Which is better? A fast, very active fermentation, or a slow steady fermentation?

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cerberus9

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I've brewed a few batches, and the fermentation seems to fall in one of two categories:

1. Slow, steady fermentation: It takes about 24 hours to get obvious signs of fermentation, then fermentation proceeds at a steady rate (bubbles in the blowoff or airlock every 5-10 seconds) for about 4-5 days. (This usually occurs with cheap, grocery store kits)

2. Quick, very active fermentation: Obvious signs of fermentation in 4-6 hours. Fermentation is very rapid (bubbles in airlock almost constant, or once ever second). (Obvious) fermentation lasts for about 36-48 hours. (This usually occurs with higher-quality extracts and better/fresher yeast).

Which of the two types of fermentation is more desirable (or is more likely to produce better results)? Or does it matter, as long as fermentation occurs?
 

DeathBrewer

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you'll get different opinions on that matter.

i like to pitch a decent starter and lately have not been as concerned with aerating my wort (a lot of splashing but haven't used my pump.)

i don't get much of a lag time when i use starters and i get a nice, steady fermentation. i also try to keep most my beers at around 65*F

i think fermentation temperature is much more important.
 

malkore

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option 3: complete fermentation

I don't mind a lag phase. i don't make a lot fo starters, but do inject pure oxygen into my wort, which gives the yeast a lot of oxygen for phase 1 of their life cycle...reproduction.
once that ends, my beer ferments rapidly, even at 63 degrees.

as long as its within normal time frames, and ferments fully, you'll be making good beer.
 

BierMuncher

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Ingredients make a big difference.

I've had beers take 6-7 days to ferment, and I've seen some ferment within 24 hours.

Wit yeasts and wheat malt tend to be two ingredients that give me polonged, heavy krausenned fermentations.

In answer...it doesnt really matter as long as your fermentation temps are good, and you're pitching adequate amounts of healthy yeast (dry, hydrated, starter or yeast cake)
 

althalos

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This thread is probably dead by now, but just my two cents...

It depends on MANY factors...the temp, the yeast strain (ale or lager AND individual strain)...a good example of this is California Common - finishes very quickly. Also, amount of fermentables, wort viscosity, flocculation/attenuation of the yeast, etc.

Just make sure you're hitting your target gravities and racking to secondary when you need to.
 
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