10 Day Fermentation Ending, But I need to Travel?

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GregW91

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Hello All,

My first post in this forum and I fear may be a stupid question, however I've not been able to find anything relevant online.

I'm very new to brewing and currently have a basic SMASH IPA with a 10 day fermentation under way which is my second brew, it is due to finish this coming Wednesday. Unfortunately I need to travel for work Wednesday-Friday. Equipment I am using is the 25l Grainfather conical fermenter.

1) Will it be ok to leave it until Saturday to bottle it?
2) Are there any recommendations to follow? Such as briefing a friend and having them dump the yeast on Wednesday?

Thank you for reading my post,
Greg.
 

Donegal john

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If I’m busy or just plain couldn’t be arsed I sometimes leave the beer on the turb for 3 weeks or more never any issues. It will be all good.
 

phettebs

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I leave beers in the FV a minimum of 2 weeks and sometimes 3-4. You will be just fine. And I agree that it will probably improve it. The yeast continues to do good work even after primary fermentation is complete.
 

Buffers brewery

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If you've got time, take an SG reading Wednesday morning before you leave :laugh8: and again when you return to confirm fermentation is complete: both readings should be the same.
 

BarnBrian

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I did a similar thing where I had to go offshore for five weeks, so ended up with six weeks in FV. It turned out to be one of my better brews.
 

dom

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I don't have the experience of the others posting above, but I was looking into this recently because I was wondering the same thing. I found this article helpful, it agrees with the above posters that there's a benefit to leaving it in the FV a while after fermentation: How Long Should Beer Be In The Primary Fermenter? The author's default length of time is 3 weeks total time in there.

"Byproducts created by the yeast during fermentation are still in the beer and they are undesirable in terms of flavour. In the next phase of fermentation, these byproducts are cleaned up by the yeast.
A diacetyl rest, where the compound diacetyl is removed can take several days after the initial burst of yeast activity. This is just one example of the conditioning phase of fermentation.
The beer needs to be in contact with the yeast for this cleanup to happen, racking the beer off the yeast will leave these undesirable compounds in the beer after bottling.
The other concern about bottling the beer too soon after primary fermentation is that a lot of yeast will still be up in suspension. This means that when you bottle the beer you’ll have a large buildup of yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottles.
Every time you pour a beer it will rouse the yeast and you end up with murky, cloudy beer. Waiting for the yeast to flocculate (settle out) to the bottom of the fermenter avoids this issue.
The rate of flocculation depends on the yeast strain, it can take anywhere between 3-4 days if you have a highly flocculant yeast strain to 1 – 2 weeks for a low flocculant yeast strain. This is after you’ve reached the final gravity."
 

Victor Churchill

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I'm puzzled : if I leave the brew in the FV for over 2 weeks before bottling, I see that I am likely to get a clearer and cleaner brew - but doesn't that effect the secondary fermentation during conditioning? I've noticed that my brews are often a bit flatter when I leave them longer before bottling.
 

dom

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I'm puzzled : if I leave the brew in the FV for over 2 weeks before bottling, I see that I am likely to get a clearer and cleaner brew - but doesn't that effect the secondary fermentation during conditioning? I've noticed that my brews are often a bit flatter when I leave them longer before bottling.
Why would that be? As long as you don't wait so long that the yeast die off (in which case you'd notice nasty flavours as well), I can't think why that would change the secondary in the bottle. I guess maybe if the carbonation from the primary fermentation has worn off a bit.. but I wouldn't have thought an extra week would make too much difference there. But I honestly don't really know!
 

