Fermentation Timing beyond Gravity Change

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by JohnAdam, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. JohnAdam

    JohnAdam New Member

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    #1 JohnAdam, Mar 6, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
    Hi All!

    I've been brewing awhile now but I'm starting to try and get serious about the craft and its got me questioning pretty much every aspect of brewing.

    My current quandary: Why do we(homebrewers) take longer to ferment our beers than craft breweries?

    It seems to me that whenever I tour a brewery, most of the time they claim their beer is brewed, fermented, and kegged in about 2 weeks or maybe even 10 days for some lighter beers.

    10 Days ago I decided to brew a porter, and Midwest tells me that I should consider about a week in the primary and 3-4 weeks in the secondary. I made sure to wait until my gravity dropped below 1.02 and the bubbling slowed way down and I transferred. Sure enough, the primary took about a week and my beer moved from 1.055 to 1.015, exactly as I had been planning for a nice average 5% beer.

    I then tried a sample as I was transferring and holy cow, this porter is incredible! Best one I've ever brewed! The idea of waiting 3-4 weeks is agonizing. Why do I have to? The gravity can't possibly drop much more, it doesn't really bubble a few days into secondary, and I can't imagine that the taste could improve any more. Seriously, this beer is perfect.

    What happens in the secondary fermenter that is so important? Why do we keep the beer there so long? Why can't we spin out a beer as quickly as a brewery?

    Cheers!

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  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Honestly I do! I can spit out a lager in three weeks on average and an ale in two easy:eek::). People will hate me for this but my beers taste fine without some lengthy conditioning phase in the primary fermentor. 1st thing brew up a healthy pitch rate adequate to get your fermentation underway 12 hours post pitch! Towards end of fermentation day 4-5 up your fermentation temperature to 20c let it free rise to encourage complete attenuation of your sugars. The reason to leave the beer on the lees for a day or two (in my opinion) is to let the yeast clean up by products produced in the primary fist few days fermentation 1-2 days for me if I want to slap this brew out in a hurry. 3 crash her down cold below zero 1-2 c below zero ( sorry Aussie don't work in upside down temperatures :rolleyes:) depending on alcohol percentage of beer you don't want it to freeze though it's a PITA on transfer. 4 introduce gelitin either to cold crashed Primary or as I do to keg. 5 burst carb your keg 30psi at cold temp for 24 hrs or whenever level of carbonation is achieved I do 24 . bleed it set at pouring pressure and leave for a day or three then start enjoying your hard earned beer:D. You can easily turn out a well brewed ale in two weeks. You can easily turn a well brewed lager round in three - four weeks.

    I've got no patience btw, but I don't see a problem with spitting out 2 week ales and 4 week lagers it all depends on what you pallet is like if you enjoy it young then brew your way. Now if there are any flaws in the brewing process like poor sanitation or inadequate pitch rate or oxidation or who knows then yes it may throw a spanner in your quick turn around beer works.

    Cheers ;).

    Check out Brulosophers fast ferment method at www.brulosophy.com
     
  3. Anthony G Milner

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    Have to agree with Trialben on this, I've found that with all grain I get a gravity drop to 1.010 - 1.007 within 5 to 7 days and after 3 to 4 days can dry hop. I'm now bottling after 12 days with the bottles showing very little yeast drop out at the bottom, about the same as I'd expect from a bottle conditioned commercial beer. I think this has a lot to do with the fact it's all grain, from a kit beer I've found that this takes a little longer, esp. with the kit yeast. I use US05, direct pitch into the FV for the all grain. I'll re-hydrate the US05 for the next one as an experiment.
    Cheers!
     
  4. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    You don't have to secondary if you don't want to. The only thing you do have to do is wait for gravity to drop to its final value before you bottle. Otherwise you'll get bottle bombs. Try bottling when you reach final gravity. You may be ok with your results. That's how I used to do it when I started 20 years ago. Now I do multiple batches at the same time.
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Short story: Craft breweries are interested in turning their beer quicker because of the cost of fermentor space. We can do it, it's just we have the luxury of time. They don't - they have to get the beer out of the fermentor and a new beer in there. You don't have to wait - if the beer is good, package it and start drinking. Some things that make our process take longer: Cold conditioning and settling instead of filtering. The time you spend fermenting is your call, and that's the difference.
     
  6. OkanaganMike

    OkanaganMike Active Member

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    I don't secondary unless I'm doing a wee heavy and condition for 60days off the trub. Otherwise I always go 3 weeks just cuz I have the time. It's all about planning and timing for me but I know the first 3 weeks in the fermenter and the next 3 weeks bottle conditioning when I first started were torture! Now I have a 5 tap kegerator and my "problem" is drinking enough beer to make sure I have an empty keg for the next batch to go in. ;)
     

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