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McSquirrely

18-Day Fermentation?

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Lately, I've been checking my brix values on the 14th day of kegging.  I've noticed with at least three of my batches, brix values had stabilized by the end of the second week of fermentation in the LBK.  Never-the-less, on only one batch (my first) did I not let the process continue to day 21.  My question is this: IF Brix values are stable from Day 15 - Day 18, why not begin the cold-crash then instead of waiting another 3 days?  Just curious -

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2 hours ago, RickBeer said:

Because the yeast need to cleanup, which they don't do when they are dormant.  This results in no change in OG, but it does impact taste.  

 

To convert Brix readings I am using the refractometer calculator on-line, which I was led to believe adjusted for the presence of the alcohol.  Am I wrong on this too, Rick?  I know all of this is approximation, not exact.

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On 2/5/2019 at 12:35 PM, McSquirrely said:

Lately, I've been checking my brix values on the 14th day of kegging.  I've noticed with at least three of my batches, brix values had stabilized by the end of the second week of fermentation in the LBK.  Never-the-less, on only one batch (my first) did I not let the process continue to day 21.  My question is this: IF Brix values are stable from Day 15 - Day 18, why not begin the cold-crash then instead of waiting another 3 days?  Just curious -

I've always gone 18 days and then either bottled then or cold crashed for 2-3 days. In answer to your question, I think that 21 day time limit is a safe advice for those fermenting in an LBK because some don't have a hydrometer to check their readings, and those that do don't want to waste the 4 oz each time they take a reading.

Your refractometer only takes a few drops. I haven't used one for beer, only for salinity, so I can't speak about the accuracy of the instrument compared to a hydrometer. 

I think that those that keg, often keg at 2 weeks if they have a steady reading but they're not risking bottle bombs either.

 

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34 minutes ago, Cato said:

I've always gone 18 days and then either bottled then or cold crashed for 2-3 days. In answer to your question, I think that 21 day time limit is a safe advice for those fermenting in an LBK because some don't have a hydrometer to check their readings, and those that do don't want to waste the 4 oz each time they take a reading.

Your refractometer only takes a few drops. I haven't used one for beer, only for salinity, so I can't speak about the accuracy of the instrument compared to a hydrometer. 

I think that those that keg, often keg at 2 weeks if they have a steady reading but they're not risking bottle bombs either.

 

That's about what I've read at numerous sites.  Yet Rick advises me to go to the full 21 days every time to 'clean things up'.  (His comment is above)  Today (day 18) I did another Brix reading and still no change.  It has undergone a vigorous fermentation, the foam on the side of the keg is evidence of that, but it has completely settled down now for more than 3 days, at least.  As far as using a refractometer to read brix and gravity (both of which are indicated on the instrument) the on-line calculator is supposed to make adjustment for the presence of alcohol.  And yes, a few drops taken from a shot glass is far better than withdrawing 4 oz at a time, several times.  imo.  But, I'm going with Rick's advice.  At least for now.

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I assume when Rick says to let the yeast "clean up," he's saying to let the yeast metabolize unwanted fermentation byproducts (VDKs, acetaldehyde).  IMHO, if you pitched a healthy pitch of yeast of proper size, and you're getting consistent readings, you're good to bottle.  A healthy fermentation should be ready for bottling once you have reached final gravity.  If you're uncertain if your pitch size/health was correct, then the "cleaning up" is warranted out of precaution (I think that's where Rick's thought comes from...  Mr. B yeast packet size and lack of knowledge for the homebrewer on the potential age/health of the yeast warrants the caution of the extended time period).  To flip this on its ear, there is a school of thought that states that yeast autolysis can occur if you leave it on the cake too long, leaving off flavors in the beer.  Personally, I don't think that's a huge deal for us homebrewers.  I think I've packaged as early as 7 and as late as 28.  I generally keg (now) or bottle (in the past) around 10-14 depending on reading.  YMMV.

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17 hours ago, McSquirrely said:

That's about what I've read at numerous sites.  Yet Rick advises me to go to the full 21 days every time to 'clean things up'.  (His comment is above)  Today (day 18) I did another Brix reading and still no change.  It has undergone a vigorous fermentation, the foam on the side of the keg is evidence of that, but it has completely settled down now for more than 3 days, at least.  As far as using a refractometer to read brix and gravity (both of which are indicated on the instrument) the on-line calculator is supposed to make adjustment for the presence of alcohol.  And yes, a few drops taken from a shot glass is far better than withdrawing 4 oz at a time, several times.  imo.  But, I'm going with Rick's advice.  At least for now.

 

When I read your post, I thought you said you wanted to be done at 15 days.  In re-reading it, you said you were letting it sit from day 15 to 18, then wanted to bottle.  That's fine, in fact, that's what I do.  

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This morning I crashed .  If I had waited 21 days, I wouldn't have had a full 3 days for the crash and still bottle on time.  We're leaving on a trip next week and I deemed it better to get a full 3 days in the fridge rather than an extra 2 days fermentating.  This is Day 19.  I'll bottle Sunday.  Thanks to everyone who took time to weigh-in on this.  🙂

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