American Pale Ale - Fermentation

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Cassuis Clay, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. Cassuis Clay

    Cassuis Clay New Member

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    #1 Cassuis Clay, Nov 2, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
    I am very new to brewing and am busy with my 5th batch.

    I have some concerns regarding the current fermentation of an APA (American Pale Ale) that I am busy with and have a few questions regarding it's current fermentation and gravity.

    I have now been fermenting for 11 days.

    Before I continue the recipe and process was as follows.
    • Partial Mash - In brew pot with grain bag @ 68c (154f) for 60mins - (pale malt, CaraAroma, CaraMunich) 5liters (170oz)
    • Sparge with 6liters @ 77c (170f)
    • Boiled Wort for 60 mins with 30g (1.1oz) Southern Passion Hops (South African https://goo.gl/ijMi9k) 11% AA
    • @45mins Added 35g (1..2oz) Cascade Hops 7% AA
    • Cooled with copper wort chiller to 33c (91f)
    • Transferred to fermenter (6 gal Carboy) and topped up to 20lt mark (5 gal)
    • OG reading = 1052 sg
    • Pitched Yeast - SAFALE 05 @ 25c (77f)
    • Fermented at 20c (68f) - In a converted chest freezer with a temp controller
    • The fermentation went well and reached high krauzen @ 4 days at which point it began to recede
    • After 11 days the gravity is @ 1017
    • Airlock is still bubbling very slowly (1 bubble per 10 - 20 mins)

    I need some advice on the following three points…
    1. Is it ok that the airlock is still bubbling, even although it does appear to be slowing down gradually? I am worried that the gravity is still rather high and my target is about 1013 - 1014 sg. I have read alot about stuck fermentations, is mine still ok?
    2. I plan to bottle @ about 14 days fermentation, as long as the target FG has been reached. Should I wait longer, perhaps three weeks or until I get to my Target FG?
    3. Will it do any harm bottling at a higher FG?
    Thanks in advance for the help, this is my first post on this forum and I am really hoping for some of you experts out there to guide me in the right direction.
     
  2. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    If you bottle before final gravity is reached, you’ll launch some bottle caps!
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    If it's still bubbling, one of two things is happening: Either the beer is still fermenting, which means you will blow up a few bottles if you bottle now, or dissolved carbon dioxide is escaping from solution. The way to tell is to take a couple of gravity readings a day or two apart. If you don't see a difference, the beer is done, use the carbonation calculator and the highest temperature the beer reached. If you see a difference, let it keep fermenting until you don't.
     
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  4. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Slight thread drift, what are those South African hops like? I've heard good things coming from that part of the world, but haven't looked into sourcing those ingredients yet
     
  5. Cassuis Clay

    Cassuis Clay New Member

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    Thanks and agreed, looks like a noob mistake on my part. I wonder whether a moderator will be willing to move this to the correct place.

    On the hops... Throughout my short brewing career I have always used South African Hops in my brews and the Aroma varieties are particularly yummy and obviously good value for me living here in South Africa.

    Take a look at some of the local sites which will provide more info.

    https://zahops.com/
    https://www.beerlab.co.za/collections/hops?page=2
    (check out the Southern Varieties on this page, all South African)
     
  6. Cassuis Clay

    Cassuis Clay New Member

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    Thanks Nosybear. Much appreciated.

    One quick question.

    Is it not irregular for an ale to ferment for 11 days? All the literature I have come across refers to between 3-7 days.
     
  7. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the info.
    no noob mistake on your part, I was the one that created the slight drift, not you
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    (Shrug). It takes as long as it takes. Your fermentation chamber might be a few degrees cooler than you think. You might have under-oxygenated. The moon may be in the wrong house. Who knows. Yeast are living organisms, they work to their own schedule. They're done when they're done, hence my advice to take the gravity over at least two, preferably three, days to see if it's really done.
     
  9. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Plenty of beers can ferment pretty completely in 3 to 7 days. but it's very dependent on yeast pitch and OG. It's best to let things continue to work for at least a few days beyond the point that final gravity is reached so that the yeast have time to complete their metabolic cycle. It's possible to be drinking a low-gravity beer 7 to 10 days after brewing, but it's a fairly special circumstance that you have to plan for and use specific methodology to achieve. It's safe to assume that allowing 10 to 14 days for complete fermentation is a good rule of thumb. And an extra week beyond that of "cleanup" in the finished beer before packaging is usually desirable. Be patient.
     
  10. Cassuis Clay

    Cassuis Clay New Member

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    Thanks Guys for all the feedback, You were spot on. I reached my FG of 1013 today (three weeks in total) and am planning to bottle on Sunday. It was just a case of me being impatient and a lack of knowledge.

    I am also going to rely on my record keepng to teach me a thing or two in the long term. I will need to learn from the particular conditions and data of this batch that resulted in its specific fermentation time.

    You guys Rock!!

    P.S..The Moon..Really? :)o_O
     

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