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Question on primary fermentation time

Last Friday I brewed a batch of NB’s Irish Draught Ale. Most of my brews are of higher gravity, but I decided to do a more basic brew. As I said, it went into the primary on Friday afternoon, and as of yesterday, the ‘regular’ fermentation bubbling has stopped.

One question I’ve never asked…other than to let primary fermentation finish, is there really any reason to keep your batch in the primary AFTER fermentation has ended? Is there any other reason to keep it in for the standard two weeks?

Thanks,

Alan

There’s no such thing as “standard two weeks”. When fermentation is complete, your yeast will let you know. Take a gravity reading when they settle out, then wait 3 days, then take another reading. If the gravity doesn’t change over 3 days, then you can bottle or keg immediately. If it does change, then wait 3 more days, and repeat until it stops changing.

[quote=“aolson”]Last Friday I brewed a batch of NB’s Irish Draught Ale. Most of my brews are of higher gravity, but I decided to do a more basic brew. As I said, it went into the primary on Friday afternoon, and as of yesterday, the ‘regular’ fermentation bubbling has stopped.

One question I’ve never asked…other than to let primary fermentation finish, is there really any reason to keep your batch in the primary AFTER fermentation has ended? Is there any other reason to keep it in for the standard two weeks?

Thanks,

Alan[/quote]

i generally keep my beers in primary up to 2 weeks after visible fermentation (either bubbling airlock has subsided, via gravity readings stabilizing, or both) has subsided. The reason being is that there are fermentation byproducts - acetylaldehyde, diacetyl to name a couple, are present in the beer. The yeast will re-ingest those byproducts if they are still in contact with the beer.

more time is also helpful to allow the yeast to flocculate, thus letting you transfer clear(er) beer.

of course, if you’re going to secondary, which i don’t recommend in most cases, you could probably move the beer from primary in less than 2 weeks.

I think the “standard” 2 weeks comes from frugal homebrewers. It can waste a lot of beer taking numerous gravity readings. To combat that people have waited to take gravity readings with the understanding that fermentation is likely finished. In addition Blatz hit it on the head that the yeast continues to clean up after the party.
Personally, I do secondaries because I got clearer beer with them.

I don’t do secondaries because it’s less messing around for no discernible difference in flavor quality, and questionable difference in clarity. Will you get less sediment with secondary? Yeah, maybe. Depends on patience…

The following discussion is more important for bottling, and less important for keggers…

Personally, I don’t even check final gravity every 3 days anymore… because I have patience. If you wait until the wort & airlock stop bubbling and the beer is clear and you’re positive that fermentation is done, and then you let the beer sit in there for another week anyway even though you know it’s done because you’re in no hurry, then you can have extremely high confidence that fermentation is done-done without question and can USUALLY safely bottle at that point. If you’re a really lazy brewer like me – er, I mean, not “lazy” but “patient” – then there’s a tiny tiny risk of gushers if you wait for clarity and no bubbling but it’s a risk I’ll usually take. Once in a great while I’ll get overcarbonation in my bottles. On the other hand, once in a great while I’ll get a flat beer also. So with bottle priming, it’s always a little bit of a crapshoot anyway… a tiny bit. Usually carbonation is spot-on perfect. About 90-95% of the time. Those yeasties are really strange and unpredictable beasties every once in a while.

Thanks for the input. I do use a secondary also. I have found that going through the ‘rack to secondary’ process results in greatly clearer beer even the day after I rack.

I have the equipment. might as well use it.

I’m lazy, too. No bad will ever come from letting a beer sit in primary for an extra week or two. That being said, I do secondary more often than not. Usually to make room for another beer in primary, because I don’t feel up to bottling. And that"yeast cleaning up after itself" malarky folks mention? Totally true. Sounds nuts, but yeast is magic. It does wonderful things when you give it time.

Funny you say that. I once made a lager. At sampling it didn’t have any diacetyl. Cold crashed it and lagered it for 4 months. Sampled it again when I went to keg and it had diacetyl. So I pitched a packet of saflager 34/70 and, let it sit a room temp, and rechecked in a week. Diacetyl totally gone. AMAZING…

Funny you say that. I once made a lager. At sampling it didn’t have any diacetyl. Cold crashed it and lagered it for 4 months. Sampled it again when I went to keg and it had diacetyl. So I pitched a packet of saflager 34/70 and, let it sit a room temp, and rechecked in a week. Diacetyl totally gone. AMAZING…[/quote]
Maybe you racked it to your ‘secondary’ too soon for the yeast to clean up? :lol:

Just yankin’ yer chain Loop!

[quote=“dannyboy58”]
Maybe you racked it to your ‘secondary’ too soon for the yeast to clean up? :lol:

Just yankin’ yer chain Loop![/quote]
Sadly its probably true! But a simple repitch and putting the yeast in contact with the by-products cleaned them right up! That to me is amazing!

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