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What is top fermentation in beer?

Views: 6     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-06-29      Origin: Site

What Does Top Fermentation Do?

Top Fermentation is simply a fermentation method for wort. It is one of the ways by which you get that lovely, rich beer. Moreover, it gives you the following results:

  • More Alcohol, Less Sugar

  • Develop More Flavor

It is a method that has several signature factors:

  • Top-Fermenting yeast

  • “Warm” fermentation temperatures

  • traditionally used in open fermenters


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Which Type of Beer Is Top Fermented?

Brewers call the yeast of Top Fermented beer top-fermenting Ale yeast. It is at a point that you could reckon that the terms Ale and top-fermented beer are synonymous.

Are All Ales Top Fermented Beers?

Common knowledge on the topic of Top Fermented Beers leans in the direction of all Ales being top-fermented because of the yeast used. The kind of yeast used is of the same nature as those in bread, wines, and some other fermented foodstuff.

You could argue that beers like Altbier and Kölsch are kind of somewhere between the world of ales and lagers. But they are more of the exceptions rather than the norm. If you are not too familiar with these beers, a quick summary would be that they ferment in Lager-based temperatures.

Are Lagers Top Fermented Beers?

Lagers Beers cannot be classified as Top Fermented. This is because you would brew them from bottom-fermenting yeast.

Unfortunately, beers are tribal and belong to two major parties — Ale or Lager, top- or bottom-fermenting yeast. There are some independent types but their fundamental classification still has ties to the basic groups.

What Is Open Top Fermentation?

If you want to do some old-school fermentation, you can try Open Top Fermentation. As the name suggests, it is all about open-to-the-air fermentation. In contrast to closed fermentation that is done in sealed vessels. It is a kind of fermentation process that leverages the natural inclination of top-fermenting yeast.

One of the basic equipment used in open-top fermentation for moderately-sized batches was (and still is) wide, shallow pans. They are also known as “coolships.”

Open Top Fermentation vs. Closed Fermentation

Open Top Fermentation can seem like a great method but it has its pros and cons when contrasted with Closed Fermentation.

Here is a quick look at their differences:

Open Top Closed
Yeast Reusability Easily accessed and harvested since it is open You’ll need to undergo yeast washing
Ease of Contamination • Use filtered fresh air to avoid contamination of large batches

• Watch out for insects and vermin access

As long as the vessel remains sealed there should be a minimal chance of infection.
Carbon Dioxide Management Natural or Mechanical exhaust needs to be provided for large batches CO2 can easily be piped for disposal or storage
Outgassing Undesirable gases escape readily The chance of reabsorption of undesirable gases is higher because of restricted airflow
Can Easily Undergo Spontaneous Fermentation If needed for extended periods, Yes No

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