Logging Techniques for Primary Fermentation

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Logging Techniques for Primary Fermentation

Post  jadams on Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:26 am

I know I haven't been to a meeting in a while, but I'd like to ask everyone a question, if I may. What sort of logging do you do during primary fermentation? Specifically, I'm wondering things like: is your method to count bubbles for a set period of time every so often, or something else; would you say your logs are fairly vague (a lot of guesses and assumptions about fermentation activity), or fairly accurate?

(X-post from the IBRU Facebook group. I apologize for the dupe. Answer either one and I'll see it. Thanks)

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Re: Logging Techniques for Primary Fermentation

Post  EricRuuska on Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:45 am

I don't really do any logging when it comes to primary fermentation process. I just make sure I've got active fermentation going on, then wait at least 3 weeks to bottle. On bottling day, I measure SG just to make sure, then bottle.

Bubbles mean fermentation is happening. Lack of bubbles DOES NOT mean no fermentation. If you've got an imperfect seal in your fermentation vessel, then your bubble count won't necessarily mean much. Plus, if you rely on bubbles to tell you when to bottle/keg/rack to secondary, you may be finishing the primary too early.

Bottom line, as long as fermentation takes off nicely, I wait 3 weeks before doing anything. That gives fermentation plenty of time to finish, plus gives the yeast time to finish their cleanup work.
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Re: Logging Techniques for Primary Fermentation

Post  jadams on Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:13 pm

I look for vigorousness in the beginning, total duration, and I've always followed the "rack to secondary after two days without lock activity" rule, so I've always felt like keeping an eye on fermentation lock activity was pretty important.

It always struck me as odd that we can be so meticulous about logging in the beginning stages of the process, but log next-to-nothing once we've handed it over to the yeast. I realize that all you can really do at that point is regulate the ambient temperature and cross your fingers, but it seems to me that if you want to recreate a beer, knowing certain things about the fermentation would only aid in comparing one batch to another.

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