From the HBD Archive
From: Martin A. Lodahl <pbmoss!mal@hplabs.HP.COM>
Subject: "Short" Fermentation?
Date: 1989-11-20 21:45:04 GMT

In HOMEBREW Digest #306, Toufic Boubez asks:

"My batch has been fermenting for 6 days now, and was still active last
night. Our heating broke down last night and the temperature in the
apartment dove down to below 58 (the lowest reading my thermometer
has). This went on throught the night and this morning the fermentation
was quiet. Should I bottle as planned this week-end, or wait for the temp.
to go back up when we get our heat back and take specific gravity readings
if the fermentation gets re-activated? Also, what effect will this have on the
taste? Thanks."

My first batch was a tale of one panic attack after another, and I stampeded
myself into many hasty (and regrettable) decisions, but still ended up with
drinkable beer. One of these decisions was to bottle after less than a week
in the fermenter, never above 60F and dipping below 40F each night, from the
mistaken concern that autolysis was just around the corner. The recipe was
for Brown Ale, and called for 3/4 cup corn sugar for priming (too much for
this style), but there was probably enough unfermented sugar left in the beer
to provide adequate carbonation without it! The taste was very sweet, but the
bottles didn't explode.

The point! -------> Don't be in a hurry. If it's only been there 6 days, it
could probably stand another week, unless your apartment is normally very warm
indeed. It's a very resilient process. If you decide to wait, you might try
"rousing" the yeast by rocking the fermenter back & forth (easiest and safest
with a plastic carboy), which will sometimes restart fermentation. It's easy
to be misled by the appearance of the ferment: recent postings in this digest
have discussed bubbling long after the gravity stopped changing, and I've had
the experience of racking beer I thought had stopped fermenting, only to find
that it was still chugging along in the bottom 8 inches of the carboy. When
in doubt, don't just do something; stand there!

= Martin A. Lodahl Pac*Bell Minicomputer Operations Support Staff =
= pacbell!pbmoss!mal -or- mal@pbmoss.Pacbell.COM 916.972.4821 =
= If it's good for ancient Druids, runnin' nekkid through the wuids, =
= Drinkin' strange fermented fluids, it's good enough for me! 8-) =

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