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How long to ferment?

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I have been reading on the forums that most experienced brewers use the 3-4 method. I am a newbie and was going to ferment my second batch for three weeks. I contacted a Mr. Beer brewmaster and she stated "about 14 is usually sufficient for a good clear beer as long as you are in the proper temperature range. Allowing more than a couple extra days in the fermenter after completion is not productive and the longer the yeast sits dormant on the old yeast after a while the more chance for off flavor formation. Where it really pays to take extra time is in the bottles during the carbonation and conditioning phases".  Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

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I have always let all my batches sit for 2 weeks in the LBK and then 3 to 4 in the bottle at room temperature, I have not had any issues doing it this way, some people like the 3/4 method it just depends on your personal preference, and what works best for you. Some times you never know with how things will turn out, I made a batch before the holidays and then forgot about it for about 4.5 weeks in the LBK, it was still fine though when bottled and tasted well, no off flavors at all from autolysis. Then again I think I just got lucky with that one!!

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The bigger the ABV and the more HME that is used the longer it will take to ferment, the best method to know if it is ready to bottle is with a hydrometer and three straight readings with no change in the readings.

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Well they're right, to a point.  The 3 weeks is because most noobs don't have a hydrometer yet.  While the beer is probably done in 2 weeks, with out taking 2 hydrometer readings 3 days apart you cannot be sure.  So to prevent the possibility of bottle bombs so 3 weeks, your sure they are done.  However even 4 weeks on the yeast cake will not hurt your beer. Although I agree an extended period on the cake will effect the taste. So really it don't hurt a thing to let it set and let the yeast to "clean up" the beer an extra week there by helping your brew to be a little better.  However, remember MrBeer ain't lying  They promise brewing beer fast, and they advise how to brew it fast.  Many folks do only wait the 2 weeks and bottle buy using a hydrometer to insure fermentation is done.  Even though I have 2 hydrometers(an extra one as they are suicidal) I still use a 3 week fermentation. I'm using 3 fermenters a week apart on a 3 week rotation, I got beer coming out the pipeline weekly.  for me the FG is just to help figure the ABV.   they are also right about extended bottle conditioning 4 weeks is minimum time.   Longer is better in most cases.

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That is a good point the more ABV the longer it can take to ferment sometimes, but that is not always the case, I made a Merica IPA!! (awesome name I know!) Any ways had an OG reading of about 1.089 was supposed to be 1.091 but I was close, and the FG was supposed to finish around 1.016. I checked it at the 2 week point and had already hit my FG, part of a good fermentation is also having proper pitching temperature to support healthy yeast growth.   

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BrianBrew said:Allowing more than a couple extra days in the fermenter after completion is not productive and the longer the yeast sits dormant on the old yeast after a while the more chance for off flavor formation. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

   I disagree with the "not productive" statement.  The more time you allow the yeast to cleanup after itself, the better you are going to be.  You aren't harming anything letting it sit for 3 weeks, and without proper testing equipment you are better off erring on the side of longer.

   The reality is if a person is of the impatient type, this hobby probably isn't a good fit for them.  It's all about waiting, really.

   It is true that beer sitting on the trub for to long can produce off flavors, but that is beyond the 5 week mark.  In Palmer's book he states him going over 4 weeks without any issues at all.

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I was eager to get my second batch into the bottles at the 2 week point. It tasted fine, and it did not look like anything was going on inside. I am glad I waited. 5 days later, the clarity is significantly improved. I am hoping that will improve the end result. The waiting on the first batches is a huge challenge. My LBK's get 'checked' a couple times a day to see what is going on with them. Usually they are still sitting there:)

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That is true, the first batch is the worst, seems like that takes forever, but once you get a good pipeline built up then you will have no issue waiting at all!

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yeah, and the second batch ain't much better. ;)  like robertl6 said when the pipeline starts to flow things are better

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excuse the change of subject but Dawg LB O.I.C. could you post the pic that your using as an avatar? I didn't know it could be used as a measuring cup but I can't read the rest of the writing.   thanks for y'alls patience back to the thread.

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Those marks are explained in many places on the internet. Most claim they are marked for alcohol measuring. But I have seen other explanations. Not sure how accurate the measures are or what the truth of their intended use is.ab571af2-c558-4627-93f9-16b11052d20e.jpg

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Sorry. Didn't mean to step on any toes. But I figured if I could answer a question I should. Who knows when another one I know the answer to will come along. ;)

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On ‎2‎/‎6‎/‎2014 at 11:24 AM, robertl61416255904 said:

That is true, the first batch is the worst, seems like that takes forever, but once you get a good pipeline built up then you will have no issue waiting at all!

