First time brewer here, with a question about fermentation.
Basically, how much fermentation is too much, and how would you rate my ‘first 24 hour’ progress listed below? (should I be concerned or is all well and good)
My brew day was yesterday (2/22/16) using the NB 1 gallon starter kit (Red Ale). Everything went well, and I followed the mixing instructions to the letter.
Here’s a picture of the jug after attaching airlock:
I left the jug to ferment on the floor in the corner of a dark room. Temperature is typically a constant 70 degrees, but can spike to 73 before air conditioner kicks in.
[Note: prior to brew day, I logged the temperatures in several places in the house and the corner location was the most consistent in temperature. The NB starter kit white paper says that my “Irish Red will ferment happiest at a temperature of 65-75F.” so this spot seemed the best. ]
After 8-10 hours, there was active fermentation(!) and lots of signs of spitting from the airlock literally dripping down the wall
I fought off my initial desire to pull off the airlock and clean it…
As of this message, it’s been 24 hours and the spitting on the wall has stopped and there is still occasional bubbling in the airlock:
Questions and thoughts:
- I wasn’t expecting much fermentation that soon, and wasn’t expecting to have to clean off the walls. Lol.
Was this due to the ambient temperature being too high? In reading posts here, a temperature in the low 60s is ‘better’ that the low 70s. Though, being a new brewer, it’s not clear ‘better’ means and what the change in temp will translate into from a taste perspective.
- At this point, is there anything I should do? (clean airlock?) or just wait two weeks and bottle everything up?
This has been fun so far, but I’m wanting to make sure that I’m learning as I go.
I would spray the top of the fermentor and pull the airlock for cleaning. Have sanitized aluminum foil ready to immediately cover the fermentor during the cleaning. There is no sanitizer left in the airlock so it can become an entry point for mold.
Fermentation temperatures near the top of a yeasts temperature range will produce more esters than at the lower end of the temperature range. Fermentation temperatures well over the yeasts range may produce fusel alcohols. This often results in dumping the beer after a few months of hoping it will improve in the bottle.
Don’t bottle until you have two stable SG readings over a period of at least three days. Let it stay in the fermentor for three weeks and you might be okay with one SG reading to see if it is near what the yeast can take the OG of this beer down to.
Welcome to the forum. Brewing really is fun and is a source for great beers. My first few were drinkable, but I realized some study was needed. I started before the internet was available.
One thing you might want to try if you got the starter kit is to swap out the airlock with a piece of hose. Put the other end of the hose in a small bucket of sanitizer solution so that the end stays under water. This enables some of the active fermentation foam go through the tube and into the bucket rather than clogging up your airlock. As Flars said, I would at this point spray the top of your jug and airlock with sanitizer (try to keep a squirt bottle of sanitizer on hand, it’s very useful) and pull and clean the airlock. Refill it with sanitizer and put it back in the stopper.
A simple fix for temperature issues is a tub of water that’s big enough to hold your jug with some room to spare. If you have one of those fermometer strips you can get a better idea of what the actual temp of your beer is. During active fermentation it can ramp up quite a bit higher than the ambient temperature of your room. If you keep it in a bucket of water, you can put in frozen water bottles once or twice a day to help keep the temperature down.
*edit: also if you don’t have a hydrometer to test your gravity changes, you should be able to see the activity going on in your beer of the yeast doing work. It will look like your beer is swirling and will be cloudy. Once this slows down and comes to a stop, the yeast will continue to do cleanup work. I would say that I would give it at least after activity has stopped to be on the safe side if you don’t have the ability to test the gravity. Also, taking multiple samples of a one gallon batch leaves you with less beer to drink at the end so you may not want to do that in this case anyway.
I suggest a larger fermenting vessel, perhaps a 2 gallon food grade bucket.
My experience with brewing one gallon batches is that it’s not common for this to occur. I brewed 4-5 kits (and custom recipes) before I encountered the clogged airlock. That being said, when I ferment one gallon batches in a carboy, I always start with a blow-off tube.
Aside: Last fall, I switched over to brewing almost all my one gallon batches with 5 qt bubblers. Others may, correctly, suggest using 2 gallon pails for fermenting one gallon batches. In either case, there is more room for the krausen.
Are you planning to brew some more 1 gallon kits (or some custom recipes)? Thinking about doing 5 gallon batches instead?
Thanks for all the replies, it’s really appreciated!
I cleaned and replaced the airlock (spraying first, covering, and refilling the airlock with sanitizer).
[Note: The airlock was cleaned around the 30 hour mark, after brewing]
I forgot to mention in the original post that the water I used was Ozarka Spring water and not tap water. Not sure if that would make any difference.
What are the odds that this Red Ale beer will be viable and fairly close in taste to what NB advertises it should be? Given that it sits in the fermenter for 2-3 weeks then 2 weeks in the bottle.
While this batch is fermenting, I’m going to try another 1 gallon batch. Just to confirm that my explosive yeast issue was temperature related or just a fluke and not typical.
Any recommendations on my next 1 gallon batch?
Here’s what everything looks like after 48 hours:
@flars Thanks for responding! Due to the initial semi-explosiveness of the first 10 hours, should I expect the final SG to be much different than if the activity wasn’t as… active?
@radagast The blow off tube sounds like a good idea. Do you keep it attached for the duration of the fermentation, or switch it our for a airlock after several days once the activity slows down?
The tub of water with frozen water bottles is a great idea, I’ll use that next time for sure!
@smallbatchbrewer @rookie_l_a Thanks, I like the idea of using a 2-5 gallon containers for the 1 gallon batch! I do plan on brewing more 1 gallon recipes, any recommendations for a newer brewer?
