HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

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HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by BentJar » Mon May 18, 2015 3:01 am

I use a fermentation cabinet made of wood with a door and 2, 40 watt light bulbs inside. I can raise or lower the temp inside with a light dimmer. I keep a written record on what 2, 6 gal. buckets are in there, and when they went in.

Now my question is, what can speed up or slow down our fermenting times.
Some ferments finish out in a week, some in 2 weeks, and some in 3 weeks. I cant seem to figure what im doing different from one to another. I mash corn and malted barley and then a sweetfeed bucket from time to time.

My protocol is the same, water tested, PH adjusted etc. Resting time is the same and temps the same for using enzymes.
Good conversion every time. SG the same each time. at 1.65
All is followed very closely but still have different finishing out times. SO what is going on here and what do you know that would cause such varying times for the ferments to finish out??????
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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by NZChris » Mon May 18, 2015 3:54 am

How do you rehydrate and pitch your yeast?

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by S-Cackalacky » Mon May 18, 2015 4:25 am

As careful as you are, there are still many variables over which you may not have a lot of control. Could be some microorganisms in one batch and not another competing with the yeast. As NZChris says, it could also be related to how you handle the yeast - that is, how much you pitch and how you pitch it. The health of the yeast could be another variable.

It's a complex process. You can follow the same protocols and hope for a consistent result, but you can never have absolute control over it.
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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by scuba stiller » Mon May 18, 2015 4:44 am

What vitamin and mineral supplements are us using for the ferment? I provide the yeast a prenatal vitamin and a B complex vitamin; Calcium and a pinch of Epsom salt prior to pitching.

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by BentJar » Mon May 18, 2015 4:58 am

Here's some more information I forgot to mention.
I ferment on the grain.
I always use backset in my ferments. It is probably 30% alcohol , that's what I run the still down too. I use a little less than a gal. to each 6 gal. ferment. 20% I recon.. The grain takes up a one gallon space in the ferment buckets.

I pitch at 80 degree or lower, Red Star bakers yeast, 2 pkgs per ferment, sprinkled on top and allowed to fall on its own or swirled in before sealing up and installing the bubbler.

I have never used anything like vitimins or such in my process because the grain provides what the yeast need to be happy IMO. They git to bubbling like hell in a hour or so and never seem to stall..

Cabinet temp is kept at 75-80 degree.
Last edited by BentJar on Mon May 18, 2015 5:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by yakattack » Mon May 18, 2015 5:04 am

BentJar wrote:Here's some more information I forgot to mention.
I ferment on the grain.
I always use backset in my ferments. It is probably 30% alcohol , that's what I run the still down too. I use a little less than a gal. to each 6 gal. ferment. 20% I recon.. The grain takes up a one gallon space in the ferment buckets.

I pitch Red Star, 2 pkgs per ferment, sprinkled on top and allowed to fall on its own before sealing up and installing the bubbler. About 15 to 20 minutes.

Cabinet temp is kept at 75-80 degree.
While the pitch and pray method works (I still use it from time to time) starting a starter will help to speed things up. Also when you pitch your starter, airate your mash every 20 ish min for a few hours. Yeast need oxygen to replicate and once they are starved or readily available oxygen they break down sudar molacules for the oxygen.

I've found that airerating my 55 gallon barrel with a drill mixer cuts down on ferment time by at least a few days.

Just a thought.
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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by BentJar » Mon May 18, 2015 5:17 am

Thanks Yak, I will aerate more than usual. I use a stir paddle with holes in it and do try to mix in some air.
Yeast starters, I do use in the winter but with warmer temps now they don't seem to need that. Mabey need to rethink that.
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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by still_stirrin » Mon May 18, 2015 5:23 am

Rehydrating the dry yeast BEFORE pouring onto the wash will activate the cells with more reliability (viability) and better consistency, as NZChris said. Live, active yeast is key to a quick start.

And similarly, like yakattack advised, oxygen induction into the mash will kickstart the aerobic phase of cell budding for the yeast population growth necessary for a healthy ferment. Commercial breweries use an oxygenation stone in the pipeline between the wort chiller and the fermenter so that there is plenty of oxygen entrained into the chilled wort.

