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Old 07-01-2008, 08:39 AM   #1
Terry08
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Default Clearing Beer

I like the idea of less sediment when I bottle and as for me it was ferment then bottle. I have interpreted a secondary fermenter as a drum that the ferment is transfered to 1. Free the main fermenter and 2. to allow the beer to clear.

If this is correct how long could one leave the beer in this secondary fermenter?. Usually at this point if I were to bottle they would be clear in a week drinkable in 3.

I bought a suitable container and have already steralized it and transfered a batch that is at a specific gravity for bottleing. I can see this as a process prior to transfering to a keg but my kegs are glass and hold 720ml.

I have tried to maintain hygiene but the beer would have been exposed to greater air contact than when I bottle straight out of the fermenter.

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Old 07-01-2008, 09:26 AM   #2
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Many people employ the 1-2-3 rule...

That is to say:
1 week primary
2 weeks secondry
3 weeks bottle conditioning

...with the understanding that the beer whiles now ready to drink, will continually improve with some more time, peaking anywhere between 3-6 months, longer again for higher abv beers (brewmongous beers).

I personally have bottled straight from the primary (no bottling bucket), no problem,
I have left beers in the primary for 6 weeks, no problem,
I have employed the 1-2-3 rule, no problem,

Secondry will reduce the sediment in the bottle but time will also compact the sediment to the point where a pour does not have to be a perfected art to get clear beer...

You seem to be on the right road already... Cheers

EDIT: To try answer the question about extra air contact. If you syphon carefully to avoid splashing, there should be enough residual CO2 in the brew to create a "blanket" of gas over the beer protecting it from O2. Some people with a kegging setup will purge the secondry vessel with a short burst of CO2, others wouldn't bother, either way, it can't hurt.

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Old 07-01-2008, 01:07 PM   #3
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I typically give my beers 2 weeks in the secondary. It sounds like part of why you are getting sediment is due to bottling straight from the primary; have you considered using a bottling bucket?

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Old 07-01-2008, 01:52 PM   #4
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For maximum clarity, I'd let the beer sit for 3-4 weeks after ranking. There will still be enough yeast to carbonate & since the beer has bulk conditioned, you won't have to wait as long in the bottle.

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Old 07-01-2008, 03:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry08 View Post
I like the idea of less sediment when I bottle and as for me it was ferment then bottle. I have interpreted a secondary fermenter as a drum that the ferment is transfered to 1. Free the main fermenter and 2. to allow the beer to clear.

If this is correct how long could one leave the beer in this secondary fermenter?. Usually at this point if I were to bottle they would be clear in a week drinkable in 3.
Aah, this is where the guns and knives usually come out.

I can't even answer for myself. It depends on the type of beer I'm doing and how clear it is out of the primary. Once it's sufficiently clear for the style and all signs of fermentation are complete, it's ready to bottle/keg.

I did a blonde ale where I did a nice long primary and a nice long secondary so it would have plenty of time on the yeast to cleanup and would be nice and clear. It's almost as clear as B/M/C despite being bottle conditioned. The schedule on that was 2-2-8 (8 weeks will be July 4th). Before that I did a hefe which was 1-1-3 and half the batch is gone already. OTOH I have a Belgian Pale in the primary right now I will go straight to the keg after two weeks, since I want some sediment in it. It's part of the style.

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Old 07-01-2008, 03:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rmck1 View Post
To try answer the question about extra air contact. If you syphon carefully to avoid splashing, there should be enough residual CO2 in the brew to create a "blanket" of gas over the beer protecting it from O2.
+1. I usually get quite a bit of activity on the airlock after transferring to the carboy as the CO2 comes out of solution, so the headspace is thoroughly purged.

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Old 07-01-2008, 03:15 PM   #7
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I usually just let it sit...as long as it takes...fermentation and clearing are natural processes.

The thing is to get a lot of beer in various stages. Once you do you'll learn patience.

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Old 07-01-2008, 03:20 PM   #8
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I just drink it really fast, am empty bottle is a clear bottle

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Old 07-01-2008, 03:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99 View Post
I usually just let it sit...as long as it takes...fermentation and clearing are natural processes.

The thing is to get a lot of beer in various stages. Once you do you'll learn patience.
+1. It's amazing what sitting in a keg in the garage for a month will do for clarity.
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:38 PM   #10
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You won't get me debating feverishly on this one because there are many ways that work but I'll offer you my mehod. I go with something like 2-1-3. Two weeks in primary which is usually a week past active fermentation. I like giving ALL the yeast access to the beer for a quicker conditioning period. Then I crash cool the primary to about 40F for a day and transfer to secondary for one week where I leave it cold. Then it goes into the keg and get put on the gas. I try not to drink it for 3 weeks.

If you're bottling, you can do the same thing but I'd probably skip the cold crashing.

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