Xtract brew completed fermenting in 4 days?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Reebman1, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. Reebman1

    Reebman1 Member

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    Hi folks! A relative noob here, having brewed my first extract (Brewer's Best APA kit) back in February and it was a success! I just brewed a second batch (same) on Mon 5/30/2016 and while it started 'cooking' fairly soon after pitching the yeast, it really went to town so to speak! The ferm bucket is in our bedroom and it was very noisy for three nights but then it came to a screeching halt on the fourth day and I'm thinking perhaps something has gone awry? OG = 1.050. Target 1.012-1.015 and it is currently reading (two days in a row) 1.009 (adjusted for temp).

    So, my question is, should I rack it to a carboy and let it settle out for a week or so then bottle or just leave it in the ferm bucket to finish before bottling in a week or so? I might add that the temp where I am letting it ferment is between 70-72 - which is just aboout the coolest place in our house. I would prefer it to be in the 65-68 range but I'd have to really crank down the AC and I don't want to do that. Thanks for any help you can offer me. Cheers :cool:
     
  2. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    You're lower than your target gravity. If it were me, I'd rack it into a secondary for two weeks, and then bottle it. Others will tell you secondaries are not necessary.
     
  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    You don't mention what yeast you're using, but it's not surprising that almost any ale yeast would finish quickly in 72 degrees ambient. Since there's some exothermic reaction, the wort temp could easily reach into the upper 70s. At 1.009, I'd slay it's definitely done.
    As quickly as it fermented, I'd give it more time in primary just to have plenty of yeast available to clean up the undesirable stuff. Fermenting that furiously almost certainly created some acetaldehyde and that will definitely benefit from some time on the yeast cake. If you rack to secondary (and it really isn't necessary with an extract kit) be sure to get some of the trub with the beer so there's some yeast to help with the clean-up.
     
  4. Reebman1

    Reebman1 Member

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    Thank you for the replies. One thing I failed to mention to is that when we were preparing to pitch the yeast, we followed the yeast pak instructions of letting it activate in warm water. I recently got to looking at the brew sheet and the instructions therein (that I somehow missed!) and it says to "DO NOT ACTIVATE THE YEAST" rather sprinkle it over the cooled wort when it has been transferred into the ferm bucket. Guessing this is why I have a faster batch than the previous one! I'll report back as I make the necessary adjustments as recommended here! Thanks.

    PS: J A - I can not say at this point what yeast it was as the packaging is long gone. It was whatever Brewers Best Kit came with at the time.
     
  5. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    That kit probably included Danstar American West Coast BRY-97. I used to brew their extract kits all the time. Their instructions are, to this day, why I don't rehydrate yeast. Here's what they say about a secondary. It's also why I employ that practice.
     

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  6. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree with using secondary fermentation with all-grain (clearer beer, better yield at bottling), but all-extract beer is usually so clean and clear that it's just an added step that risks oxidation or contamination.

    I know it's a little cynical, but anyone who's selling brewing equipment would rather have you buy more stuff, so they're bound to tell you that both primary and secondary fermentation vessels are definitely necessary. :)
     
  7. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    While Brewer's Best does sell brewing equipment, my LHBS only sells their ingredients and basic hardware kits. The carboys, bungs, and airlocks have nothing to do with Brewer's Best.
    In 20 years of extract brewing, I never had an oxidation or infection problem of using a secondary for the batches. It was probably 10 to 15 years ago that I heard everyone start saying that it's a waste of time. Secondary fermenters have always been part of my routine. Necessary? Not necessary? Doesn't matter to me. I just like doing it that way. One benefit of using a secondary is that it frees up a primary to get started on another batch!
     
  8. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Impeccable reasoning! :D
    I've been using secondary on my 5 gallon batches with primary in a bucket for plenty of headspace and secondary going into a 5 gallon carboy. I find that I still prefer the simplicity of single vessel fermentation with smaller batches except for all-grain where I can improve yield by getting rid of most of the break material in the primary and having less to deal with at bottling.
     
  9. artbreu

    artbreu Member

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    Rehydrating is done to increase the <em>surviving</em> cell count, as by some accounts up to 50% (I'm skeptical of that number but I've come accross it) of pitched-dry cells will die once in the sweet wort. So, at worst, you have a higher cell count, or pitch rate, than the kit designer suggests. And this is not a killer blow to your beer, just going to change the ester profile. You could end up liking it better!

    More cells will also give you a faster fermentation, especially at warmer temps (such as your room). I agree with what was stated above about giving it a longer primary on the yeast cake to clean up the diacetyl. Like a month even if you can; it will just get better.

    tl;dr: Sounds like the beer is done. It's probably fine. Keep it on yeast longer to improve flavor no matter if you transfer or not, once it's off the yeast it will not improve.
     
  10. Reebman1

    Reebman1 Member

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    I went ahead and racked it to my glass carboy one week ago tomorrow. So, I wonder if NOT allowing it to sit on the yeast cake longer as suggested, will have disastrous or less results? Will it hurt to take a SG reading to see if anything has changed since racking? Thanks again for all your replies as they are helpful for my learning process :cool:
     
  11. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Sanitize your hydrometer and check it. Homebrew isn't as fragile as you fear.

    RDWHAHB
     
  12. Gunnibrewer

    Gunnibrewer New Member

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    I definitely recommend racking into a secondary, even extract brews will benefit, if nothing else it will help with clarity.
     
  13. Reebman1

    Reebman1 Member

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    Well, I just took a SG reading and the ABV has risen slightly to 5.64% - that's .14% higher than the upper end of the target range of 5.0 - 5.5%. The clarity is very nice and I'm going to go ahead a bottle this weekend. Has a good taste - to me! ;)
     
  14. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't be a bad idea to check the gravity before you bottle. Compare that to today's reading. If it dropped, it may not be quite done fermenting. Make sure it stabilizes before you bottle. I'm kind of gun shy in that area!
     
  15. Reebman1

    Reebman1 Member

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    We bottled on Saturday and now it's wait-n-see what we come up with!

    The gravity was just about the same as before so I'm confident it was finished fermenting. So now my bro and I are planning a BIAB session sometime soon. I'm going to be looking for a good candidate recipe for a first timer and one that is a good summer brew! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated :cool:
     
  16. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    i'd suggest going for something a bit light and citrusy.

    i did a pretty good 50/50 2row and wheat bill, with some Citra and Amarillo a while back. not very original, but simple and delicious. at any rate, mash low so you can get a drier, crisper beer
     
  17. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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  18. Reebman1

    Reebman1 Member

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    Thanks for the recommendation! I am really new to this whole brewing thing so please humor me with my likely elementary questions! What exactly is meant by "...mash low..."? (Ya neva learn if ya neva ask!) :eek:
     
  19. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Mash low. Around 149°F
     
  20. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    no problem

    depending on the mash temperature, you extract different sizes / types of sugar. mashing on the low end (148-152, give or take) produces a lot of sugars that are easily eaten by the yeast. this means there's not as much residual sugar at the end of fermentation, since it's all been eaten. this leaves a beer a bit "dry." think something like a white wine or a lager.

    mashing higher, 156-158, makes more dextrines, which are not fermentable by yeast (they can be by bacteria or wild yeast, but that's a whole other topic). this means the FG will be a bit higher, leaving you with a "sweeter" beer with more mouthfeel. think something like a guinness or an amber ale.

    you can always add dextrine malt (carapils) to add dextrines even if you mash low.

    also, the beers i mentioned, i'm just talking about their taste / mouthfeel. i have no idea what temperature guinness or whoever else mashes at
     

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