Consistant protocol will help develop consistant results for the sake of repeatability.
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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by yakattack » Mon May 18, 2015 5:55 am

If you start using steam injection for your cooking you can have an attachment for the steam head to hook up to a compressor to do the airating for you. Similarly you can use say a larger aquarium pump and make a wand with the air stone and just let it do its work for a few hours.
HDNB wrote: The trick here is to learn what leads to a stalled mash....and quit doing that.

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by nerdybrewer » Mon May 18, 2015 7:34 am

I've never had a ferment take off as quickly as the present batch.
What I am talking about is within 2 minutes of pitching yeast!
Here is what I did and this is an extreme departure from what I've ever done before:

New cake of red star yeast
2 quarts warm water, about 95F
2 tablespoons pure cane sugar
2 cups yeast
(tried to mix it in but it caked up terribly)
Wondered what am I going to do with this big yeast blob?
Immersion blender!
Blended the snot out of it until it was smooth and creamy.
Yeast foam started growing quickly.
Took it out to shed and poured half in each 18 gallon ferment barrel (heavy rum wash)
Put the screw down plug in tight and the airlock and before I got done putting the second airlock in the 1st was bubbling once per 2 seconds.
The second one started up bubbling seconds after I put on the airlock.
By the time I finished cleaning up they were bubbling once per second.
By the next morning there was just a steady stream of CO2 blowing out the airlock, no water left but positive pressure of CO2 streaming out.

I'm not sure if it was the amount of yeast or that I thoroughly mixed it with the blender but I'm repeating this method next time and hoping for the same results.
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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by DAD300 » Mon May 18, 2015 8:59 am

What I've found to promote a better/faster ferment.

The correct temperature for the particular yeast. Bigger ferments make their own heat!

Rehydrate and have a yeast starter, minimum some boiled yeast or dunder. Bigger starter, more yeast is faster!

The correct SG. If your SG is too high it will take longer to get to 1.0 FG even if the higher SG got you more alcohol, high SG won't taste as good, because the yeast will stress and the ferment will slow...

Grain shouldn't need nutrients, but sugar will. Over due the nutrients, you stress the yeast and again you slow the ferment. If grain provides the nutrients, always add some grain even if not for starch/sugar.

Too much B vitamin will stress yeast, produce a petroleum off taste.

Best advise...always have enough fermenting going on, that you don't care how long it takes.
Ferments don't spoil. Once they get to 6-8% they keep, as long as you have in a sealed container. And even if you get an infected ferment, it isn't ruined, it is sophisticated!
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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by nerdybrewer » Mon May 18, 2015 12:30 pm

Forgot to mention I also added 1 quart of spent yeast from the previous batch to each fermenter.
Cranky's spoonfeeding:
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=52975

Time and Oak will sort it out.

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by Danespirit » Mon May 18, 2015 1:33 pm

+ 1 on airiating Yakattak
+1 On too much B vitamin DAD
Heat is another factor.
Too cold and it ferments slow, too hot and the ferment will be fast, but the yeast stressed.

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by scuba stiller » Mon May 18, 2015 2:54 pm

BentJar wrote: I have never used anything like vitimins or such in my process because the grain provides what the yeast need to be happy IMO.
A lot of members here advocate giving yeast a little more respect. Please take a look at http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 3#p7297727. Jimbo and others go after nutrient deficiencies in AG ferments and a few other thoughts.

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by moosemilk » Mon May 18, 2015 3:27 pm

I been adding a bit of inositol (vitamin b) and it really helps my ferments.

Just thinking about your varying times if it's same protocol. How do yeast react to light? If you are using light bulbs to heat, could the amount of light when you adjust temperatures be also a cause of varying times? Just throwing it out there as I'm just getting into reading up on yeast...seems they like it a little darker from what I read so far...anybody confirm or otherwise?