Victor Churchill

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Maybe I have a wrong mental model of what's happening. In my undersytanding the yeast do their thing during primarythen when they have consumed the fermentables and/or reached their max ABV they either die or go dormant, and in eithe rcase settle to the bottom. So it seems to me that if all the yeast is at the bottom of the V, either dead or in 'suspended animation', then there will be little or no yeast in the transfer to bottle hence little secondary fermentation. But I am sure I have a over naive simplification.
 

dom

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Just echoing what I've read, don't claim to know for sure.. I don't think they die (assuming all goes to plan) but they do start to settle at the bottom and go dormant to some extent when they've finished the primary. But it won't be 100% of them that do that, some stay in suspension in the liquid. Different kinds of yeast have different levels of flocculation which I think is how much and how quickly they clump together and settle - but it wouldn't be 100% settled in say 2-3 weeks (I don't know whether or not any kinds of yeast would settle 100% before they started to die and produce off tastes). So the remaining unsettled ones make it into the bottle. Since it's such a small amount of sugar that needs to be fermented in the bottle, even that small amount of unsettled yeast is enough. That's the way I think about it anyway!
 

Poddyc

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Maybe I have a wrong mental model of what's happening. In my undersytanding the yeast do their thing during primarythen when they have consumed the fermentables and/or reached their max ABV they either die or go dormant, and in eithe rcase settle to the bottom. So it seems to me that if all the yeast is at the bottom of the V, either dead or in 'suspended animation', then there will be little or no yeast in the transfer to bottle hence little secondary fermentation. But I am sure I have a over naive simplification.
@Victor Churchill, (at risk of others shooting me down) I think there's generally confusion between the naming convention for phases of yeast fermentation activity ('primary' & 'secondary' aka 'conditioning') and the naming convention used for different stages of the typical brew production process, (generally referring to stages when the brew is in 'primary FV', 'secondary FV', and in bottles).

I believe that primary fermentation more accurately refers to the early phases of yeast activity, which coincidentally happen in the primary FV. (During which, the yeast goes through multiple overlapping phases of consumption of available fermentables. Starting with the easiest to consume first).

Yeast activity will then drift into a secondary fermentation or ‘conditioning’ phase whereby it will finish off its consumption of earlier by-products - a 'mopping or cleaning up' phase. (Being the ‘secondary’ aka 'conditioning' phase of yeast activity, regardless of whichever vessel it’s contained within at that particular time).

Whereas a secondary fermentation brew 'process stage' occurs when new fermentables are added - usually when bottling - so that the yeast kicks off its first and most CO2 productive phase of consumption again, (but this time the CO2 forced into solution within the brew now contained within its final packaging, generating fizz).

A further confusion arises in that some brewers will transfer the brew from primary FV to a secondary FV, and before the yeast has completely finished all of its work. This is usually in order to remove a brew from sitting too long on old yeast trub, adding an additional optional brew 'process stage'. (In which case, albeit this will be in a 'secondary FV', it's not accurate to call it 'secondary fermentation', as such).

Most UK homebrewers don't rack brew to secondary FV, as it adds a degree of risk of infection and oxidation, with little of the benefit seen by commercial brewers. This is, I believe, to remove good beer from the risk of contamination from trub decomposition due to the immense pressure at the bottom of huge, tall commercial FVs, (a problem homebrewers don't usually have).

‘Conditioning’ occurs throughout the yeast fermentation activity beyond the initial phases, being that activity when the yeast is 'mopping up' or 'cleaning up' earlier by-products, and generally improving the brew. This can occur in primary FV, secondary FV (when used), but mostly occurs in the bottle, being amongst the latter phases of yeast fermentation activity.

Clear as mud (or maybe trub)?

Explained in greater detail by John Palmer in his excellent 'How to Brew' book and website, here...

Welcome to How to Brew - How to Brew/

Chapter 8 specifically on Fermentation, here...

Some Misconceptions - How to Brew
 
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Buffers brewery

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My experience is that when I've cold crashed my brew for a bit longer than usual (4 days) carbonation (secondary fermentation) takes a bit longer to start and finish. I don't bottle but use pressure barrels fitted with pressure gauges so I can see when the pressure starts to rise and when it levels off.
 

Victor Churchill

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Great post poddyc, really helpful. I've always found it a bit unclear when secondary fermentation is being talked about so this helps a lot.
 
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