Prolonged Primary Fermentation?

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Kiwi_Jonno

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Hi, from New Zealand!

Iv just really started homebrewing beer, having completed 2 batches, with mixed results. I have a couple of questions please...

I just followed the instructions on the beer can kits, fermented 3-9 days, or when FG has been reached, (mine was 1010 after 5 days, so stopped there). I bottled immediately, stored at 22 degs C for a week, then left further couple weeks. Beer was drinkable.

With the current batch, iv read about secondary fermentation and transferring into another tank. Also have read about leaving the beer in the current tank after fermentation has completed. So after the 3-9 days fermentating, I could leave as is for another 1-2 weeks and it will improve?

Its summer here in NZ, and my brews have been on average 24 degs C for ales (Nut Brown/Brown "Draught"). The range is 22-26 deg, though rarely 26. Is this a MAJOR problem for ales?

Thanks all for any help/advice. I will continue browsing the forum as well for more info :)
 

malkore

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Yes, leave the beer in primary 2 more weeks, or move to secondary for 2+ weeks. Then bottle.

NEVER bottle until the beer has been in primary at least 7 days. You MUST be patient...rushing beer only produces less spectacular results that you can taste.

Warmer temperatures bring out esters and phenolics in the yeast.

As long as you keep it under 26C, you'll minimize the esters (and for some beers, esters are a good thing, like the banana and clove flavors in a Hefewiezen).

make sure you read www.howtobrew.com
 
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Kiwi_Jonno

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Thanks for the reply. Strange the "Coopers" can kits say to bottle soon as fermentation is complete, is misleading! I will wait a couple of weeks like you said. Is there any easy way to cool the beer down? I was thinking of getting a cheap old fridge... but then it would be more like 16degs C on High. Iv heard of the wet T shirt but doubt it would drop the temp much?
 

Poindexter

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I get 26C = 78.8°F, and that is pretty warm for ales. You'll be get some fruity esters at that temp likely.

I _try_ to keep ales between 60 and 68°F, especially during the active early first few days. It is after 5 o'clock here, but I think that is about 15.6 and 20 C.

Lately I have been leaving ale in the primary fermenter on the yeast cake for three weeks, and been very pleased.

Do indeed try draping your fermenter in a t-shirt, with the waistband end of the shirt in a water bath. As the water wicks up the shirt and evaporates off it carries away a tremendous amount of heat.

M2c
 

Yooper

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Actually, yes- you'd be surprised how that can lower the temperature inside your carboy! I just use a "fermometer"- it's a strip (like on an aquarium) that reads the temperature. It's accurate enough to get a fair idea of what temperature you're at. The wet-t-shirt trick works well, through evaporative cooling. It works especially well if you can have a fan blowing on it as well.
 
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Kiwi_Jonno

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OK will give the water and T shirt a go. The stick on temp gauge on the fermentator goes in "2 deg's", so 18,20,22,24,26 deg C. I wonder how accurate it is. Would it be safe to open the lid and use a proper temperature gauge, or just go by the stick on? In another 4 months or so in winter I will be trying to get the temp up!
 

Poindexter

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I use a stick on thermometer. Just once try to hold an ale at the low end of the yeast range. You'll likely never go back, it is worth the trouble.
 
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Kiwi_Jonno

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Just one last question... if your fermenting the beer for 5-9 days or what ever, then after that leaving the beer as is on the yeast for another 2 weeks, you only really need the hydrometer to check the alc %? Because after 3-4 weeks the beer will always be fermented and gravity 1010 give or take? You would only need to use the hydrometer if doing secondary fermentation after the beer has fermented in the first "tank"?
 

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