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Bomber fridgmenter

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Quick update so far.
Brew day (25th feb) went ok.
Little stressful with regards ocd cleaning as all the equipment was purchased 2nd hand.
Small worries so far.
1. OG was slightly below kit calculated. The kit doesn’t give a target OG, only an FG 1.011. Bearing in mind it’s supposed to be a 5% I calculated a target 1.049. My batch was 1.046. Before second batch I will calibrate the FV by weight. Just in case I’m a little over on my volume. I will also spend an extra 20mins stirring to ensure 100% ingredients dissolved although I’m pretty sure they were.

2. I fitted the bubbler to the FV with sanitiser in it and then lifted it to carry it out to the fermentation cabinet. 50% of the sanitiser was sucked back into the top of the wort. Not ideal.
Will ensure I don’t fit the bubbler until it’s in situ next batch.

Apart from the above, which hopefully won’t have had a detrimental effect, the fermentation appears to be really good.
Nice consistent, regular vigorous bubbling and the fermentation cabinet is holding the wort to within 0.5degC of target. 21 +/- 0.25C. I’m very impressed by that.
Next step is to dry hop on Monday.
Currently going through the 2nd hand bottles I have and getting those prepared.
Plan is to bottle in some new and some used bottles.
 

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Quick update so far.
Brew day (25th feb) went ok.

Next step is to dry hop on Monday.
Currently going through the 2nd hand bottles I have and getting those prepared.
Plan is to bottle in some new and some used bottles.
I'm really not the guy to ask this as I don't dry hop, but I see a lot on this site about only adding aroma hops for a couple of days. Is this an aroma hop addition? Are you expecting to bottle soon?

From what you've related, you are brewing at a more advanced level than I ever aspired to, even though I've been at it since 1994. Feel free to ignore my input. :)

Welcome to the hobby.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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Hi P, I have no idea regarding the hops. Just following the kit instructions. Add hop pellets at day 5 and then leave for 7 days. I’m going to give it the 2 weeks then check FG. if it’s down to the required I’ll rack it add the priming sugar and bottle. If it hasn’t reached its FG I’ll give it another couple of days and check again.
 

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Sounds like you are in good shape. Glad to hear your fermentation chamber held temps where you wanted.

With respect to dry hopping 7 days or longer schedules seem to be going out of favor. They (7 day, 10 day, 14 day, 6 months in the keg) dry hop schedules worked fine for lots of people for lots of years but these days a lot of brewers are pushing much shorter dry hopping schedules. I think you will be fine either way.

I do think you should try to be really careful with oxygen exposure from here on out. When you add your dry hops be quick about it and do it soon enough that there will still be a lot of CO2 in suspension in the fermenting beer or even do it when fermentation is still active but slowing down. And go easy on taking gravity samples. I think you are better off waiting three weeks to bottle than go in and get gravity samples on days 10, 12 and 14 to be sure it is ready to bottle on day 12 or 14 based on sequential readings not changing. If you go three weeks before bottling, see no visual signs of fermentation when going to bottle and it is at expected final gravity on day 21 when you are bottling, you are going to be fine. Those daily or every other day gravity samples are going to oxygenate your beer and really hurt that hop character you are going for in a dry hopped ale.
 

IslandLizard

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fermentation cabinet is holding the wort to within 0.5degC of target.
Wort becomes... beer as soon as you pitched yeast. ;)

What is your fermentation cabinet? Is it actively cooling (like a fridge)?
Where's the temp probe located?
How is it attached to the fermenter?

Never mind, you already answered it in your previous thread.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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Wort becomes... beer as soon as you pitched yeast. ;)

What is your fermentation cabinet? Is it actively cooling (like a fridge)?
Where's the temp probe located?
How is it attached to the fermenter?

Never mind, you already answered it in your previous thread.
Forgive my ignorance. Very new to this brewing game. Lol. Every days a school day.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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Sounds like you are in good shape. Glad to hear your fermentation chamber held temps where you wanted.

With respect to dry hopping 7 days or longer schedules seem to be going out of favor. They (7 day, 10 day, 14 day, 6 months in the keg) dry hop schedules worked fine for lots of people for lots of years but these days a lot of brewers are pushing much shorter dry hopping schedules. I think you will be fine either way.

