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Old 02-12-2013, 05:46 PM   #1
ScottG58
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Default Probably a Dumb Question About Autolysis

I transferred a Russian Imperial Stout to secondary Saturday. It had been in primary for a month. My intent is to bulk age for six months, dry hop and then bottle. I checked a few minutes ago and I had about an inch of light cream colored yeast at the bottom of the secondary. Is my RIP going to taste like rotten meat when I bottle in August or should I look at bottling at the end of February and bottle aging until Thanksgiving?

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Old 02-12-2013, 08:05 PM   #2
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If it were me I would give it around 3 months bulk aging then go to bottle. 6 months is longer than I'm comfortable with unless I'm brewing with bugs. I have nothing scientific for you on that...just where my comfort point would be.

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Old 02-12-2013, 08:25 PM   #3
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If you had that much yeast in your secondary, I'd think you didn't leave it long enough in primary for the yeast to complete the ferment. Not much to do about that now.

Autolysis is a product of too much heat. When you have a few hundred gallons of beer in a conical fermenter, the yeast drop out just like they do in your bucket or carboy but there is so much more yeast and being in that conical, they are all jammed together. The yeast give off a little heat. No problem in your carboy but when you have 10 gallons of dormant yeast in the bottom of the big conical, they get too hot and the yeast die and begin to decompose. That's autolysis. You should have nothing to worry about.

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Old 02-12-2013, 09:01 PM   #4
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I was surprised to see the yeast. I left in primary a month. SG was 1.100. FG was 1.028 with two readings 7 days apart. This was White Labs Chico, so I thought it was very likely the yeast had reached its capacity.

I like the idea of bottling after three months. Thanks for the responses.

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Old 02-12-2013, 11:22 PM   #5
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Or rack it again...

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Old 02-14-2013, 08:17 PM   #6
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You won't get autolysis from long term aging on the yeast cake, per se, but you will get some stale flavors.

Anything I planned on aging more then two months or so would definitely go to secondary after about 3-4 weeks in primary.

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