You can expect the final gravity to be the same in either a slow or rapid fermentation. The difference that often is noticeable is the flavors produced by the yeast in a warm fermentation compared to a cooler fermentation.
The extreme is a hot fermentation. Hot fermentations will produce fusel alcohols. The flavor of fusel alcohols is boozy and harsh. No amount of conditioning time in low or medium gravity beer will mellow fusels. The taste may mellow in a strong stout, but the effects on drinking will remain. Fusel alcohols can produce nasty headaches.
I like Pale Ales, IPAs (like Bell’s Two Hearted), and Brown Ales - Sierra Madre, Dead Ringer and Caribou Slobber were kits I enjoyed.
If you like saisons, Saison au Miel is another kit to consider. Belle saison yeast ferments at higher temperature range than either US-05 (Sierra Madre, Dead Ringer) or Windsor (Caribou Slobber) - so Saison au Miel would be a more ‘forgiving’ kit as you start working on temperature control during fermentation. (I brewed and enjoyed this kit).
For my 6.5 gal glass carboy, the hose is so tight I typically just leave it on the entire time. My 6.5 gal big mouth bubbler, the hose is somewhat loose in the opening on the lid so I replace the blowoff hose with a bung and a bubbler after active fermentation is over just to make sure nothing can get in.
I have done about 7 One gallon batches and have used a blow off tube for every one of them. I recommend starting with a blow off hose for at least the first 4-6 days of fermenting, then switch to a airlock afterwards.
I have done the Saison au Miel kit and enjoyed it very much, and I also enjoyed the White House Honey Ale Kit as well.
Hey guys i recently bought a 1 gallon starter kit of the double ip legacy beer everything went very smoth until i had the same problem the foam went into my airlock like this guy but i right away replaced with a blow off tube they gave me into a jar of clean water the thing im worried about is the sanitizer water i had in the airlock getting into the beer and also if the blow off is in just water if that will affect anything my temps are on point and its been a week there has been very little action since ive added the tube ive shaken the jug lightly and that produces a nice head of foam and good bubbles in the blow off water but im worried i messed up and it wont be drinkable please respond its my first time brewing
No need to worry about the sanitizer that was in the airlock. It was heading away from your beer. If you had Star San solution in the airlock and it went into the beer still nothing to worry about. Would not hurt the beer or you.
Active fermentation like you are experiencing can go on for several days depending on the yeast used. Keep the temperature of the beer stable and you will have good beer.
You can replace the airlock when the krausen begins to fall to make the fermentor easier to move if you need to.
Welcome to the forum.
If i replace the air lock would the air that gets in the hole when i teke the blow off valve affect the beer? Should i taste it before i bottle and condition? How much longer should i wait till bottle
No worry about air getting into the beer if you replace the airlock. If you replace it when the krausen height begins to recede the fermentation will still be active producing CO2.
Oxidation is not to much of a concern unless you shake the beer to cause quite a bit of splashing. The force of splashing can force air into the beer.
After fermentation is complete you will see the beer begin to clear from the top down. This will begin about two weeks after the fermentation had begun. This is about the time to take the first SG reading. Take a second SG reading a few days later. Taste the hydrometer samples. It will be like beer, but remember it is very green beer and uncarbonated. If the readings are the same final gravity has been reached. You can rack from the fermentor to the bottling bucket when the beer looks clear. This will minimize the amount of sediment in the bottles.
I usually leave my beers in the fermentor for three weeks before bottling. I’m in no rush to bottle though. More time in the fermentor will cause no harm
Thank you so much huge help il go ahead and leave for three weeks then and il replace the airlock tomorrow also wondering the best way to get beer out to take my readings should i maybe use a turkey baister? I just dont wanna rish contaimination and tell me more about using a bottling bucket? The paper says rack straight from the fermenter into bottles but id like a clear beer in bottles so whats the best technique to do it your way with my equiptment?
A turkey baster will work for pulling samples for SG readings. Be sure to sanitize the top of the fermentor, inside and outside of the turkey baster, and your hands.
I don’t normally say this, but you may be able to take only one SG reading if you wait long enough to take the reading. FG will often be in a certain range for styles of beer. This will increase the amount bottled. This requires making sure the beer has had enough time in the fermentor for the fermentation to completely finish. A completed fermentation can be judged by when the excess yeast drops out and the beer is clear.
Racking to a bottling bucket simplifies bottling. The priming sugar is dissolved in boiled water and added to the bottling bucket. The beer is racked in mixing with the priming solution. The bottling wand is attached to the spigot on the bucket for filling the bottles. One problem is that the last 4 ounces will not flow through the spigot. For a 5 gallon batch this is insignificant. For a one gallon batch this may seem a major volume loss.
I think I’ll stop here until I hear back from you on these two questions. Do you have someone to hold the siphon in the fermentor while you fill the bottles? What equipment was in your kit for bottling and carbonating?
I’ll be back in about an hour. Critical point in brewing. Don’t worry you’re beer is coming along okay.
You will be able to continue posting.
Ok i look forward to it happy brewing!
Ok thats what il use also whats a good container to use my hydrometer in? I also have a refractometer and i can do multiple readings if needed as i am very cautious with sanitizing but i just dont wanna introduce oxygen into it and it go bad…so you think if i leave it the 3 weeks it will just turn clear? I thought there had to be some sort of filtering mine is really cloudy and the kit i got is pictured below thank you for all your time its been a huge stress relief and im doing it to impress my owner at the resturant i bartend at he helped with the brewing and was so interested hes been talking about brewpubs ever since so i want it to thrn out amazing