Fermentation went very quickly, a little concerned...

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DRoyLenz

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Hey All -
So, this is my first batch, and I'm very excited. At the same time, I am definitely encountering all of the typical first-time jitters. I've already freaked out about cleaning/sanitation, pitch temperature, and fermentation temperature. I've eased my mind about those, but I have one last concern that I was hoping to address.

I woke up about 12 hours after pitching my yeast (dry yeast) and noticed some good-looking activity in my airlock. 18 hours, still looked good. 24 hours after pitching, it looked like the process had stalled. I took a hydrometer reading after 48 hours, and noticed that it had already gotten down to the manufacturer's specs for the final gravity of 1.013 (adjusted for temperature) and the temperature at this time was 76F. Based on everything I had read, this happened VERY quickly. Perhaps, too quickly. It should also be noted that when I took my hydrometer reading, the beer smelled like beer, but it smelled a little stale. It smelled like your house a day after a big party, and you didn't clean up all the beer cups (this is what concerns me the most, I don't want stale beer).

A few things you may want to know. I'm using a malt extract kit, assembled and packaged by Midwest Supplies (http://www.brew-winemaking.com/ProductPDF/3357.pdf). The OG was 1.030, which I realized was a bit low, but there are a number of reasons I have deduced that could've caused this. I didn't adjust for temperature, and the wort may not have been fully mixed with my top-off water prior to measurement. I pitched at approximately 82F.

I will do another hydrometer reading tonight when I get home from work (about 72 hours after pitching yeast). If I have a constant hydrometer reading for 3-4 days, I'm going to rack to my carboy for conditioning. :off: Is there any way for me to filter out some sediment while siphoning to my carboy? I'd like my final beer to be as clear as possible.

Given what I've said so far, is there any reason to be concerned about such a rapid fermentation process?

Thanks for your help,

Dave
 

Scut_Monkey

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Dave,

I would not worry at all about it. It seems that your starting gravity was a little low but like you said it could be from stratification. The most important thing is that you hit your FG because this is the only thing you can really worry about now. Your relatively low starting gravity is actually the ideal gravity for making a starter wort which may have allowed the yeast to reproduce very quickly leading to a quick fermentation. Also, your pitching temp of 82F would do this as well by ramping up the yeast metabolism. The beer always smells stale when it's fermenting because there is no carbonation and it's warm. Do not worry about the "stale smell" at all.

As far as racking goes, simply rack it to the secondary and most of the trub will be left behind because racking canes or autosiphons are designed to sit slightly above the trub and leave it within the discarded fermentor. Since you are doing an extract batch you should have great clarity compared to all-grain. It sounds like your did a great job on it.... now the tough part is waiting even longer.
 

daveooph131

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Everything sounds fine....It is good you are already to final FG, that is ok. The smell, well I have had some nasty smelling beers during fermentation and they turn out great. In fact most yeast produce some foul smells. So do not worry about that at all.

Take it for what it is worth - but I would probably leave in the primary for 2 weeks, then take another hydrometer reading. If you get the same reading that far apart you know it has finished ferementing. I try to minimize the number of hydro readings I take. Also, by leaving in primary about 2 weeks, most of the yeast will fall out of suspension and to the bottom, making for a cleaner (less sediment) filled transfer to secondary. Once in secondary wait another 3 weeks, take another hydro reading at this point, and then bottle or keg. This is just how I generally rack my beers and they turn out good. Then again some people transfer from primary to secondary right after fermentation as slowed down (3-4 days). Your call.
 
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DRoyLenz

DRoyLenz

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Great, I feel a bit more at ease.

I'm sure you guys can relate. I don't have any kids (besides my first brew here), but I liken this to worrying about your kids staying out after dark. Best logic tells you they're going to be fine, but you can't help but worry.

I'm sure as I get more experience, I'll learn a little bit more about what to expect.

Thanks for your help!
 

elkdog

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Sounds like you had a good fermentation. You're screwed now, because you probably made good beer, and you're gonna have to drink it. Then you'll want to make more good beer, and you'll never escape.
 

Arkador

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Some beers ferment quick, expically in the mid 70's. My Rasberry Ale hit final gravity in 48 hours, and I left it for the remainder of the first week in primary, them moved it to secondary.

If you want that improved clarity, definatley send it to secondary, and start getting ready to enjoy it!
 

brian_g

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Hey All -
If I have a constant hydrometer reading for 3-4 days, I'm going to rack to my carboy for conditioning. :off: Is there any way for me to filter out some sediment while siphoning to my carboy? I'd like my final beer to be as clear as possible.

Dave
I've tried different things. I've tried tying cheese cloth to the end of the autosyphin. I've also tried using clairifiers. I didn't like either of these options. With the cheese cloth, I ended up loosing a lot of beer. The yeast would start to clog up the cheesecloth and I'd loose suction. The problem with clairifiers is that they can make the yeast stick to everything. This makes cleaning hoses and tap difficult.

Here's a trick I learned with wine making. Rack one more time. I like to rack my wine and then the last half gallon rack into a 1 gallon jug. I try to get every last drop in the gallon jug. Then I let the one gallon jug settle and rack again. I rack off the one gallon jug first. This way if I get some yeast into the wine, I wont add the wine from the larger carboy. If all goes well with the 1 gal. I rack the rest of the wine.
 

Hang Glider

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DRoy,
congrats on your first brew. I'm sure I fermented my first one warmer than that, and I was pleased with it.
As you progress, see if you can keep it in the yeast manufacturer's recommended temperature range. The mid to high 70's will certainly get you a fast ferment, but you'll enjoy your beer more as you control those ferment temps.
 
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