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Old 12-28-2004, 09:34 PM   #1
NUCC98
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Default Secondary Fermentation

I was wondering if someone could shed some light on a 2-Stage Method of fermenting. I (as well as a lot of other newbies) only use a 1-stage fermenter, but was wondering if there is an improvement on clarity, and/or more "wiggle room" to play with flavors. Thanks!!!

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Old 12-29-2004, 01:52 AM   #2
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Default Lots of advantages...

Quote:
Originally Posted by NUCC98
I was wondering if someone could shed some light on a 2-Stage Method of fermenting. I (as well as a lot of other newbies) only use a 1-stage fermenter, but was wondering if there is an improvement on clarity, and/or more "wiggle room" to play with flavors. Thanks!!!
The biggest advantage in 2 stage fermenting is getting the beer off the yeast cake . This will lead to a much smoother, and more rounded flavor. Many off flavors will no longer be an issue. This is true for ales and lagers both. If you're cold conditioning your beer, this will make the final transference of the beer far easier. There will be less crap to deal with. Even if one doesn't cold condition, and just leave it warm, you'll still like the result better than if you had just used a single stage.
Hope this helps.
Tom
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Old 12-29-2004, 09:35 PM   #3
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I agree that you'll get much better flavor if you rack to secondary within a week.

Another advantage can be re-using the yeast in your primary. We will typically brew on Saturdays. So every Saturday, there's a batch to get racked, a batch to get kegged, and a batch to get made. After racking out of the primary (a 14 gallon demijohn, so it's very clean), we just pipe the chilled beer of the new batch right on top of the yeast cake in the demijohn. In my opinion, this method is the best way to get a large pitch and a fast start to the ferment, which are great things. You can taste the beer you are racking out of the primary to make sure you don't have an infection.

You have never seen a beer start fermenting so fast.

Note I wouldn't use a yeast cake for more than 3 or 4 beers just to be safe, but I never have problems with this method.

Janx

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Old 12-31-2004, 02:39 AM   #4
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So what's the deal with secondary fermentation? You just rack from primary to secondary and let sit for another week or so, then bottle? No added yeast to the secondary? Where does priming fit in, does it require a third transfer to a priming bucket (with priming sugar) when you're ready to bottle?

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Old 12-31-2004, 09:39 AM   #5
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Default worth the extra effort

Quote:
Originally Posted by rightwingnut
So what's the deal with secondary fermentation? You just rack from primary to secondary and let sit for another week or so, then bottle? No added yeast to the secondary? Where does priming fit in, does it require a third transfer to a priming bucket (with priming sugar) when you're ready to bottle?
For lager beer, and some ales, an addition of fresh yeast gives kind of a "scrubbing" effect. It does really mellow things out. You then just wait till it drops clear, then transfer to your priming vessel, and bottle as usual. I use cornie kegs, but do the same thing. Yes, it is a bit more involved, but well worth it. If you do decide to add more yeast, make sure it's fermenting strongly, and use a high flocculating strain. This will help settle the other yeast out as well. Use the temp that the new yeast prefers, not the temp the original used. This works especially well for hefeweizens. Start with the hefe yeast, then krausen with lager yeast. After a couple days, decrease the temp to where its comfortable to the lager strain, condition, then go from there.
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Old 01-01-2005, 12:27 AM   #6
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Thanks.

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Old 01-03-2005, 03:21 PM   #7
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I never add more yeast and can't imagine why it would be necessary, since the yeast has already bred to capacity. YMMV.

I just rack to a secondary and it stays there until I keg it. If I were bottling, then, yes, I would rack to a third container to add priming sugar.

The key benefit of a seconday to me, seems to be getting the beer off the yeast cake for a cleaner flavor.

Janx

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Old 01-04-2005, 01:35 AM   #8
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Any sense in using a plastic pail for primary and a glass carboy for secondary? Then rack it to a pail w/ bottling spigot? That would work with thw equipment I have. Obviously it would work...right? But does the glass make it better for any reason? I like the idea of glass better...not pourous.

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Old 01-04-2005, 02:38 AM   #9
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Default Yes....

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. (Yes to all your questions.)

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Old 01-05-2005, 01:50 PM   #10
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How does one know when to rack to a secondary? I have a batch in the primary right now, been there for two days, and the airlock has pretty much stopped bubbling constantly. Is this a sign it could be ready for the secondary already or is there a specific gravity way of telling?

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