 

Try having to wait 5-6 weeks from the time the first kit you buy comes in, and the time you can start preparing the batch.  THEN I have to wait for it to ferment/mature/etc.  I truly hope patients is a virtue

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2 hours ago, MiniYoda said:

 

Try having to wait 5-6 weeks from the time the first kit you buy comes in, and the time you can start preparing the batch.  THEN I have to wait for it to ferment/mature/etc.  I truly hope patients is a virtue

I don't know about patients, but patience is. ;)  Just kidding MiniYoda.  There is no grammar policing here, even from the community English Language Arts teacher. :)  Welcome to the forums!!! :):)

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10 hours ago, Brian N. said:

Welcome to Mini Yoda. And, read all of RickBeer's advice under found under his post. 

Will Do, Brian N.  But there is SO MUCH!!!!!!!!  So far on this site alone I have four pages of notes, and that's just to get started.  When I go into a hobby I go all in.  Within a year I predict to have a large collection of recipes and three kegs fermenting

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14 hours ago, AnthonyC said:

I don't know about patients, but patience is. ;)  Just kidding MiniYoda.  There is no grammar policing here, even from the community English Language Arts teacher. :)  Welcome to the forums!!! :):)

For all those times where I criticize other people's spelling, including its vs. it's, your comment above is well earned.  Thanks! 

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32 minutes ago, MiniYoda said:

Will Do, Brian N.  But there is SO MUCH!!!!!!!!  So far on this site alone I have four pages of notes, and that's just to get started.  When I go into a hobby I go all in.  Within a year I predict to have a large collection of recipes and three kegs fermenting

Look out then for sales, (especially post holiday sales in March/April) at stores like Walmart/Target/Sears etc. Last time I got a complete kit (including refill and bottles)  and 2 packs of 2 refills for just over $40 at Sears as far as I remember.

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1 hour ago, MiniYoda said:

When I go into a hobby I go all in.  Within a year I predict to have a large collection of recipes and three kegs fermenting

First of all, Welcome.

 

Just so you know, this is not a hobby, it is an obsession.  I pretty much predicted the same when I was doing my first batch.  Before it finished fermenting, I had another kit and now 20 months in I have countless carboys, a fermentation chamber and all of the equipment to do full boil 5 gallon all grain batches.  I think my next batch is number 50. 

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16 hours ago, Nickfixit said:

Look out then for sales, (especially post holiday sales in March/April) at stores like Walmart/Target/Sears etc. Last time I got a complete kit (including refill and bottles)  and 2 packs of 2 refills for just over $40 at Sears as far as I remember.

Yea, I thought that was the way to go, but I got impatient.  Due to personal problems (D-I-V-O-R-C-E) and having to move because of it, I haven't started my first batch yet, but I'm planning on stocking up on black Friday and after new year sales.

 

and the down time give me time to study

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15 hours ago, BDawg62 said:

First of all, Welcome.

 

Just so you know, this is not a hobby, it is an obsession.  I pretty much predicted the same when I was doing my first batch.  Before it finished fermenting, I had another kit and now 20 months in I have countless carboys, a fermentation chamber and all of the equipment to do full boil 5 gallon all grain batches.  I think my next batch is number 50. 

due to my current state, I doubt I could do a set up as large as yours, but I'm impressed.  I'll be  happy if this time next year I have 3 LBKs going at the same time.  Regardless, I'm in it for the art and hobby.  Obsession, yea, but for me, it's also a chance to *learn*

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On 2/6/2014 at 9:08 AM, robertl61416255904 said:

I have always let all my batches sit for 2 weeks in the LBK and then 3 to 4 in the bottle at room temperature, I have not had any issues doing it this way, some people like the 3/4 method it just depends on your personal preference, and what works best for you. Some times you never know with how things will turn out, I made a batch before the holidays and then forgot about it for about 4.5 weeks in the LBK, it was still fine though when bottled and tasted well, no off flavors at all from autolysis. Then again I think I just got lucky with that one!!

Best way I find is to look through with the flashlight, when the bubbles stop, or very little activity, go ahead and bottle.  I usually do 2 weeks anyway but have done 3 weeks many times and it turned out just fine.  I think Cooper's Mr Beer's has decent yeast and it would take quite a while to make the batch go bad, but I've never left more than 4 weeks.  Then 4 weeks for sure in the bottles, I'm getting really good Cz pils and Cdn blond's when adding a 1/2 - 3/4 bag of dry malt.  I'm currently trying 2 LBK's where I bought a Cooper's Pil and Cooper's mexican (only thing the local shop has), and just added the entire big can instead of the Mr Beer kit with the extra malt.  (Careful, the ale I tried this way bubbled over very aggresively in the first 24 hrs, so I just replaced with the Mexican, as the lighter beers seem OK).  That's what the local brew shop owner does with his 5 gallon batch's, add's 2 cans original malts instead of adding the extra sugar or DME.

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