I do think you should try to be really careful with oxygen exposure from here on out. When you add your dry hops be quick about it and do it soon enough that there will still be a lot of CO2 in suspension in the fermenting beer or even do it when fermentation is still active but slowing down. And go easy on taking gravity samples. I think you are better off waiting three weeks to bottle than go in and get gravity samples on days 10, 12 and 14 to be sure it is ready to bottle on day 12 or 14 based on sequential readings not changing. If you go three weeks before bottling, see no visual signs of fermentation when going to bottle and it is at expected final gravity on day 21 when you are bottling, you are going to be fine. Those daily or every other day gravity samples are going to oxygenate your beer and really hurt that hop character you are going for in a dry hopped ale.
Thanks for the info. That makes perfect sense. I had been concerned about introducing oxygen from here on in.
I like the idea of leaving 21 days too if that’s seen as a good thing. How about adding the hops later as mentioned by another member. Perhaps hopping on day 16. Then just racking and bottling on day 21 and the FG is what it is. That is of course as long as the bubbler has stopped.
I had also considered putting a sampling tap in the FV at about the 12l mark as a means of sampling without having to disturb the fermentation. Thoughts?
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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Yeah. You could even dry hop just before cold crash, just smash the pellets. Search in the internet, there are few articles about.
I hadt considered cold crashing it.
Is this recommend for this ale.
If so and I’m looking to bottle on day 21 what are your thoughts for timing and process to cold crash.
Do you just set temp as low as it will go in one hit. Or reduce more slowly over a few days.
When cold crashing what do you guys do with bubblers to stop suck back at the beer cools and pulls a mild vacuum. Or doesn’t this occur.
 

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Dont cold crash unless you have a way to prevent it from sucking air back through your airlock. The suckback can be substantial depending on headspace in your fermentor. Just let the hops settle out naturally.

The faster dry hopping techniques do seem to need cold crashing to get the beer reasonably clear before packaging but that works best in a well sealed fermentor that you can connect to a gas regulator at 1-2 PSI. There are some techniques for capturing fermentation gas in a mylar balloon or similar and using that to cold crash but I imagine you are too far in to do that on this batch.

Really the best thing you can do is get your dry hops in there and leave the beer alone until you are ready to bottle.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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Dont cold crash unless you have a way to prevent it from sucking air back through your airlock. The suckback can be substantial depending on headspace in your fermentor. Just let the hops settle out naturally.

The faster dry hopping techniques do seem to need cold crashing to get the beer reasonably clear before packaging but that works best in a well sealed fermentor that you can connect to a gas regulator at 1-2 PSI. There are some techniques for capturing fermentation gas in a mylar balloon or similar and using that to cold crash but I imagine you are too far in to do that on this batch.

Really the best thing you can do is get your dry hops in there and leave the beer alone until you are ready to bottle.
So no cold crashing of this brew. ( possibly the next once I look deeper into it).
Hops in before it has full finished fermenting and leave to settle. I was planing on putting the pellets in a hop bag to try to and reduce the amount in suspension.
May still slowing increase the temp to assist the yeast clean up and finish. Then bottle around day 19-21. And only take the single FG prior to bottling.
How does that sound.
 

eric19312

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yep that is what I would do. hop bag is optional but if you use weight it down with some marbles or something. make sure plenty of room in the bag for the pellets to expand.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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yep that is what I would do. hop bag is optional but if you use weight it down with some marbles or something. make sure plenty of room in the bag for the pellets to expand.
Yep saw someone on YouTube use a spoon to weigh the bag down.
Do you agree with the temp increase up to the high end of the yeast, Say 25C and at what point would you start that.
 

eric19312

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I do raise my temps at end of fermentation. Don't know if it really matters especially when you are willing to give it 3 weeks. I probably dont go much higher than 22-23C. I start at about 18-19C let that go till airlock is slowing down and then bump it up. That is for US-05 yeast. Every strain will be a little different but this is what I use most of the time.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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I do raise my temps at end of fermentation. Don't know if it really matters especially when you are willing to give it 3 weeks. I probably dont go much higher than 22-23C. I start at about 18-19C let that go till airlock is slowing down and then bump it up. That is for US-05 yeast. Every strain will be a little different but this is what I use most of the time.
Cool. Mines sitting at an almost constant 21C from day 1. Do you notice an increase in fermentation when you increase the temp. If so may be a good way to re-establish a CO2 blanket after hopping.
 

