How long can I leave my beer in fermenter?

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KayJay

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I'm a newbie!
I'm presently about to bottle my third Munton's Canada Range Blonde Beer kit (comes in a can) One of the kits was a Munton's Pilsner (dark pic attached)
It says after 5 to 6 days I can bottle it. Is there a risk for infection leaving it in the fermenter longer? I've read some comments on here that it's best to let it sit even up to a month in the fermenter. My last kit was left about 10 days and it ended up looking quite nasty. Not sure what was going on but it was white fuzzy all on the top. I racked it off into another fermenter and left as much as that behind.
Thanks
 

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I leave most of my beers in the primary for at least 4 weeks and some as long as 6 to even 8 weeks. Depending on the beer it will need some age on it. What I am saying is it really just depends on the beer. But I would NEVER, EVER bottle after 6 days. I just wouldn't.

Cheers
Jay
 

Phillip Wyckoff

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Usually you would fermenter for 2 weeks in the primary. If you are going to leave it longer it would be recommended to rack it into a secondary fermenter.
In your photos is the white parts fuzy? If so it looks like mold Wich isn't good. Need to sanatize everything very well before fermentation.
 
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KayJay

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Usually you would fermenter for 2 weeks in the primary. If you are going to leave it longer it would be recommended to rack it into a secondary fermenter.
In your photos is the white parts fuzy? If so it looks like mold Wich isn't good. Need to sanatize everything very well before fermentation.
thanks! - lifting the lid is a big no no as well right? I am super coareful with sanitizing but thought maybe it was because I lifted the lid a few times to check it and that may have introduced bacteria??
 

eltorrente

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NO - don't put it in a secondary. Transferring to secondary will introduce oxygen into your beer. You can leave it in primary for a few months and it won't affect it at all. Introducing oxygen WILL affect it though.
 

AZCoolerBrewer

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I think many people will take hydrometer readings and when the reading stays the same over three days the beer is done. Many people then wait for an additional week for the yeast to process the byproducts of fermentation that are less desirable.

I watch fermentation through my 1 gallon glass carboys. I know it’s done when it clears. That usually takes about 4 weeks.

I’ve heard of people having good beer in primary after a year, but that will not happen if there is mold. Depending on the bacteria, it could turn to vinegar or other.
 
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I've left beer in a primary for 3 months, and in a cold-conditioning vessel (I hate the term secondary) for 4-5 months while lagering. I usually go 3 weeks, and then cold crash and hit it with gelatin. What I would never do, is bottle after only 6 days. You may have (and probably did) reach FG, but that doesn't mean the yeast are done. After the heavy lifting of fermenting glucose and maltose, they go back and quietly, fairly uneventfully, ferment the higher sugars and the byproducts they generated. Give them time to do that.
And looking at your pictures. I don't think you have mold. I think you are just seeing some normal yeast rafts, which will eventually settle to the bottom, IF you give it some time.
 

RM-MN

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if you have an airlock on the fermenter bucket and keep the lid closed you won't get mold because it can't grow in CO2 atmosphere. The white looks like bubbles from the excess CO2 coming out of solution from the beer and carrying some yeast with it.

I talked with another brewer who left beer in the primary for 6 months and he said that that still wasn't too long. If the beer you make looks nasty to you, perhaps you need to look at some other brewers beer as all of them can look nasty. Giving your beer more than the 6 days will be an improvement in the final product. That extra time will ensure that the fermentation is complete, that the yeast will have time to complete their cleanup, and that the excess yeast and the trub stirred up during fermentation will have time to settle out before you put it into bottles. I'd suggest a minimum of 2 weeks and up to 4 would benefit the beer.
 

seatazzz

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My husband says he can't believe how good my beer turns out after seeing what it looks like in the fermenter during primary. It can look pretty gross.

Kit instructions seem, to me at least, about 10 years out of date. Secondary is NOT necessary for your basic ales. As long as your sanitation process is on point, and your fermentation temperature is stable, there's no reason why your beer can't stay in the primary fermenter as long as it needs to. 6 days from boiling to bottle is unrealistic, but if it sells more kits...that's their thinking, in my opinion.

Yeast, like babies, have minds of their own (so to speak) and THEY decide when they're done. The only way to know for sure if your beer is ready to package is to do consecutive (over 2 days) gravity tests with a hydrometer. If you don't have one, you need one ASAP; they're relatively cheap, and easy to use. If you didn't take a starting gravity reading (we abbreviate that to SG), and you can get your hands on a hydrometer, a finished gravity (FG) of something in the range of 1.010 should mean it's done and ready to package.

