Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Bucket Fermentation vs Glass

I have two batches in primary fermenters - one bucket and a 6 1/2 gallon glass primary.

It seems the bucket - although sealed - does not exhibit a strong fermentation in that the airlock does not bubble much or at all. I peaked in through the airlock hole and after nearly two weeks I see a decent amount of foam (krausen) on the top. I suspect I should leave things alone however I have been told NOT to leave the wort in the primary longer than 2-weeks.

The glass primary is working fine and will be on schedule.

I suspect bucket fermenters do not have a 100% seal is the issue and I am OK is my theory.

See attached photo …

Thanks

John

That’s a pretty fancy brewstand… :wink:

It is possible that there is a poor lid seal allowing CO2 out, but it is also quite possible that the fermentation went quickly and the furious bubbling came and went between your observations.

After two weeks, you can certainly transfer to secondary, and take a hydrometer sample to check the current gravity to see where your are. Above all, RDWHAHB.

Opinions vary, just do a search of the forum.

Many experienced brewers here (I am not very experienced) say there is no real reason to move your beer to a carboy unless you are adding flavoring (fruit, spices, etc), dry hopping, or it’s a big beer that needs more yeast or long-term bulk aging (probably other reasons too). It just ups the risk for contamination and/or oxidation of the beer.

Others believe moving to a carboy helps clarify, avoids off flavors from the yeasts and frees up your primary bucket.

Read up and see what you feel is best for your brewing.

For me being a newbie, and having limited storage in my apartment, I just bulk age in my primary since I am usually only doing one beer at a time. I have moved to a secondary, without a problem, when I did 2 beers with in 2 weeks in the spring.

It’s all a matter or preference for most beers. there are always exceptions.
:cheers:

[quote=“Brew-Stir”]I have been told NOT to leave the wort in the primary longer than 2-weeks.[/quote]I’d be leery of taking advice from whoever told you that. My standard practice is 3 weeks minimum. A couple of years ago I had a fire and wasn’t able to do beer things for some time, had an IPA that sat in the primary for 6 months, I planned to dump it expecting it to be nasty but it was pretty good. The hop flavor and aroma was very diminished so it really didn’t taste like an IPA, very smooth and drinkable though.

I’ve done several batches in buckets are carboys side by side, I’d tend to agree that some of the gas is probably escaping the lid seal (I don’t have any rubber seal). Not really an issue though as the resulting beer has turned out the same and during active fermentation I’m not too worried about contamination some how making its way in.

That type of bucket lid generally does not have a gasket and will not seal airtight.

Yeah, definitely. I’m not as anti-secondary as some people around here, but I have come to the conclusion that they are rarely necessary. And I almost always primary for at LEAST 3 weeks. I’ve left it in the primary for multiple months before without incident.

Looking at the airlock level on the bucket, it appears pretty full. If you didn’t add more solution to it after the earlier period of fermentation, then I would venture a guess that the lid is not sealed well. As said, 100% seal is not likely, but near 100% is expected. Don’t be afraid to open the bucket lid and look - it may create a better seal when you close it back up and wit out the 3 week minimum before transfer (unless this is a really low gravity ale - i.e., below 1040-ish OG.

I’m very guilty of being a fermentation watcher. At times I’ll sit and watch fermentation in a clear carboy totally mesmerized even ever ~80 batches. Can’t do that with buckets but I have figured out that if it is darker in the room and you set a flashlight light end down on the lid you’ll easily be able to see were the krausen is at. It helps keep me from opening the lid and give me reassurance that the beer is fermenting properly (and can give me some warning if it looks like I’ll have to throw on a blow off tube)

I hope I don’t step on anyone’s toes, but unless they are exactly the same recipe depending on style, gravity, and yeast how active a fermentation you have can vary from batch to batch. Just my 2 cents.

I’ve always done a secondary because that is how I learned to do it. I have tried just the primary and results were also fine. I do find less junk carying over to my keg if I have racked it once, but that really shouldn’t make much of a difference anyway.

Now I have a fancy Speidel tank for fermentation. So if I do a few brews close together I transfer to a secondary to make way for the next batch. Otherwise I am more likely just to leave it in the Speidel for the duration.

Great observation.

[quote=“Brew Meister Smith”]I’ve always done a secondary because that is how I learned to do it. I have tried just the primary and results were also fine. I do find less junk carying over to my keg if I have racked it once, but that really shouldn’t make much of a difference anyway.

[/quote]

If you pull the racking cane up just a little on the 1st fermenter when you transfer to the keg, you will accomplish the same thing as transferring to a second vessel. Your beer “waste” will be the same.

IMO, there is no difference in a beer that is left in the primary for 4 weeks compared to a beer that spent 2 weeks in the primary, then 2 weeks in a second “bright tank” vessel.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com