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Is it possible to "over" condition?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by alysmith4, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. alysmith4

    alysmith4 Member

    I made a Petite Saison a month ago. It's been in the primary fermentor ever since. It's recommended that I bottle it after two weeks, but it will be closer to six weeks until I'm able to. I'm just curious if it's possible to "over" condition a beer, and what are the advantages/disadvantages of leaving a beer in the fermentor for a long(er) period of time.

    Any info would be great. Below is the recipe if you're interested:

    http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/beerkits/PetiteSaisondEte.pdf
  2. mattbk

    mattbk Member

    Location:
    New York
    You can have autolysis if you leave a beer in primary for too long. This is where the yeast cells die and rupture, releasing their insides into the beer. It is supposedly a disgusting event. Have never had it happen, however, I don't believe that most of the folks on this forum would believe 6 weeks is too long, I would guess you would get this after ~ 3-6 months. Your saison (should) be fine.
    alysmith4 likes this.
  3. VikeMan

    VikeMan Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    An advantage is that it gives the yeast a chance to clean up their byproducts, But at some point, that's done, and there's really nothing to gain by leaving the beer in the fermenter any longer.

    A disadvantage of leaving it too long is that there's a risk of autolysis, which means some of the yeast cells rupturing and dumping bad compounds into the beer. In a homebrew setting (low pressures on the yeast) and when starting with a healthy yeast pitch, the risk is very small. Still, there's no reason to push your luck if you think ther beer is ready.
    alysmith4 likes this.
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I personally would be concerned about yeast autolysis at 6 weeks. For a homebrewing setup I am of the opinion that yeast autolysis would take many months as Matt posted.

    Do you use a plastic bucket as your primary fermenter? If so, then the principle concern would be for oxidation. A plastic bucket is not impermeable to oxygen so over a period of time there is the potential for you beer getting oxidized. I use a bucket and the longest I have ever kept my beer in a bucket was 5 weeks. I personally do not feel comfortable keeping my beer in my bucket beyond this timeframe.

    Cheers!
    inchrisin and alysmith4 like this.
  5. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Member

    Location:
    Nevada
    If you are still brewing small batches (1-2 gals), consider an ice tea brewer with a spigot...you won't have to "plan" to rack to another vessel (maybe another ice tea brewer) as the process is fairly simple and doesn't involve racking/siphoning. I've had a Saison in bottles for over 6 months if that makes you feel better :)...Saisons were frquently brewed in winter for summer drinking if I remember right.

    Damn thumbs and font sizes/bolding :confused:
    alysmith4 likes this.
  6. VikeMan

    VikeMan Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania

    I'm sorry, could you speak up please?
    mattbk and alysmith4 like this.
  7. VikeMan

    VikeMan Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I think you're right to be concerned about long term plastic O2 permeability. I also sometimes wonder about the lid seal areas on buckets, and whether that might be an even bigger gateway for O2.
    alysmith4 likes this.
  8. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Member

    Location:
    Nevada
    I think 6 weeks is a little long, but the fact that a CO2 blanket is covering the beer and pressure is equalized across the bucket walls should prevent significant O2 migration in or CO2 out. For 1 gal batches, a glass ice tea brewer with a spigot seems ideal for a <6 week primary.
    alysmith4 likes this.
  9. alysmith4

    alysmith4 Member

    So you would be concerned or it would take many months?
  10. alysmith4

    alysmith4 Member

    It's 5 gallons in a plastic bucket. (I did a 1 gal in a glass carboy for my first batch, but then "upgraded" with some new equipment.)

    Thanks for all the feedback; I really appreciate it! I'll try to order some more bottles asap and get to bottling once they arrive.
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Typo: I meant to state I would not be concerned about yeast autolyisis.

    Sorry.

    Cheers!
    alysmith4 likes this.
  12. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    “ …the fact that a CO2 blanket is covering the beer and pressure is equalized across the bucket walls should prevent significant O2 migration in”

    That is not how it works. O2 migration is defined by Dalton’s law of partial pressures and Frick’s Law. Below is something I posted previously on this topic:

    The ‘issue’ of oxidation of homebrew in plastic buckets is ‘defined’ by Dalton’s Law of Partial Pressures and Frick’s Law.

    Dalton’s law of partial pressures ‘defines’ that the total pressure within a vessel (a homebrew bucket) is an addition of all of the pressures of the different gases within the vessel. The ‘dominant’ gas in a homebrew bucket during active fermentation is CO2 but there is also Nitrogen, Oxygen, etc. in the wort (in solution) and within the headspace. A ‘notion’ is that during active fermentation there is little concern about Oxygen (and possible oxidation effects) since during the active outgassing some of the other gas molecules (e.g., N2, O2, etc.) are ‘scrubbed out’ along with departing CO2.

    When the active fermentation ceases, then this is where Frick’s Law comes more into play. Within the liquid (beer now) there are gases in solution (N2, O2, CO2, etc.) Outside of the bucket is air. Frick’s Law basically defines that gas types will diffuse from areas of higher concentration to areas of lower concentration; this is done on an individual gas type basis. So, the fact that there is ‘a lot’ of CO2 in the bucket (both in solution in the beer and the headspace) has no effect on oxygen diffusion. If there is more oxygen (in the air) outside the bucket then is inside the bucket (in solution in the beer and headspace) then oxygen will indeed diffuse into the bucket. The rate of diffusion is dependent on the oxygen permeability of the bucket and difference in oxygen concentration on the two sides of the bucket.

    Cheers!
    alysmith4 likes this.
  13. VikeMan

    VikeMan Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Fick's law. That's it! I was going crazy trying to remember which one describes diffusion. Lot's of CO2 being added under pressure is a good way to squeeze O2 out of a vessel. A dormant CO2 blanket? Not so much.
  14. inchrisin

    inchrisin Member

    Location:
    Indiana
    I've left beers on the cake for 6-8 weeks several times. No problems with autolysis for me. I'd be most concerned with oxygen, as said above. I'd also be worried at this point that your yeast is starting to lose viability and that you'll have trouble bottling. Get it going soon.
    alysmith4 likes this.
  15. alysmith4

    alysmith4 Member

    So brewers that leave it for months at a time usually re-pitch?
  16. inchrisin

    inchrisin Member

    Location:
    Indiana
    Correct--especially if you're oaking something or making a sour. The worst case scenario is that your 50ish bottles don't carb with lazy yeast. That's happened to me twice, and never again. It's a PITA. I play it safe and repitch. I have also been known to use 05 to bottle because it's cheap and predictable. Just don't use another yeast with a higher attenuation, or you'll get gushers.
    alysmith4 likes this.
  17. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Member

    Location:
    Nevada
    Key words from my last post: "significant migration"...and..."glass would be ideal."

    Think about it...ever keep a helium balloon around after a party? The helium will leak out/air leaks in eventually, but not instantaneously...during the first week of fermentation, CO2 is actively being produced and some is coming out of solution during the next week or 2... and plastic buckets, I suspect, are less permiable than a thin balloon.

    It is possible to overthink oxidation risk...we are not living in a hyperbaric chamber
    alysmith4 likes this.

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