And, your best testing equipment is your own taste. For a beginner, tasting your beer (always keeping sanitation in mind) throughout the process will give you a better understanding of what's happening to your beer. Just keep it to a minimum, as active yeast will kickstart your colon into high gear!
 

Hopalong

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It's better to transfer with CO2 and purge the receivers with CO2 to reduce the risk of oxidation.

Syrup is a biproduct of tests performed on malt. When malt fails the test performed at 145F Beta amylase didn't exist or it's very weak and the malt fails brewers grade standards. The malt drops to distillers/food grade standard and syrup is made from it, otherwise, the malt would be heading to a brewery. Secondary fermentation isn't needed because the sugar that Beta makes isn't there.

Malt that isn't turned into syrup is called modern, fully modified malt which lacks Beta and for that reason the conversion rest is omitted in recipes. When conversion doesn't occur secondary fermentation isn't needed because the wort doesn't contain maltose and maltotriose and things that are supposed to happen during secondary fermentation don't happen, shaving two weeks off the schedule. To produce ale and lager with the malt an Alpha/Beta amylase is added. A recipe that recommends syrup, fully modified malt, single infusion, only primary fermentation and adding priming sugar produces beer similar in quality to Prohibition style beer.

When beer is left on top of goop that settles during primary fermentation yeast turns its attention to it.
Homebrew is primarily made from glucose and during primary fermentation yeast rips through glucose because it's simple sugar. After yeast wipes out glucose it turns its attention to complex sugar. Since, homebrew lacks complex types of sugar yeast turns its attention to trub because there's no fuel and nutrients left. The only time when trub is beneficial for yeast is during reproduction. There is one mineral in trub that improves reproduction and to get at the mineral yeast tears through crappy stuff which causes off flavors. When yeast works on trub during reproduction the wort lacks nutrients. The mineral is extracted in a lab when it's used for producing yeast.

Using Weyermann floor malt and a Beta rest: During the rest Beta turns glucose into maltose and maltotriose. Saccharification is going on at the same time because Alpha is releasing glucose that Beta's turning into complex sugar. Starch doesn't convert to sugar, starch is a container.
After 10 days the beer is transferred to a secondary fermenter. At this time the beer contains sweet tasting, nonfermenting sugar, maltose and maltotriose. If the mash was boiled, tasteless, nonfermenting A and B limit dextrin, sugar responsible for body and mouthfeel will be mixed in.
During secondary fermentation yeast turns its attention to complex sugar, but it can't use it for fuel, yet. Within yeast is an enzyme and before yeast can do anything with maltose it absorbs it through the cell wall and the enzyme converts maltose back into glucose. Glucose is expelled back through the cell wall and it becomes yeast fuel and the beer gets closer to expected FG. After 14 days the beer is transferred to a keg and during aging/lagering yeast works over maltotriose and natural carbonation occurs and the beer reaches expected FG.

Maybe, keep beer on primary goop for a month when hot break is skimmed off and the wort is racked off trub before adding yeast, maybe.
 

FloppyKnockers

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It's better to transfer with CO2 and purge the receivers with CO2 to reduce the risk of oxidation.

Syrup is a biproduct of tests performed on malt. When malt fails the test performed at 145F Beta amylase didn't exist or it's very weak and the malt fails brewers grade standards. The malt drops to distillers/food grade standard and syrup is made from it, otherwise, the malt would be heading to a brewery. Secondary fermentation isn't needed because the sugar that Beta makes isn't there.

Malt that isn't turned into syrup is called modern, fully modified malt which lacks Beta and for that reason the conversion rest is omitted in recipes. When conversion doesn't occur secondary fermentation isn't needed because the wort doesn't contain maltose and maltotriose and things that are supposed to happen during secondary fermentation don't happen, shaving two weeks off the schedule. To produce ale and lager with the malt an Alpha/Beta amylase is added. A recipe that recommends syrup, fully modified malt, single infusion, only primary fermentation and adding priming sugar produces beer similar in quality to Prohibition style beer.

