• Part 4: Fermentation


  • The next step in home brewing is the fermentation process, which is really just waiting. You’ll want to give your beer adequate time to ferment. The first 72 hours is the time with the most activity. Your yeast will be feasting on the sugars of the malt, turning it into carbon dioxide and alcohol. The airlock allows the carbon dioxide to leave the bucket, without letting oxygen in. Nothing signals a happy fermentation like an airlock bubbling with carbon dioxide.

    The minimum recommended time for primary fermentation is one week. Some home brewers allow for 10 days to 2 weeks for primary fermentation. Just to give the beer adequate time to ferment. However, it is not advisable to let your beer sit in the primary fermenter for too long. The plastic bucket is oxygen permeable, and after a while, it will allow oxygen in. Oxydizing your beer can cause off flavors, so as a rule of thumb, don’t let your beer sit in the primary for more than 4 weeks.

    Secondary Fermentation:

    This part is optional, but highly recommended. Allowing your beer to ferment for an additional amount of time can greatly improve the quality and taste of your beer. We do this by siphoning the beer from the primary fermenting bucket into a glass carboy. Glass is impervious to oxygen, so we won’t have the problems of our beer oxydizing.

    Also during primary fermentation, a by-product of sediment forms at the bottom of the bucket. Moving the beer to another fermenter allows the beer to ferment without this sediment.

    Once your beer is in the carboy, it can essentially be left in there for any length of time, but a minimum of two weeks is recommended. This allows the beer to age and improve.

    Once you’ve completed the fermentation process it’s time to bottle. Part 5