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Northy 12 quadrupel fermentation - Very fast, then stopped?

Hello Everyone,

Last Sunday, I brewed the Northy 12 Quadrupel Belgian Ale with the Extract Kit from Northern Brewer: Northy 12 Belgian Quad Extract Beer Recipe Kit

I am fermenting in a plastic bucket (bottling bucket with spigot
actually). Using Safbrew Be-256 dry yeast. 2 packs, hydrated. Using a
Thermograph stick-on thermometer for temp readings.

Now, I am a little worried about the state of my fermentation, 48 hours
in. The progress has been as follows: (room temperature has been 65-67F
at all times)

  • Pitched the wort at 68F. Hydrated the dry yeast. Liquid yeast temp was 75F.

  • After 6 hours, temperature in the fermenter was 66F ). Decent bubbling in the airlock (1 bubble every 2-3 seconds)

  • After 18 hrs, temp was at 65F. Good airlock activity, about 2 bubbles per second.

  • After 24 hours, fermentation went crazy. Wort got into the airlock.
    Airlock stayed in place. Temperature unknown. (I was at work, the wife
    told me about the “incident”)

  • After 30 hours, airlock was full of wort, temperature was now at 74F.
    Bubbling was slow again, at about 1 bubble per 3 seconds. I cleaned out
    the airlock, re-sanitzed and put it back in. Sloshed the bucket around a
    bit with cleaning. After putting the airlock back, no more bubbling
    activity.

  • After 44 hours, temp at 74F, no airlock activity.

Now I am a little worried that the fermentation was so violent and
sudden after 24 hrs, but after 30 hours, everything seemed to slow down /
stop significantly. I have heard airlock activity is not a good
indicator of fermentation activity, but still… From violent to nothing
over the course of 6 hours is a bit strange?

Did I do anything wrong? Did moving the bucket around while cleaning harm the fermentation?

I have now put the fermenter in a water bath (evaporation cooling) at
67F in order to get the temperature down a bit. Ideal temperature for
this yeast is 59-68 F.

I pitched at the warmer end of the yeast temperature range, but
temperatures seemed good at first. Is it a good idea to try and cool the
fermenter down now to under 70F?

Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you!

Maarten

You pitched a lot of yeast (good for this beer), and Fermentis claims this strain ferments quickly, so this sounds perfectly normal. I’d leave it be for a couple more weeks at room temp, then take a gravity reading.

This is also one of those beers that could benefit from several weeks in secondary. It is a big beer, and could use some time to smooth out before bottling or kegging.

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I’ve made the Northy 12 a couple times and have been very happy with the results.

Fermentation produces heat, and yeast work faster / harder when the wort is warm so it can become a run-away fermentation, which then completes quickly. With a high gravity beer like this one, the fermentation can really get going. I’d expect your beer to be fine so “Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew”. :slight_smile: For future batches, you might want to think about some additional cooling. You can find lots of posts here on temperature control methods.
Note that the wort temp can be quiet a bit higher than the room temp.

I find the Northy 12 is best when aged about 9 months. I have one on tap now that was brewed in February. Its a long wait, but a good brew.

I’d say the comments so far are spot on. Try to control your wort temps better in the first day or 3 especially. Start fermentation at the low end of the yeasts range and try to keep it threre for a clean ferment. A swamp cooler setup is one simple cheap way to do that.

Also don’t be afraid to pop the lid off that bucket and see what’s going on. During active fermentation you’ll have so much CO2 rising from the krauesen that it’s safe to crack it open and look in.

I agree with the guys above based on what you’ve told us the most active phase of fermentation has begun to subside.

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I would not worry too much for the next 3 or 4 weeks. Then start checking your gravity

Just be sure the lid is seated well… You are post fermentation and its starting to calm down… Now it will continue to clean up the last of the sugars and by products for perhaps a few months… With that said, Do gravity reading in 2 weeks from now… And then a week later… If you you don’t see much, if any change in gravity… I’d start to cold crash… a week is just fine… Settle out the “lees”…
I’d like to think you keg… this would be a good time to keg… Now let it go to room temp again… there will be a very slight fermentation… consume some more O2… Leave it at room temp… No extra CO2… in a month pull a sample… Cask conditioned ale…! Sneezles61

Great, thanks for the responses everyone!

I will leave it in the primary for another 2-3 weeks before moving to the secondary.

Will try to control temperature a bit better with future batches.

I am really excited about this beer, hope it turns out well!

Cheers!

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I would move it to the secondary now (a week in when it settles) or not at all. The risk of oxidation is greater the older the beer is. I’m on the fence about moving to a secondary at all. I generally do not move to a secondary unless I’m putting something on fruit or there is a ton of trub and I want the beer to batch age. An advantage to moving a big beer earlier is that sometimes a tired yeast can get roused into action again (later in the game this is less likely)

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I’m not generally speaking a proponent of a secondary vessel. Having said that there are two reasons that might make me change my mind in this case.

  1. If the OP is going to bottle the beer. if it were going to a keg I’d let it ride a few more weeks then transfer to a keg for aging. This beer will get better…for years…literally.

  2. If it’s in a bucket and you’re going to bottle it. I wouldn’t let it sit in a bucket for long after fermentation is completed and it’s stopped emitting CO2. It could easily become oxidized. If you’re going to “bulk” condition it for more than a few weeks I’d get it to a glass or stainless vessel soon while it’s still off gassing.

Buckets are great for fermenting but they’re not meant for long term storage and conditioning.

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true

Thanks for the advice everyone!

Okay, so I am fermenting in a plastic bucket with spigot… I was assuming I could use my second plastic bucket (without spigot) as secondary, but hearing now this is a bad idea…

I will bottle the beer (dont have kegs, just starting out) and planning to use a priming solution.

These are my options, given the limited equipment I have:

  • Buy myself a glass or plastic 5 gallon carboy ASAP for secondary.
  • Bottling without secondary: Transfer beer to sanitized spigotless bucket, clean out bottling bucket, then transfer again to bottling bucket with priming solution.
  • Bottling without secondary: Bottle directly from the spigot of the primary fermenter?

I would like to try the last option, but not sure if there will be so much trub in primary that the spigot cannot be used. Also, ive read id need to use fizz drops since mixing a priming solution would probably disturb the trub.

Any advice? I dont mind buying a carboy if it will help the quality of my beer in bulk conditioning…

Also, how do I clean and sanitize the spigot of my primary fermenter while the beer is in there??

Thank you!!

Buy a Big Mouthed Bubbler or Carboy. Use the spigot bucket you have as a bottling bucket and use the other bucket for some quick Kviek IPAs

Thank you! I just ordered a big mouth bubbler (the one with spigot, seems pretty versatile piece of equipment). Don’t want to take any chances with $80 worth of beer ingredients to mess it up.

Thanks everyone!

The most useful addition add on to the BMBub is the carrying strap. I hope you got that because it is not only needed for carrying but also the handle straps, when cinched, hold the lid on during active fermentation (the lid tends to loosen which drives people nuts). For the holidays you should ask for the Depth Charge because it really makes dry hopping and other additions very clean.

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