When beer is left on top of goop that settles during primary fermentation yeast turns its attention to it.
Homebrew is primarily made from glucose and during primary fermentation yeast rips through glucose because it's simple sugar. After yeast wipes out glucose it turns its attention to complex sugar. Since, homebrew lacks complex types of sugar yeast turns its attention to trub because there's no fuel and nutrients left. The only time when trub is beneficial for yeast is during reproduction. There is one mineral in trub that improves reproduction and to get at the mineral yeast tears through crappy stuff which causes off flavors. When yeast works on trub during reproduction the wort lacks nutrients. The mineral is extracted in a lab when it's used for producing yeast.

Using Weyermann floor malt and a Beta rest: During the rest Beta turns glucose into maltose and maltotriose. Saccharification is going on at the same time because Alpha is releasing glucose that Beta's turning into complex sugar. Starch doesn't convert to sugar, starch is a container.
After 10 days the beer is transferred to a secondary fermenter. At this time the beer contains sweet tasting, nonfermenting sugar, maltose and maltotriose. If the mash was boiled, tasteless, nonfermenting A and B limit dextrin, sugar responsible for body and mouthfeel will be mixed in.
During secondary fermentation yeast turns its attention to complex sugar, but it can't use it for fuel, yet. Within yeast is an enzyme and before yeast can do anything with maltose it absorbs it through the cell wall and the enzyme converts maltose back into glucose. Glucose is expelled back through the cell wall and it becomes yeast fuel and the beer gets closer to expected FG. After 14 days the beer is transferred to a keg and during aging/lagering yeast works over maltotriose and natural carbonation occurs and the beer reaches expected FG.

Maybe, keep beer on primary goop for a month when hot break is skimmed off and the wort is racked off trub before adding yeast, maybe.

Reply too vague. Please try to expand a bit more.
 

Western-brewer

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My husband says he can't believe how good my beer turns out after seeing what it looks like in the fermenter during primary. It can look pretty gross.

Kit instructions seem, to me at least, about 10 years out of date. Secondary is NOT necessary for your basic ales. As long as your sanitation process is on point, and your fermentation temperature is stable, there's no reason why your beer can't stay in the primary fermenter as long as it needs to. 6 days from boiling to bottle is unrealistic, but if it sells more kits...that's their thinking, in my opinion.

Yeast, like babies, have minds of their own (so to speak) and THEY decide when they're done. The only way to know for sure if your beer is ready to package is to do consecutive (over 2 days) gravity tests with a hydrometer. If you don't have one, you need one ASAP; they're relatively cheap, and easy to use. If you didn't take a starting gravity reading (we abbreviate that to SG), and you can get your hands on a hydrometer, a finished gravity (FG) of something in the range of 1.010 should mean it's done and ready to package.

And, your best testing equipment is your own taste. For a beginner, tasting your beer (always keeping sanitation in mind) throughout the process will give you a better understanding of what's happening to your beer. Just keep it to a minimum, as active yeast will kickstart your colon into high gear!
He's a lucky man having a wife who makes beer.
 

odie

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those pics look suspicious. I suspect infected. Anyone with better knowledge and experience with infections?
 

IslandLizard

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those pics look suspicious. I suspect infected. Anyone with better knowledge and experience with infections?

Not sure what was going on but it was white fuzzy all on the top.
If I had to guess, that 2nd picture shows mold: white fuzzy blobs. But them developing to that size after 10 days would point to an alarming lack of cleaning/sanitation. The first picture itself is too fuzzy to be conclusive, it may be the original (first) fermenter he used.

OP disappeared after 2 posts, almost 4 years ago.
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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I'm a newbie!
I'm presently about to bottle my third Munton's Canada Range Blonde Beer kit (comes in a can) One of the kits was a Munton's Pilsner (dark pic attached)
It says after 5 to 6 days I can bottle it. Is there a risk for infection leaving it in the fermenter longer? I've read some comments on here that it's best to let it sit even up to a month in the fermenter. My last kit was left about 10 days and it ended up looking quite nasty. Not sure what was going on but it was white fuzzy all on the top. I racked it off into another fermenter and left as much as that behind.
Thanks
Your pics show foam, sometimes you may see grayish clumps, those would be yeast “rafts”. Anyone really wanting to take a good look can enlarge the picture otherwise is does resemble mold. Cheers! I tend to leave a beer alone for 2-3 weeks, occasionally life happens to get crazy and 3 weeks May turn into 2 months. As long as the airlock is wet and you started out with good sanitation and didn’t leave too much head space it will be alright for many styles. NEIPA and IPAs not so much, those we want fresh, but finished. Check gravity as stated above to know when it’s finished.
 
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