Help for a first time brewer about proper length of primary fermentation?

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rsobel

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I need help with a quick question. I’m brewing my very first batch of beer (Xmas present). It is a Kolsch from Brewers Best and the yeast that it came with was K-97. It is in the primary fermenter bucket now for four days, and producing bubbles, temp of closet around 67 degrees. I did mess up (probably added too much water?) and started with an OG of 1.41, which was below the 1.042-1.045 suggested. My kit came with a plastic carboy to do a secondary fermentation. After reading on here about secondary fermentation I decided that I should not do it and just leave it in for a longer primary fermentation until time to do the priming sugar and bottle. I’m unclear on how I know when it is time to do that. Some discussions on here suggest 4 weeks (1 month) for a Kolsch for a longer primary in place of a secondary fermentation but the participants in that discussion used a different type of yeast and I have no idea if the priming sugar matters. Can someone tell me the best way to know when it is time to do the priming sugar and bottle if I want to only do the longer primary fermentation? I'm in no rush, just want to do it right. Thank you so much, and sorry if that is too much info, but I wasn’t sure what mattered.
 

Dr_Jeff

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after a week to ten days, take a sample and measure it with a hydrometer.

wait a couple of days and do it again, if they read the same, it is done and ready to be packaged, if not wait a bit longer and take another measurement, expect somewhere around 1.010 when it it done
 

rburrelli

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Do you own a hydrometer? Or refractometer? These would commonly be used to determine when fermentation has finished. If not then maybe four weeks.
 

Jag75

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The only way to know is checking the gravity a couple times to ensure fermentation is complete. Patience is a virtue in this hobby. Also , leaving the beer in the fv longer will mean less sediment in your bottles. I always leave in the fv for 3 weeks .
 
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rsobel

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Do you own a hydrometer? Or refractometer? These would commonly be used to determine when fermentation has finished. If not then maybe four weeks.
I have the Hydrometer that came with the kit. I know that can tell me when fermentation is "done" in that it quits changing, but it seemed from my readings of these threads that you want to leave it in longer than that for a long primary fermentation so that stopping isn't the right time? That's why I'm confused.
 

Jag75

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I have the Hydrometer that came with the kit. I know that can tell me when fermentation is "done" in that it quits changing, but it seemed from my readings of these threads that you want to leave it in longer than that for a long primary fermentation so that stopping isn't the right time? That's why I'm confused.

It's all preference. You'll try different ways and ultimately settle in to the way your process works best for you.
 

slayer021175666

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When it stops bubbling or bubbles get to a minute in between. Hydrometer test it. If it's near 1.010, bottle it. No need for all this waiting that many brewers are hung up on. Ales are best, nice and fresh. Of course opinions are like.... ya know.
 

RM-MN

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Your missed OG may simply be a bad reading from insufficient mixing. You aren't making a specific chemical formula, when making beer you're close enough.

I've never used that particular yeast buy leaving the beer in the fermenter longer won't hurt the beer. I've left an ale in the fermenter for 9 weeks with no problems.
 
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rsobel

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I do a Kolsch with K-97. Four weeks in primary, bottle, cool crash at 40*F for 2 weeks. Makes a nice clear beer with almost no sediment in the bottles. What is there is pretty firm so you can get a clean pour.

I just happen to have a small wine fridge that has a 40 degree setting as it's lowest, but it would need to put the bottles on their side to fit in the shelves. Should I do that after I bottle them in 4 weeks to try this or would it not be okay laying on their sides?
 

JohnSand

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I generally ferment everything for three to four weeks, they're always done. If you're using a clear fermenter, shine a flashlight through it, it's done when it clears.
If you bottle condition with the bottles lying down, the sediment will be on the side of the bottle, it should be on the bottom. While I haven't made a Kolsch, I always bottle carbed warm, at room temperature. Extended chilling after will improve some beers. I hope this answers your questions. I remember it seemed complicated when I started, but after a while it becomes fairly routine.
 

hotbeer

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All the variety of things we say and do is what enables us to get so many different types of beer and flavors from so few ingredients.

If we all did the same thing, we'd pretty much all be drinking the same beer.
 

TestTickle

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K-97 has a weird habit of getting a "second wind" and becoming a little active again a couple weeks in. Give it time.

I brewed a Kolsch with K-97 last fall, it was delicious.
In addition to this, my experiences with K-97 have been that it also benefits from some additional time to clean up compared to other yeast that I have used.
 

Rish

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I just happen to have a small wine fridge that has a 40 degree setting as it's lowest, but it would need to put the bottles on their side to fit in the shelves. Should I do that after I bottle them in 4 weeks to try this or would it not be okay laying on their sides?
Putting the bottles on their sides will result in disturbing the yeast when you get ready to pour, so I wouldn't recommend that. Perhaps you could remove some shelves while your beer is crashing?
 

AlexKay

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I like K-97 very much, though it does take ages to clear. I think you’d be fine at 2 weeks even without a gravity check, and you’d be fine at 3 or 4, too. I wouldn’t rush to get it out of the fermenter before 2 weeks.
 
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I usually give mine a solid two weeks or until my air lock slows down and I stop see bubbles. I have had some on both ends of the spectrum, very aggressive done in 3 days or slow start taking up to 14 days. But for sure gravity reading going to be your best bet.
 

Captain Blacktoe

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I have seen several threads about being able to leave beer in the primary for weeks without any negative effects. I just made a Mild Ale using White Labs ‘Burton Ale Yeast’ and due to some outside influences I had to leave it in the fermenter for 4 weeks. It was temperature controlled set at 66 degrees and pressure fermented at about 6 psi. After kegging and a little more carbonation I tried it and it has a distinct and unwelcome yeasty taste. If I would have had time I should have at least drained the yeast off. NEVER AGAIN will I leave primary fermentation for so long.
 

RWurster

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I threw a wort OG 1.113 onto a yeast cake and it started bubbling in 5 hours and raged for 4 days. Sometimes I wait up to 21 days but honestly that's just because I dont have the time to bottle. Im new also but yeah, if your hydrometer/refractometer reading doesnt change then fermentation is done. I check final gravity before it gets primed and put into bottles.
 
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