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dttk0009

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Hey folks,

I just thought I'd ask around since I'm in the process of reworking some of my brewing practices. For the better part of the last 2 years since I've started brewing again, I've had a pretty big battle with diacetyl. Not all beers were affected, but most were, and some quite badly (had a cream ale batch with fairly strong butter notes using US-05)

I've dug a bit deeper and changed some of my processes via water mineral adjustment, actually using starters (wasn't doing this before), and now rethinking primary fermentation time.

How long do you guys usually keep in primary for? I realize there's the "til it's done" rule, but in general I used to keep it for 10-14 days and then keg/lager it. In other words, after 14 days, the beer was brought into a rather cold environment (~4C / 40F) until it was carbed and drank.

I've thought about expanding my primary time to 3-4 weeks just to be absolutely sure that diacetyl gets reabsorbed. Anyone else with similar practices? Thoughts?
 

thehaze

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You should not make starters from dry yeast. You can rehydrate it or pitch it dry.

Are you sure you are not overly sensitive over for diacetyl? Have others tried your beers and all detected the same aroma/flavour?

The time in primary depends on many things. I've had beers, I bottled after 9-10 days and others after 14-20 days. I also used US-05 and never really encountered any diacetyl.

Do you " do " a diacetyl rest after fermentation? Ï usually like to ferment cold ( those strains that work best at colder temps. ) and once fermentation is finished or almost finished, I raise the temp. and give the yeast time to finish/absorb any diacetyl produced. 5 days at 71-73F should do the trick.
 

waldoar15

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Do you have a temperature controlled fermentation of some sort or just fermenting at whatever ambient room temp happens to be?

I've never had US05 throw diacetyl and it's always been pretty tolerant with temps.

But to get back to your question on primary time. I brew mostly lagers and I usually just let mine sit for 4 weeks. It carried over into the few ales I still make.
 

str1p3s

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dttk0009

dttk0009

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You should not make starters from dry yeast. You can rehydrate it or pitch it dry.
I should have clarified, but yes, I follow this practice. So far I have done one beer with a starter, yet to try it though.

Are you sure you are not overly sensitive over for diacetyl? Have others tried your beers and all detected the same aroma/flavour?
It's possible I guess. I didn't initially notice it, but now I notice even the slightest hint and it drives me nuts. It's actually not even so much the flavor/aroma, but the phlegmy, slick mouthfeel. I feel like I have a loogie in my throat after each sip.

Do you " do " a diacetyl rest after fermentation? Ï usually like to ferment cold ( those strains that work best at colder temps. ) and once fermentation is finished or almost finished, I raise the temp. and give the yeast time to finish/absorb any diacetyl produced. 5 days at 71-73F should do the trick.
I do, yeah. It's not the first time I'm going after this issue. The annoying thing about diacetyl is that it can appear from a variety of actions/inactions.
 

kh54s10

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I use US05 a lot and have never noticed any diacetyl. But then again I don't have a very discerning palate. I describe most beer by how much I like them rather that "I get a little --- on the back end"

I started off listening to the "you need to primary for 4 weeks minimum" crowd. And also the "your beer is finished in 7-10 days. I decided on 3 weeks, but by the time I got mine bottled and later kegged it was about a month. I then drank my pipeline dry so I did a few in a row and bottled on day 14 (to be pretty certain that it was done). I did not notice any difference.

So, length of time in primary, IMO is not a big concern one way or the other.

I have also not seen much difference by bottling the beer straight from fermentation temperatures or letting it warm up to finish.
 

whiskeyjack

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+1 what str1p3s said. I was also thinking maybe you had a previous batch with it and now you are sensitive to it ? Might be a good idea to see if others can taste it. Or do a full soak of all your gear in bleach, 1-2 cups in 5 gallons water. I had an infected batch and I'm to stubborn to throw my bucket away, bleach all my plastic, gone. There were other factors involved so I'm not totally sure if it was my bucket or the fact I didn't pitch yeast for 12 hours, or moved my bucket next to the front door and something funky got it. Who knows..
 
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dttk0009

dttk0009

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Probably a good time to completely disassemble my keezer system and kegs, replace the beer lines, etc. I'm 99% sure that the diacetyl develops after I transfer from bucket to keg/keezer, just trying to eliminate one potential at a time. Problem with diacetyl is that there are just so many potential causes.
 

homebrewer_99

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I've used 05 both dry and re-hydrated without issues.

For normal gravity brews the fermentation should be done in just a few days, like 3-5.

Diacetyl is normally something that happens when you take it off the yeast too quickly.

If you bring the temp up closer to 70 for a few 2-3 days after fermentation is complete the yeast should clean up after itself (diacetyl rest).

When people say "until it's done" they're talking about the brew reaching FG.