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To be honest this is one of the things I do because I don't really know for sure. It is traditionally used for lagers (diacetyl rest, clean up VDKs and whatnot) but brewers claim it helps with ales too. I think of it in terms of trying to gently keep the yeast active to finish the beer before they all go to sleep.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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Hi guys. Just noticed today while checking things, that the fermentation fridge has a noticeable smell of ripe banana.
Yeast was pitched 4 days ago and fermentation has been nice and active. Temperature is a very stable 21C since starting.
Is this possible just because the beer is gassing off In a sealed cabinet and thus potentially not an issue. Or is it a sign of something that has gone wrong. If the later is it potentially correctable or nothing to worry about.
Thanks.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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That temperature is that if the beer not the fridge space. It hasn’t varied more than 0.6deg C.
 

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Quick update so far.
Brew day (25th feb) went ok.
Little stressful with regards ocd cleaning as all the equipment was purchased 2nd hand.
Small worries so far.
1. OG was slightly below kit calculated. The kit doesn’t give a target OG, only an FG 1.011. Bearing in mind it’s supposed to be a 5% I calculated a target 1.049. My batch was 1.046. Before second batch I will calibrate the FV by weight. Just in case I’m a little over on my volume. I will also spend an extra 20mins stirring to ensure 100% ingredients dissolved although I’m pretty sure they were.

2. I fitted the bubbler to the FV with sanitiser in it and then lifted it to carry it out to the fermentation cabinet. 50% of the sanitiser was sucked back into the top of the wort. Not ideal.
Will ensure I don’t fit the bubbler until it’s in situ next batch.

Apart from the above, which hopefully won’t have had a detrimental effect, the fermentation appears to be really good.
Nice consistent, regular vigorous bubbling and the fermentation cabinet is holding the wort to within 0.5degC of target. 21 +/- 0.25C. I’m very impressed by that.
Next step is to dry hop on Monday.
Currently going through the 2nd hand bottles I have and getting those prepared.
Plan is to bottle in some new and some used bottles.
Helpful notes, thank you. I'm a seasoned wine maker, beginner beer maker. I wouldn't be overly concerned about those gravities, but reading the posts of others on this website would indicate otherwise.
 

eric19312

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Fermentation smells can vary by yeast type and recipe. What you smell in the airlock may or may end up in the beer or it may all gas off through the airlock. If the beer does end up with unwanted banana flavor here is what google says could be the issue. Depending on yeast and recipe I'd say 21C is warmer than I normally ferment and could be the issue (if it turns out there was an issue). I would not try to do anything about it at this point, especially don't try to lower the temperature now...let the beer finish at this temperature and consider fermenting at a lower temperature on your next batch.

5. MY BEER SMELLS OF BANANA
Off flavours in beer off flavours 6
Off Flavour: Estery

Chemical Name: Isoamyl acetate

How to Identify: This one can smell of banana or pear drops and to a lesser extent, strawberry, raspberry and grapefruit.

What it is: Isoamyl acetate is a common ester flavour present in all beers. Concentrations vary considerably from beer to beer. It is a key flavour character in some lagers and ales and a signature flavour character in German-style wheat beer (Hefeweizens) and many Belgian ales.

How it is caused: This is a naturally occurring by-product of fermentation. Strong fruity flavours or fruity flavours that are inappropriate for the style of beer are sometimes a result of under pitching or high fermentation temperatures. As a general rule, the higher the fermentation temperature, the more esters the yeast will produce. Low oxygen levels can also help increase the production of esters.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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Thanks for the info, it’s always very well received.
Just for clarity, no idea which yeast strain is supplied with the kit, only that the instructions said to ferment between 20-25C. Having done some further research i chose to ferment on the lower end of that scale. I also wondered if the smell is accentuated, due to being in a sealed box, so you get an abnormal concentration when you first open the door.
fingers crossed this is the case and all is fine. I’m also hoping that leaving it on the yeast for 3 weeks, will allow the yeast to clean up a little. This is such an interesting journey, and potentially falling a little into the newbie OCD worries.
Thanks again for the continued info and help.
 

eric19312

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For sure the smell is concentrated in your sealed box and may not be significant in the beer--will find out in a few weeks. You obviously have bought into the importance of temperature control...I tried researching those Festival kits and can see they don't identify the yeast strain. They also seem to provide same fermentation temperature guidance for multiple kits...20-25C. I think steering new brewers to brewing warmer is a way to get the beers to finish quickly and perhaps with less yeast.

