Fast fermentation?

I’m pretty new to this. Been brewing for about 3 mos. non stop, about 1 gal. per week. Here’s my question: I’ve tried recipe kits from quite a few vendors. Most all indicate that fermenting should last one to two weeks. My batches seem to get done fermenting in a couple of days. I typically bottle my batches 5 days after first boil. My beers are not weak but sometimes don’t show a lot of carbonation, but never terribly flat. Am I doing something wrong ?

Lack of carbonation would be a separate issue from the speed of fermentation. Usually it will take at least two weeks for bottles to show carbonation when the bottles are conditioned in the low 70°F temperature range. Very often three weeks. Chill a bottle for two to three days before testing the carbonation. The chilling will force the CO2 in the headspace into the beer to form those nice streams of bubbles rising in the glass. High OG beers may need much longer conditioning time due to the alcohol content slowing the activity of the yeast.

Lack of carbonation after sufficient conditioning time may also be due to under priming. Using carbonation drops can also slow carbonation. Some of these drops can take a couple of weeks to dissolve.

Do you use a carbonation calculator like NB’s for weighing the amount of priming sugar to use?

Bottling five days after brew day seems to soon. If your beers are clear and taste good then the number of days is not a concern. Make sure FG has been reached so there is no risk of exploding bottles.

If you can get the temperature lower in your fermenter that will usually slow it down and extend the fermenting time. This is more important with high gravity brews that may have a tendency to blow out your air lock.

Thanks flars. I hadn’t thought about exploding bottles. When I first started not knowing if I would continue to brew, I didn’t have a capper, so I used mason jars & I did have one explode. Luckily, I had the foresight to cover them with a towel in the bathtub so no harm done. One thing diff. I am doing is I pitch yeast when temp is in mid 80s. I used to do around 100 until I red that 104 kills the yeast. I never knew that. I just figured a higher starting temp would hasten fermentation. I bottle when CO2 escaping comes virtually to a standstill. With me pitching yeast in the mid 80s & trying to maintain that temp, I noticed that I could bottle a few days after start of ferment. Granted they are very young beers I am drinking but they taste just fine (to me). Wouldn’t win any awards but I’ve been letting other people try them & they say that the beer was good. Also, when I bottle I raise the temp to mid 80s high & ensure that fizz drops are all dissolved.

You found out that mason jars are designed to hold a vacuum, not pressure, without injury. That is good. Let your fermentations go a couple of weeks. Final Gravity is likely to be reached in that amount of time with lower Original Gravity brews. Specific Gravity readings with a hydrometer is really the only way to know that FG has been reached.

Good pitching temp for most ale yeasts is in the low 60°F range. Most ale yeasts are more neutral when the fermenting beer is in the mid 60° range. Fewer off flavors are produced. It is a lot easier to control the heat produced by the fermenting yeast when you start cool rather than starting hot.

(Keep the fermentation temperature about 66° to 68° when brewing a dry Irish stout with WY 1056. Lower temps will result in a distinct peach flavor. First hand experience.)

The good thing about keeping your beer in the primary longer, besides knowing FG has been reached, is the yeast/trub layer will be more compact allowing more beer to be siphoned out. Longer primary time also means residual CO2 in solution will off gas dropping suspended particles. This means clear beer going into the bottle.

With small batches it does seem to be a waste of beer to take SG samples a few days apart to look for consistent readings indicating FG. With a three week primary you pretty much assured FG has been reached and only one SG sample needs to be taken. The only caveat to this is if a fermentation was stalled by drastically under pitching the yeast or temperature fluctuations during the fermentation. This could lead to fermentable sugars in the bottle which the yeast will slowly use to increase pressures.

Don’t buy one of those special SG sample tubes. They take way to much volume to float a hydrometer. Use the shipping tube for the hydrometer. Yes, you will have to hold it in your hand and maneuver it so the hydrometer floats freely from the sides, but it only takes about 4 ounces of beer to get the SG reading.