A quick and dirty way I do this is when I'm taking my brew notes I know that MOST yeasts attenuate around 75%. After I record the the OG I divide by 4 for an "anticipated" FG. Here's a couple examples of my notes: OG: 1.040 (10) and OG: 1.050 (12.5). This does two things for me. It let's me know I am in the ballpark and keeps me from re-doing the calculations every time I test a sample.
 

mirthfuldragon

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I have a Tilt digital floating hydrometer, which has shown me a lot in terms of how fast fermentation actually happens. My NEIPA was kegged on day 8 or 9 (with cold crashing) and a big belgian wit (6.5%) that was racked to keg for keg-conditioning on day 9 or 10. I turned a Jaryllo-hopped faux-pils with US-05 around in 12 days. No off flavors present - all three have been presented to my homebrew club to good reviews and no off-flavors detected - by them or me (and we have several certified judges, lots of experienced brewers, a lot of consistent medal winners . . . I trust their palates).

My thought is that US-05 and your water don't get along. How do other yeasts fair?
 

filthyastronaut

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A large, healthy pitch certainly helps with reducing the necessary primary time, in my experience. Lean towards over-piching. I rarely ever do more than 14 days before bottling. Professional breweries will turn around some of their beers in a week, but there is good reason to not necessarily copy those practices as their system, the scale, and pitching rates can make that possible, and it's not always ideal even then.
 
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dttk0009

dttk0009

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I have a Tilt digital floating hydrometer, which has shown me a lot in terms of how fast fermentation actually happens. My NEIPA was kegged on day 8 or 9 (with cold crashing) and a big belgian wit (6.5%) that was racked to keg for keg-conditioning on day 9 or 10. I turned a Jaryllo-hopped faux-pils with US-05 around in 12 days. No off flavors present - all three have been presented to my homebrew club to good reviews and no off-flavors detected - by them or me (and we have several certified judges, lots of experienced brewers, a lot of consistent medal winners . . . I trust their palates).

My thought is that US-05 and your water don't get along. How do other yeasts fair?
Hard to say, since sometimes it's present, other times not. I don't recall it being in my wit and I used Forbidden Fruit (3463) for that one. I did previously also exclusive use my tap water (which is very hard), and use lactic acid to reduce pH in the mash. I've now also switched to bottled spring water (low mineral content) and then buff it up with mineral additions as needed, but as mentioned, the first batch going this route is still in the bucket. ;)
 

Smellyglove

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Temp-control and a proper pitch is all it takes, unless you have an infection or other things are off. Letting it sit in primary for four weeks is way long, with temp-control that's not needed at all.

Start low. use a controlled rise and keep it.Then you'll see that you can turn around beers in 8-9 days without off flavors due to yeast.
 

FunkedOut

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First, let me answer your question.
2 weeks in the fermenter for an ale.
3 weeks in the fermenter for a lager.

Now, let me give you some more information that I feel is interdependent with time; temperature, and pitch rate.
Higher temperatures will decrease the time needed to reach FG.
Higher pitch rates will decrease the time needed to reach FG.

I’ve never really played with pitch rates. I had a lager that tasted like apple early on, that I pitched one packet of 34/70. Since that batch, I’ve been rehydrating dry yeast, then building a starter to reach projected cell counts that fall in line with the usual recommended rates; 0.75 & 1.5 million cells / ml / degree Plato for ales & lagers, respectively.

At those rates, I keep fermentation temps at 65*F for ales for 10 days, then a cold crash and keg on day 14.

Lagers get 50-55*F for two weeks, then a diacetyl rest up at 68*F no matter what. Usually takes 2-3 days to get up that high, than 2-3 days at that temp. Cold ramp and keg on day 21ish.

Another factor that may play into this is pressure. I will ferment in 10 gallon kegs under pressure (15psi) after a couple days.
 
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dttk0009

dttk0009

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Have you done the diacetyl test? I battled diacetyl, until I did the test and found out it wasn't diacetyl
I actually haven't. I'd be surprised, but other than buttery I wouldn't know how else to explain the flavor (I used to describe it as grainy, but it wasn't really accurate). I think most telling to me is the mouthfeel compared to other beers or just liquids. It instantly feels like you have some phlegm, so it's slick/oily. The texture actually gets to me more than the off-flavor itself.
 

Simonh82

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If you can excuse the boringly sexist image used in this post, it gives a good description of the dyacetyl test https://www.winning-homebrew.com/diacetyl-test.html. This test was also recommended on the beersmith podcast by Dr Charlie Bamford, who leads the brewing program at UC Davis.

It doesn't sound like you are doing anything wrong so my money would be on another culprit. Two weeks in primary should be plenty
 

couchsending

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Diacetyl tests are super easy to do. Also an easy way to eliminate one variable. If it tests negative for Diacetyl then you get it later it’s most likely some sort of infection. But doesn’t it take Pedio a while to form diacetyl? I think a Pedio infection is highly unlikely...

For standard ales with US-05 10 days should be plenty of time even with some dry hopping. As long as you start it cold and as fermentation starts to slow let the temp rise or raise it on your own. I have temp control for most fermenters but on small experiments in carboys I just start them in my basement which is 62 ambient and after fourish days bring them upstairs to let them finish. I’ll generally transfer to a keg with a few points to go to naturally carbonate. Getting in the habit of checking your gravities often helps you understand what’s happening in your ferment. Eventually you’ll have a good feel for what’s going on and won’t need to check as often.

Always rehydrate, and yeast nutrient is generally a good idea especially if you’re using RO as their won’t be any zinc and yeast needs some zinc for healthy fermentation.
 
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