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by MitchyBourbon » Mon May 18, 2015 6:38 pm

BentJar wrote,
I pitch at 80 degree or lower, Red Star bakers yeast, 2 pkgs per ferment, sprinkled on top and allowed to fall on its own or swirled in before sealing up and installing the bubbler. 
You should always rehydrate yeast with just plain warm water. Dry yeast are like sponges, until they have been rehydrated their cell walls are incapable of preventing contaminants from entering the cell. If contaminants like sugar and wort are absorbed by yeast cells it will kill them. By sprinkling your yeast directly onto the surface of your wash you may be killing as much as half of your yeast.
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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by cranky » Mon May 18, 2015 7:01 pm

OK this subject raises some questions in my mind, Why does it matter? Why is everybody more concerned with doing things faster instead of better? Who cares how long it takes as long as when it is done it is the best it could possibly be?

In the interest of full disclosure I don't yet make all grain and for the most part do fruit. My background is wine making and I often find that wine develops and improves over months before it is ready for bottling or distilling which improves the final product. At 2-3 months there is usually some sort of change where the alcohol is different and magical. Proper racking and getting it off the trub is also essential with wine so why not all grain?

I feel perfection takes time, give whatever your fermenting the time it needs to be the best it can be and stop trying to make everything faster, concentrate on making it better.

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by woodshed » Mon May 18, 2015 7:03 pm

TIGHT protocol. If your ferments are varying so is your protocol.
Pretty simple. To reproduce the exact same format it must be approached in the exact same way.
Really analyze what you are doing and see how you can get more control.

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by MitchyBourbon » Mon May 18, 2015 7:05 pm

Maybe pitching healthy yeast isn't just faster, it's faster and better.
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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by cranky » Mon May 18, 2015 7:09 pm

moosemilk wrote:I been adding a bit of inositol (vitamin b) and it really helps my ferments.

Just thinking about your varying times if it's same protocol. How do yeast react to light? If you are using light bulbs to heat, could the amount of light when you adjust temperatures be also a cause of varying times? Just throwing it out there as I'm just getting into reading up on yeast...seems they like it a little darker from what I read so far...anybody confirm or otherwise?
I actually did a sort of experiment with yeast and light in carboys. in the carboy not exposed to light the yeast activity was constant and virtually everywhere in the carboy equally. in the one exposed to light the yeast had a tendency to settle and build up on the lit side with much more activity away from the light. Over night when it was not exposed to the light activity would resume to normal. So what I found was yes light effects yeast activity negatively.

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by moosemilk » Mon May 18, 2015 7:35 pm

So to the original question of the thread, since light bulbs are being used as the heat source, this could inadvertently be affecting the length for it to finish, if all other elements are being controlled.

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by woodshed » Mon May 18, 2015 8:35 pm

I think the light may be involved but if it is on the same amount of time that is a control spot.
Saying that I do believe cranky has a really good point.
Something like this typically starts at the yeast level all else being equal.
The addition of a prenatal vitamin to any mash will not hurt and for me is a key element. Positive rapid growth is what you are looking for.

Mitchy never gives bad advice about yeast. Damn, his avatar is yeast based.

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by BentJar » Tue May 19, 2015 3:03 am

All good advice im sure, and thanks. I will rethink my process and make adjustments.
Making a good product is my goal here on the farm. Its not so much I want my ferments
to hurry up and get done, but to be consistent. Im trying to understand why they are not.


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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by cranky » Tue May 19, 2015 3:29 am

I have done some research and found that a horse in Minnesota swished it's tail at a fly. This caused an eddy current to form which eventually joined the jet stream. 27.3982 years later this resulted in a single snowflake falling on 1 square mm of ground cooling it .0000001 degree F cooler than the surrounding ground which resulted in the grain that sprouted on that mm of ground to sprout almost 2 seconds later than the rest of the crop. Therefore this grain was 2 seconds from completely ripe when it was harvested and required .0673 millijoules of extra heat to cook the 3 grains that came from that stalk. Then there is the fact that the fly the horse was swatting at flew sideways for approximately 3.23467 inches which caused another eddy current that joined the jet stream but didn't settle as snow but instead flew as a slight almost imperceptible breeze that blew into the ferment box just as Bent Jar opened the door causing additional heating/ cooling issues. Don't even get me started on where the water or electricity came from.

