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01/06/12 01:34 AM  
Open Fermentation
Who has experience with it? Opinions? Thoughts?

I just started playing with it personally. Did a low gravity, pale Belgian and then did a Tripel on the cake. I'm not talking spontaneous ferments, what I did was just ferment with the lid off until the krausen fell.

01/08/12 08:53 AM  
Re: Open Fermentation
Not quite the same, but last summer my buddy and I brewed 10 gallons of a large weizenbock (1.087 OG). He fermented his in glass with a blow-off tube (WY 3068) and I only had an ale pail available to ferment in so I went with that.

After racking to kegs and allowing for about 4 mos aging time, we both sampled the beers and found some perceivable aroma differences even though they were fermented in the same temperature controlled environment with similar pitching rates, oxygen, and wort profile.

My weizebock in the plastic bucket ended up having much more banana than his did which came out a bit more clean for a weizenbock. There were noticeable spicey clove notes in both and the malt shined through well. I am assuming that fermenter geometry had something to do with the aromatic differences. Definitely an experiment to try again!

01/16/12 09:37 PM  
Re: Open Fermentation
I ferment in a 40 gallon open square vessel all the time. In fact, it's my go-to fermentor. The main benefit is a reduction in temperature and huge yeast growth with small pitches.
01/17/12 12:26 AM  
Re: Open Fermentation
orca > Do you notice and increase in yeast character at all?
01/17/12 02:39 PM  
Re: Open Fermentation
orca > very cool. what is the container made out of? plastic?

do you physically rouse the yeast as seen in the Northern Brewer Video.

01/20/12 09:12 AM  
Re: Open Fermentation
Yes, the yeast character is more pronounced; especially in the case of Bavarian Weizen. Lots more clove, banana and bubblegum goodness.

It's a stainless steel container - search for maple syrup boiling pans and you'll see what it looks like.

No, I don't rouse the yeast, but I do top crop on occasion.

01/20/12 09:17 AM  
Re: Open Fermentation
I'm not sure if I can post links here, but here's a picture of the fermentor in high krausen:


01/20/12 11:40 AM  
Re: Open Fermentation
40 gallons? That is a LOT of the same beer. Is this a home setup?
01/20/12 04:02 PM  
Re: Open Fermentation
Yes, it's 40 gallons, but its really only good for 30 gallons due to the krausen.

I have a 40 gallons homebrew system, but typically brew 20 to 30 gallon batches. It's great for experimenting with yeast strains on the same wort.

I went to the square fermentor because I only need to clean one vessel instead of 4-8 carboys. Saves me tons of time!

02/16/12 12:31 PM  
Re: Open Fermentation
Smellysell - Any new experiences from fermenting with a bucketless lid to report?

I'm going to be brewing 10 gallons of Saison next week and if I can increase the yeast character by fermenting open I'd love to try it out. What is theory as to why this increases the yeast driven flavors? The interaction with oxygen? The decrease in pressure on fermentation?

02/27/12 05:00 PM  
Re: Open Fermentation
If anyone's interested, I brewed the saison last week in two batches. Both were fermented with the lid resting on top of the bucket without being snapped on. I stepped a 1.040 starter of WL 565 from 1L to 1.8L, and finally split into two separate 1.75L starters.

Batch 1:

2/21 - O.G. 1.056 at 80 degrees

2/22 - temp raised to 85 degrees

2/23 - S.G. 1.013 (temp corrected) raised to 90 degrees, snapped the lid on as fermentation was slowing

2/27 - S.G. 1.006 (temp corrected) lowered to 70 degrees

Batch 2 (same temp schedule as Batch1):

2/21 - O.G. 1.053 (mash/sparge issues affected gravity)

2/23 - snapped the lid on

2/27 - S.G. 1.007

Both samples tasted great and had the awesome Dupont spice and fruit combo. I can't say if the open lid contributed to the quick and painless fermentation as this is my first time brewing with the Dupont strain. I've used 3711 a bunch in the past and ended with good saisons but they all lack the fruit flavor of my favorite commercial examples. Now that I added a space heater I'm comfortable going for it with 565/3724. I will be pitching WL Brett C. once I get a starter going.

02/27/12 05:03 PM  
Re: Open Fermentation
*Edit: Brett C is only being pitched in the 2nd batch
02/28/12 11:11 AM  
Re: Open Fermentation
look forward to the tasting reports on this.

i just did a similar test, but pitched the 565/3711 in a blend and kept the temp (high 85-95) was going to add brett to half, but still deciding on what type.

Brian Richards
04/10/12 09:35 PM  
Re: Open Fermentation
I've been using one of those Ace Roto-Mold tanks (15 gal) and just lightly screwing the lid on it so it is basically open. I'm wondering how it is going to work in the warmer months with different flora in the air and fruit flies that could probably work their way in there. Any one else use these? We put a 1" dump valve on the bottom (SS butterfly) but still need to add a racking/sampling port.


04/23/12 06:15 PM  
Re: Open Fermentation
In addition to the wheat beer in the Brew TV episode, we did a Patersbier and amber-ish Dunkelweizen at Northern Brewer-Milwaukee. The general feeling was that, as expected, the ester formation, etc was boosted and had a positive impact.

The other thing was that, due to the size of our open fermentor, we had to do a larger batch size than 5 gallons or the wort was too shallow. That was more just due to our specific tank though, not open fermentation in general.

If you do get a new potential open fermentor though, it's worth checking the volume you'll need ahead of time before brewing though.

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