Fermentation Time

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by The Unhinged Brewer, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. The Unhinged Brewer

    The Unhinged Brewer New Member

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    I'm doing some experimental batches, trying various combinations. Being fairly new to brewing, I'm not at all sure what makes one beer need to ferment for 2 weeks, another for 4, and another for 6. Or 8. I've brewed from some kits (still extract brewing right now), and the total fermentation time varies, but I've not yet seen the pattern of why & how one chooses that time. Yeast? Malts? Adjuncts?

    Opinions wanted.
     
  2. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

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    It's dependant on the yeast you use AND the fermenting temperature, healthy yeast and consistent fermentation temps which is very important to avoid off flavors.
     
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  3. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    It also depends on the amount and types of grains used. You don’t choose the fermenting time, the yeast does.
     
  4. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Higher abv beers tend to take a little longer too. As the alcohol level goes up, it slows the yeast down
    And then there's the conditioning time...
     
  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Another one is pitch rate... As jeff said a lot of variables yeast are a little like a woman you never know what mood their in and can do some unexpected things nurture them well and they'll keep you happy:D.
     
  6. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    What’s the difference between yeast and women? It’s possible to make yeast happy! :D:D:D
     
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  7. The Unhinged Brewer

    The Unhinged Brewer New Member

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    Thanks for the comments, much appreciated.

    However, it's clear I didn't ask the question clearly. i 'chose' my words poorly.

    Here's the question: when an experienced brewer looks at a recipe, what are the specific items that would make him/her say, "That probably needs some extra fermentation time?" Is it Safale S-04 vs Nottingham Ale yeast? Chocolate vs. Crystal 20L?

    I'll ask this way, too - below are two recipes from 5 gallon kits from Northern Brewer. For the Irish Draught, they recommend 4-6 weeks in the fermenter. (2 weeks primary + 2-4 weeks secondary) For the Porter, 2 weeks (1+1). Looking at the recipes, I don't see why they have those recommendations. What is it about the Irish Draught that would need a longer ferment?

    Irish Draught White House Honey Porter
    OG: 1.051 1.062
    IBU: 28 23
    ABV: 5.32 6.53

    Fermentables:

    Light LME: 3 lbs Light LME: 3 lbs
    Light DME: 2 lb Honey: 1 lb
    Honey: 1 lb late addition

    Steeping Grains:
    Crystal 30L: 0.5 lb Crystal 20L: 1 lb
    Golden Naked Oats: 0.25lb Bonlander Munich: 0.75lb
    Chocolate: 0.25lb Black Patent: 0.375lb
    Chocolate: 0.188lb

    Hops:

    1 oz Cluster Nugget: 0.5oz 45 minute
    Nugget: 0.5 oz 30 minute
    Hallertau: 0.5 oz 1 minute

    Yeast:
    Safale S-04 Danstar Nottingham Ale
     
  8. The Unhinged Brewer

    The Unhinged Brewer New Member

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    Ack. That came out looking pretty crappy. I had the two recipes lined up in columns. Well, #^%(#&$.
     
  9. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    #9 jeffpn, Nov 19, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
    When I look at a recipe, if I see the word “ale,” I assume a 7 day primary, 2 week secondary (which I consider to be optional). If it’s a lager, I assumed 21 day primary, and a 2 week lager (secondary). End of story.

    I wouldn’t sweat their fermentation times. It’s done when it’s done in the primary. Secondary anywhere from not at all to forever, up to you. Just my 2¢.
     
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  10. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    I'd agree with jeffpn. Life gets in the way when I try to make too many precise brewing plans.
    You'll get bottle bombs if you go too early, but I don't think there's any downside in waiting a little bit longer (within reason)
     
  11. The Unhinged Brewer

    The Unhinged Brewer New Member

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    Thanks, appreciate the input. I guess you are saying that there's not a lot of science to it, beyond primary fermentation at least.
     
  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    As Andy Wier once wrote, paraphrased, you can science the shit out of it, or you can brew. I find there's a minimum of science necessary to understand what's going on, how to measure and so forth but you can brew good beer without it. I like the science and the best part of it is you can drink the results!
     

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