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Old 10-16-2007, 11:45 AM   #1
DanS
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Default Broken Hydrometer

So, I was going to take some Final Gravity readings on my brew over the weekend but my hydrometer dropped and broke. I called my Local Homebrew Shop, which is 45 mins. away, closes at 5 and it was about 4:45. They said if it has been 7 days for this brew Its okay to go to the secondary. It is a russian imperial stout, now I put it in the secondary and it is still fermenting a little. Is this okay? or should it be almost completley done with the bubbles, I get about 1 bubble out of the airlock every 5 or 6 seconds. I'm still noob so I'm not even sure how long it should sit in the secondary, the directions say 4 weeks, the homebrew shop said 10-14 days, and I've heard 8 weeks as well? any input??? Thanks

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Old 10-16-2007, 11:56 AM   #2
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You are fine racking it into a secondary fermentor. The hot'n heavy yeast action has already taken place during the first week. In fact, taking a hydrometer between the primary and secondary fermentors is really not necessary. Once the krausen falls after around week in primary, you are fine.

As for time in secondary, that will depend on gravity readings. While it would be optimal to get down to 1.010, in reality what you are looking for is an unchanged reading for 2-3 days in a row which would indicate it has finished and ready to bottle/keg.

Out of curiosity, what was your O.G.?

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Old 10-16-2007, 12:25 PM   #3
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Welcome to the club. I almost advise new brewers to get 2 hydrometers and spike the first one off the ground on the first brew just to get it out of the way.

There's no definitive rule that says you MUST move to secondary after a week. If it's wasn't done and still bubbling, you probably should have left it, but it won't hurt your beer. It will still taste great. RDWHAHB. For what it's worth, it can stay in primary for a few weeks without a problem, just don't go overboard. I've heard many people say 4 weeks is max, but I've never let anything go more than 2 or 2.5 weeks.

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Old 10-16-2007, 12:39 PM   #4
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My O.G was 1.09, there is a LOT of grains, and malt in this recipe

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Old 10-16-2007, 12:40 PM   #5
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There's no law saying that you even have to secondary your beer, although most do. I usually do, too, but if time constraints or whatever prohibit me from doing so, I don't worry about it. If you're ever in a hydrometer pickle again, you can go to the nearest pet supply store and get one for an aquarium. They read the same way, except that they only go up to 1.060, so they are only good for small beers and final gravity on big beers. They make a decent spare, though, and for some reason the beer gods refuse to let them break. I've had mine for prolly six or seven years, and have gone through countless "real" hydrometers in that time.

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Old 10-16-2007, 12:41 PM   #6
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Just out of curiosity what do you guys think on how long I should leave it in the secondary

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Old 10-16-2007, 12:46 PM   #7
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I like to rack to secondary. Why? Because that's always the way I've done it!
Usually I'm planning another batch and need to get my 6 gallon primarys back and I've noticed the beer really clears up after racking to secondary.

I'd leave it in there for two or three weeks and then take readings to see if fermentation has stopped.

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Old 10-16-2007, 01:34 PM   #8
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IMO taking a reading before transferring to secondary is the MOST important time.

You shouldn't ever transfer to secondary until fermentation has completed. It removes it from a good part of the yeast and it can stall your fermentation, especially for big beers.

Big beers will often need more than a week in the primary to finish. I'd get a hydrometer and see where it's at in the secondary. If it's too high, and it doesn't change...you may need to add more yeast.

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Old 10-16-2007, 04:06 PM   #9
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Just leave it in primary untill you can get a hydrometer. Two weeks in primary is fine, three is ok and four is acceptable. Just mae sure it doesn't get too warm. I once left a mead in primary for ~six months with no unusual off flavors.
Relax! Don't Worry! Have a homebrew... maybe six.

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Old 10-16-2007, 04:17 PM   #10
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With that OG, I'd leave it in the secondary for at least a month. High gravity beers take longer at every stage. Leaving it in the primary for a couple more weeks would have been better, but ...

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