I'm curious about how much yeast they are giving you. Is it a standard 11 gram packet or are they trying to get away with a 5 gram packet? If the later I'd buy a different kit or at least buy yeast seperately.

The low end of that range is at the high end of the range recommended by liquid yeast suppliers like White Labs for their british yeasts...some of those yeasts to get up to 21 or 23 at their top ends but not many. Yeast is a huge contributor to beer flavor and can contribute very different flavors at different temperatures. Consider trying a lower temperature next time (maybe 18 or 19C) and see which beer comes out more to your liking.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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This is the next kit I have ready to go when this one has finished and bottled.
if I can get the 40 bottles and FV in at the same time I will if not it will get started when the bottles come out of the cabinet after they have had a week or two carbinating.
the yeast pack is 10g and just says “old ale” on it. Now I know how accurate I can control the fermentation temp i will definitely start this at a lower temp.
don’t know if the pictures give you any more info. First week is up tomorrow. Still got to work out best time to add the dry hops.
 

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Then bottle around day 19-21. And only take the single FG prior to bottling.
Many brewers do something like this and don't have problems. But it's not as sure as taking gravity readings three days apart to be sure gravity is stable. If you won't be checking for stable gravity, I suggest conditioning the bottles in a plastic bin with protection from possible exploding bottles, and handle them carefully. And when opening the first bottle of a batch, I always wrap a doubled towel around the bottle and open it away from me. And I wear safety glasses.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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Hi I think I read that in an old post you wrote with regard bottling.
I have purchased a wine thief so it should be relatively easy to get a sample without causing too much disturbance. I may get an FG on day19 and another on day 21. I had considered putting a tap in the FV about mid beer point to enable getting a sample from the side of the vessel.
 

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If you're putting a spigot on it, why not put it near the bottom so you can transfer without a siphon? It's pretty common.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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Yep that could certainly be a good option. Is using the spigot a tried and safe way to get samples for SG rather than a measuring cylinder in the top.
 

IslandLizard

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Beginners all seem to want to tinker with their beer.

Hi... <sigh>
My name is IslandLizard... Hi, IslandLizard!
I'm a beginning brewer...
I couldn't wait to rack to a secondary! As if the beer (and the rest of the known universe) depended on it! Counting days and watching (not sure for what). Taking hydrometer samples... I was determined to rack it off that damn yeast, before... uh, what?

Beer is best left alone, at the right (and mostly constant) temp, in the dark.
Then package when it's ready to be packaged.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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Thanks for the reply.
I would hate to take something the wrong way and miss judge a persons intentions, so just wanted to clarify if the reply was meant to be patronising or be playful and in jest (banter).
i suspect the later, as I see you are a moderator on the forum and so are here to ensure and uphold a civil means of communication and information sharing.
just wanted to confirm, so that I may take any further interactions in the right way.

Awesome forum by the way. Very helpful and insightful for people wishing to learn new skills.
 

IslandLizard

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so just wanted to clarify if the reply was meant to be patronising or be playful and in jest (banter).
Totally meant to be playful, all in jest!

If it made you feel the other way, I hereby apologize.

I wasn't trying to mock you, or any other beginning homebrewer.
I thought the painted scenario would be over the top enough...
Honestly, in my early brewing days I was fixated on checking gravity during fermentation, for not to miss the "right moment" to rack to the awaiting secondary (filled with air, and, yup, too large).

We homebrewers start out as complete novices, a new world opening up before us, having its own language. Us, homebrewers, feeling the need to be "in control" as much as we can, or the beer would fail miserably, we tend to follow certain instructions* much too closely (e.g., taking samples, racking to a secondary**). While other, more important ones are left out or inadvertently recede to the background (e.g., ferm temp control, air/oxygen exposure).

* Many of those preconceived ideas stem from (notoriously outdated) kit instructions.
Some instructions now mention the "racking to secondary" process as being optional. Yeah...