My point is there are infinite variables and ferment time takes as long as it takes. Concentrate on the final product rather than the time it takes for yeast to pee.

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by moosemilk » Tue May 19, 2015 4:25 am

cranky wrote:I have done some research and found that a horse in Minnesota swished it's tail at a fly. This caused an eddy current to form which eventually joined the jet stream. 27.3982 years later this resulted in a single snowflake falling on 1 square mm of ground cooling it .0000001 degree F cooler than the surrounding ground which resulted in the grain that sprouted on that mm of ground to sprout almost 2 seconds later than the rest of the crop. Therefore this grain was 2 seconds from completely ripe when it was harvested and and required .0673 millijoules of extra heat to cook the 3 grains that came from that stalk. Then there is the fact that the fly the horse was swatting at flew sideways for approximately 3.23467 inches which caused another eddy current that joined the jet stream but didn't settle as snow but instead flew as a slight almost imperceptible breeze that blew into the ferment box just as Bent Jar opened the door causing additional heating/ cooling issues. Don't even get me started on where the water or electricity came from.

My point is there are infinite variables and ferment time takes as long as it takes. Concentrate on the final product rather than the time it takes for yeast to pee.
If it wasn't so long-winded, I would put your take on "the butterfly effect" into notable and quotable. But you did sum it all up very well! Oh so many variables. I wonder what the oyster from some shells I have was doing while your horse swatted the fly with its tail...

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by cranky » Tue May 19, 2015 4:28 am

OK my wife says that last post makes me sound like an A-hole. This was not my intention. My personal suggestion for consistency is to prepare your ferment. Let it sit 3-4 weeks undisturbed. Rack it off the trub. let it sit another 4 weeks. Do this every time and everything will be done exactly at the same time 2 months after you start it.

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by bearriver » Tue May 19, 2015 5:39 am

woodshed wrote:TIGHT protocol. If your ferments are varying so is your protocol.
Pretty simple. To reproduce the exact same format it must be approached in the exact same way.
Really analyze what you are doing and see how you can get more control.
Solid advice. With this hobby and others, I have experienced difficulties in repeating my best outcomes. When it happens I almost always attribute it to substandard record keeping. Its hard copy exactly what you did last time if you don't know what it is you did.

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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by Due51 » Tue May 19, 2015 7:02 am

I watched a video of a master distiller from Scotland (unfortunately can't remember his name), and he does an open ferment in a vessel that is wider than it is deep. He claims to get a better tasting mash that ferments out quicker. I've done it a couple times now and I'd have to agree.
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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by Jimbo » Tue May 19, 2015 7:20 am

bearriver wrote:
woodshed wrote:TIGHT protocol. If your ferments are varying so is your protocol.
Pretty simple. To reproduce the exact same format it must be approached in the exact same way.
Really analyze what you are doing and see how you can get more control.
Solid advice. With this hobby and others, I have experienced difficulties in repeating my best outcomes. When it happens I almost always attribute it to substandard record keeping. Its hard copy exactly what you did last time if you don't know what it is you did.
Truth, and key to establishing a craft distillery with a few well oiled and honed in recipes. There's 4 important things that need to be exact if you want to duplicate a past run.

- Water. Use the exact same water or water+minerals+acidifier if you do that.
- Yeast. If the yeast is different, all bets are off.
- Recipe. This one seems obvious, but important too is source of grain and variety (strain) of grain. Just like there are lots of apples that taste completely different, there are lots of varieties of every grain. Malting temperature is important too, part of the 'recipe'.
- Ferment temp. Huge impact. Even a couple degrees difference will create huge differences in flavor (esters) and ferment time.
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Re: HOW TO SHORTEN OUR FERMENTATION TIME??

Post by DAD300 » Tue May 19, 2015 8:19 am

And...ferment more and more often, always have something ready to distill. For most of us an extra fermenter cost $20usd not $20,000.00! Why are we worried about a few days?
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