heat during a fermentation which will raise the temperature of your beer."

yup, i think this is pretty well established

"The internal temperature of the fermentor can be as much as 10F above ambient conditions, just due to yeast activity. This is one good reason to keep the fermentor in the proper temperature range; so that with a normal vigorous fermentation, the beer turns out as intended, even if it was warmer than the surroundings."
John Palmer http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter8-1-3.html

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"a starter is not needed for dry yeast. Follow the instructions on the package for best results"

this is not completely actuate. For most beers a starter is not required, but for high gravity beers you will have to use a starter with dry yeast just like liquid yeast. you may not always have to use a starter with liquid yeast either. here is the table to know if you need a starter or not based on wort gravity to pitching rate.

https://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_pitchrates.cfm
John Palmer "how to brew" pg 68 and 101, 3rd ed has a much better table

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ok i'm done for now, i wouldn't recommend any new brewer to search online for answers. there is just to much misinformation. it's much better to get a book. I believe that by reading books i have been able to make much better beer than i would have by reading anything online. got to get back to my yeast book now :)
 

unionrdr

Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
39,162
Reaction score
3,778
Location
Sheffield
All good information. but I prefer PBW for cleaning,as it'll soak just about anything clean. Rinse well & use Starsan to sanitize. Being a no rinse sanitizer negates any rinseing that could re-introduce nasties,as with bleach or the cleaner/sanitizer Cooper's used to sell. I still have the lil jar I only used once stashed away. And my better bottle makes a great occasional secondary,so I agree there as well. And autolysis isn't impossible,but very unlikely at our scale of brewing. It's the craft/commercial brewers & those silo-sized fermenters exerting so much pressure on the yeast & trub that cause it on that scale. So within 2 weeks to a couple months shouldn't be a problem,dpending on the gravity of the wort being fermented. I've found about 3 weeks,give or take a couple days,is a good average for ales from 1.038 to like 1.065 or so,ime. I made a starter for some 2 year old Cooper's ale yeast (7g) that came in an old can of OS lager. It needed a blow off when it got going the next morning. So they can be of some help with dry yeast. But most of the time,rehydrating is fine. Again,in my experience.
 

superdave12

Back of the Yards Brewing Company
Joined
Aug 7, 2010
Messages
34
Reaction score
4
Location
Saint Louis
I beg to differ about your stating emphatically that there is no such thing about true secondary fermentation. While most use secondary vessels as a means of clarifying brews, if one adds something fermentable (e.g., brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses) to the secondary vessel, then the remaining yeast in suspension will indeed ferment for a second time.

If I'm wrong about this, then please forgive and correct, as I'm quite new to this all.
You're one hundred percent correct for certain styles like Trappist Beers and Sour ales. If you add a second yeast strain after primary fermentation, the beer is absolutely entering a secondary fermentation.
 

Subdivisions

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2014
Messages
895
Reaction score
194
Location
Pittsburgh
You're one hundred percent correct for certain styles like Trappist Beers and Sour ales. If you add a second yeast strain after primary fermentation, the beer is absolutely entering a secondary fermentation.
You realize this is a 5 year old post and the user you quoted hasn't logged in for 3 years?

I understand that people reply to posts that they do a search on, just remember that those posts are really old most of the time. It happens a lot, just trying to inform.
 
Top