** Racking is not a novice process. It takes time and lots of practice to learn how to do it properly, without introducing air (oxygen). One can train using a bucket of Starsan.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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Hi thanks for the reply.
I had suspected it to be jest full and had taken it that way, however thought I should check just to ensure I hadn’t inadvertently upset someone by reaching out for good information from experienced guys.
I have obviously come across in a different way to I had intended.
I have asked an number of questions regarding the validity of the manufactures instructions and if there were in-fact better ways to work, from those with the information and experience.
At no point am I attempting to rush, on the contrary having been told that 3 weeks would be a much better time frame for yeast health and beer quality, that immediately became my time frame.
Regarding FG, there appears to be differing opinions on wether it is worth the risk of oxygen contamination or not. It appears to me that it depends on set up and risk management. Currently I only have the option of taking a sample via a wine thief. I asked if for future brews if it beneficial to fit a spigot in the FV to allow a low risk method to draw samples at the end of fermentation to ensure the yeast has finished. This appears to be a recommended option.
I learn by asking questions and receiving answers that can be explained and make sense. I have been extremely grateful for the response and knowledge I have received so far and already building good information on how to make subtle changes on the next batch to reduce the risks of certain unwanted out comes. I see information sharing as a means of shortcutting errors by learning from those that have made mistakes in the past and trying not to make those errors yourself.
so much to learn but extremely enjoyable journey.
so thanks to all those that are helping to perpetuate my learning experience.
 

IslandLizard

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the yeast pack is 10g and just says “old ale” on it.
That's a 20-23 liter batch, right?
What's the expected original gravity (OG)? Old Ales are strong (high gravity) beers, 1.080 and higher, typically.

I'm asking, because that 10 grams of yeast would be a bit skimpy for that batch. You definitely want to ferment it toward the lower temps for the yeast. I'd pitch 2 of those packages, even more so as there is no date on it and it wasn't stored refrigerated.
Could you get another package of yeast of the same, or something like Fermentis S-04?

Do you have an external temp controller on your fermentation fridge? Is the sensor/probe attached to the side of your fermenter, and covered by a piece of 1/4" packaging foam?
 

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Hi @IslandLizard these Festival kits are skimpy on the information provided. No OG mentioned but it is not a 1.080 kit. Here is what I found. I am pretty sure @Bomber fridgmenter got it right guessing OG is about 1.050. That 10 gram yeast packet was probably plenty.

What's Included?
  • 3kg Premium Liquid Malt Extract
  • Genuine Brewer's Yeast Strains
  • Hop Pellets Addition (Target & Summit)
  • 500g Dextrose Brewing Sugar
  • 100g Priming Sugar
Allergy Advice: May include barley and other cereals, containing gluten


Specifications
  • Kit weight : 3.5kg
  • Makes: 40 pints / 5 gallons
  • ABV Approx: 5%
  • Target Finishing Gravity: 1.011 (approx)
  • Fermentation time: 7 days (approx)
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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Yep that’s spot on. Had to try and work the OG back from FG and ABV.
10 days in today and fermentation seems to have dramatically slowed( according to bubbler which I understand is not a good indicator). I may dry hop today and just poor in the top loose as I want to try and minimise the potential of oxygen ingress that may occur with hoping in a weighted bag. Also thoughts are that if I leave any longer there is the possibility that there won’t be enough CO2 created to replace the air in the top of the FV, and it still has a further 10 days to sit before racking taking it to the 20-21 days.
 

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Hi @IslandLizard these Festival kits are skimpy on the information provided. No OG mentioned but it is not a 1.080 kit. Here is what I found. I am pretty sure @Bomber fridgmenter got it right guessing OG is about 1.050. That 10 gram yeast packet was probably plenty.
Thanks for the legwork and info.
I guess it's more like an Old Peculiar then. Yeah, 10 grams of yeast is fine for those.
 

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it still has a further 10 days to sit before racking taking it to the 20-21 days.
Are you indicating to rack it to a secondary? Or a bottling bucket, to bottle it?

What kind of fermenter are you using? A glass carboy?
Although I agree, 10 days is a bit long for dry hopping, it's probably not a boat load of hops, 1 oz maybe? I'd rather leave them in longer than risk oxidizing when racking to a secondary. Or alternatively, drop the dry hops in 3 days before bottling. Do it quickly.
 
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Bomber fridgmenter

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straight into a bottling bucket onto the priming sugar, Then bottle.
FV is a 25l plastic bucket, hence the idea to fit a spigot into it before the next batch to allow safer testing if required.
I may manage to add the hop pellets through the bubbler grommet which will require far less risk than opening a 16” lid.
 
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