Extended time in the fermenter...

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by bifrost17, Sep 11, 2013.

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  1. bifrost17

    bifrost17 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Washington

    Hey guys, so I brewed an English Mild on Monday hoping that I might be able to bottle it next Tuesday...the recipe is supposed to have a pretty quick fermentation time, but anyways I'm not going to be able to bottle it, or rack to secondary due to schedule restrictions. So I'm wondering how long I can leave it in the carboy, and if extended time in there will have any adverse effects. I'm going on a two week trip to California next week. So the soonest I'll be able to bottle will be October 1st. I don't know if this will help answer the question, but the OG was 1.037, and I'm using wyeast Thames Valley ale yeast. Thanks in advance for your advice!
     
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,392) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    A couple extra weeks in the fermenter isn't going to hurt, and might well help.
     
    JohnSnowNW and JrGtr like this.
  3. bifrost17

    bifrost17 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Washington

    Yeah I figured it wouldn't really matter. I was just stressing myself out and wanted to get some more opinions. Especially from more experienced brewers than myself.
     
  4. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Aspirant (202) Nov 16, 2010 Washington

    Vikeman is right. Another thing to possibly expect is that sometimes low alcohol milds may take a little extra time in the bottle/keg to really come together. I say this because of a mild I brewed; At 1 month in the bottle it was thin and watery and kind of bland. After 2 months in the bottle it was one of the best beers I've brewed.

    Another note. If you are leaving it for a while, how is your temp control? In my experience, English yeasts do not like heat and will produce serious fusel alcohols if they get hot.
     
  5. JrGtr

    JrGtr Disciple (394) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    Up to a month or two is no problem. A year or two in primary is problem. How far in between is a problem can be up for argument.
     
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,932) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    A few discussion topics:

    “So I'm wondering how long I can leave it in the carboy, and if extended time in there will have any adverse effects.” You can leave you beer in the primary for an extended period of time if you desire (or circumstances make that happen). Once the primary fermentation is complete the yeast may ‘clean up’ some compounds (presuming they were created during the primary fermentation like excess diacetyl, acetaldehyde, etc.) as part of a conditioning process. The only concern I personally would have with leaving the beer in the primary too long (e.g., many months) would be yeast autolysis. I am of the opinion that it takes a very long time (many months) for yeast autolysis to occur at the homebrewing scale.

    Once primary fermentation is complete you do not need to be as concerned about the temperature of the beer since off-flavors will no longer be produced. It is critical to maintain a proper temperature while the fermentation process is occurring.

    Higher alcohols (fusel oils) are generated during the primary fermentation process with increased higher alcohol levels occurring if the fermentation temperature it too high (e.g., > 70° for a number of ale yeast strains). The majority of higher alcohols (fusel oils) are generated during the very beginning of fermentation (i.e., the first 1-2 days). It is prudent to maintain a proper fermentation temperature throughout the entire primary fermentation process but particularly important during the first few days due to higher alcohol (fusel oils) consideration.

    I hope that your Mild Ale turns out well!

    Cheers!
     
    bifrost17 likes this.
  7. bifrost17

    bifrost17 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Washington


    Temp control is pretty solid. Ambient temps in the house range from 70-76 degrees. I'm using the evaporation technique with the carboy. I've got it sitting in a bucket of shallow water, with a damp towel and a damp t shirt around the top of the carboy. The temp on the carboy is consistently staying right around 64-67 degrees. The yeast seems to be pretty happy. Actively fermenting right now, airlock is bubbling faster than I can count
     
    sergeantstogie likes this.
  8. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Aspirant (202) Nov 16, 2010 Washington


    Didn't know that. Thanks.
     
  9. Tebuken

    Tebuken Disciple (324) Jun 6, 2009 Argentina

    If you want to be relaxed in regards this beer I would wait to reach fermentation ending then put it in a fridge at 40 F.
     
  10. Boonedog

    Boonedog Initiate (0) Apr 10, 2013 Illinois

    Same with Brown Ales.
     
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