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Old 02-07-2005, 03:44 PM   #1
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Hey guys! New here and excited to see there's a forum out there for all of my questions.
First off, I am a worry-wort so get used to my frequent freak out moments!

Anyways, I racked from the primary to the secondary last night.

It's a Belgian Wit Bier using White Lab liquid Belgian Wit Ale Yeast.
SG was 1.13, and gravity yesterday (after 7 days in primary) was 1.013.

I'm a bit confused because online definitions of this type of brew say SG 1.05 and FG 1.01.

Does anyone see something wrong with my measurements? It seems crazy to think my beer went down .10, especially since this is supposed to be a low gravity type beer. Maybe I'm just flat out wrong - I didn't do so well in chemistry or biology back in high school & college!

Also, after I racked to secondary, now it seems my wort is VERY active again. The fermentation slowed to about 1 bubble every minute in the primary (glass carboy), so I racked to secondary (glass carboy). Now the carboy is about as bubbly as champagne! There is even a head of krausen on top! Is it fermenting still??
Anything I should do besides wait?

Thanks in advance for your help.

(By the way, I'm at work, so I may have been off regarding my numbers above. I'll update more from home if anything was incorrect regarding my gravity readings.)

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Old 02-07-2005, 04:04 PM   #2
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yes it is still fermenting... some beers can ferment for a long long time. what is the temperature?

did you suck up alot of the yeast/sediment off the bottom of the primary when you transfered it?

how much movement did you expose the beer too? example. i carried a five gal carboy up stairs to bottle the beer sat night, and upset some of the sediment, and the yeast woke up and started bubbling a little bit, so i let it sit over night and bottled the next day.

it won't hurt it a bit to be active in the secondary. just let it be for two weeks minumum before you start worrying about it agian

as a new brewer myself, i've learned it's best to just sit on your hands after you've pitched the yeast and racked it to the secondary. as long as you've provided a sterile enviornment you'll be good to go.

i don't know about the hydrometer readings mate, i don't use a hydrometer, it reminds me too much of a science project and that's not my bag....

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Old 02-07-2005, 04:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t1master
yes it is still fermenting... some beers can ferment for a long long time. what is the temperature?

did you suck up alot of the yeast/sediment off the bottom of the primary when you transfered it?

how much movement did you expose the beer too? example. i carried a five gal carboy up stairs to bottle the beer sat night, and upset some of the sediment, and the yeast woke up and started bubbling a little bit, so i let it sit over night and bottled the next day.

it won't hurt it a bit to be active in the secondary. just let it be for two weeks minumum before you start worrying about it agian

as a new brewer myself, i've learned it's best to just sit on your hands after you've pitched the yeast and racked it to the secondary. as long as you've provided a sterile enviornment you'll be good to go.

i don't know about the hydrometer readings mate, i don't use a hydrometer, it reminds me too much of a science project and that's not my bag....
THANKS T1!!!
You have put me at ease.
And yes, that's exactly what happened: I moved the carboy from the closet to the bathroom counter in order to rack to the secondary, and I KNOW I upset the sediment. I reckon that's why it's active again: I woke it up!

As for the hydrometer readings, I'm clueless, and if I don't need a hydrometer to brew good beer, the to hell with it: I'll brew without! LOL
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Old 02-07-2005, 04:19 PM   #4
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Oh and the temp has been approx 68F.

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Old 02-07-2005, 04:24 PM   #5
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One more thing...should I rack again in 2 weeks to the 6.5 gal carboy, just to remove the beer from the trub again?
It seems there is quite a bit of sediment forming again, as well as some more krausen, in my secondary.

A tertiary fermentation prior to bottling?

Here's my timeline so far:
Primary 6.5 glass carboy: SG 1.13, 7 days, 68F, bubbles reduced to one per minute
Disturbed brew prior to racking to secondary.
Gravity at this point is 1.013.

Secondary 5 gal glass carboy: plan on leaving it in there 2 weeks....

Then prime & bottle?

OR

Rack again to 6.5 glass carboy & leave for 2 weeks before priming & bottling?

Is this going to increase alcohol or just clarify and refine tastes?

Keep in mind this is a Belgian wheat beer using extract, not all grain.....
(FYI, it was a kit I purchased, with 1/2 grain & 1/2 liquid malt extract plus pellet hops)

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Old 02-07-2005, 04:35 PM   #6
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there is an ongoing discussion throughout the forum about hydrometer readings and their importance. i don't use one, but would not say you shouldn't use one, and i can see the value in employing a hydrometer, but it is simply not for me. i personally don't care what the specific gravity of my beer is at this moment in time

i would give it a good two weeks to just set and settle. then when you are ready to put it in the bottling bucket, move it to the surface you are going to use to rack a day or two ahead of time, thus any thing on the bottom you upset will have time to settle.

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Old 02-07-2005, 04:42 PM   #7
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i wouldn't rack a thrid time. put some new beer in your primary

it will ferment a while in the secondary (more vigorously than usual cause you stirred it up) but the secondary is more to let it settle and smooth out. don't worry about the new layer of sediment, unless you plan to really age the beer longer than a month, even then i don't know if i would worry about it. just take care not to stirr it up when you get ready to bottle

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Old 02-07-2005, 08:36 PM   #8
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t1master is giving you good advice. I'll add:

Don't freak out. There is nothing about brewing that lends itself to freaking out. Don't stress either. Everything usually goes just fine whether you worry or not, so why add the gray hairs

Sounds like your fermentation wasn't done yet. All you have to do is wait for it to finish. Wait until the bubbling stops and then wait some more. The more you wait, the tastier your beer.

No tertiary fermenter is necessary. Just rack to a bottling bucket when it's time and add priming sugar. Wit's are cloudy and yeasty anyway

The perception that you can "wake up" the yeast when you move a carboy is just that...a perception. It doesn't really happen. When you move your carboy and it immediately starts bubbling, it's because the solution is saturated with CO2 and you are jostling some out. Just like shaking a soda. Remember the individual yeast that are doing the work are microscopic. They're in suspension until the job is done and you can't really see them. That stuff on the bottom is partly yeast, but much of it is trub.

In your case, I wonder if you aerated adequately in the first place, because it sounds like your fermentation really got a jump start upon racking. If you never aerated the wort to begin with, it's possible that the splashing involved with racking gave the yeast the O2 they needed to finish the job. Only thing I can think of. Stirring the trub back into solution really doesn't re-start fermentations.

Lastly, I am an advocate of not using a hydrometer unless it adds to your enjoyment. If it's just something you worry about then put it away. It is not necessary to use a hydrometer to brew. I don't even own one. You can tell your beer is done when it stops bubbling. You want to wait a week or so longer than that point just to be sure, and to let the flavor of your beer improve. A lot of homebrew isn't as good as it could be because people jump the gun and drink it green. A hydrometer only helps with that mission.

Welcome to the world of homebrewing! I can't wait to hear how your Wit turns out! That's one of our next projects.

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Old 02-07-2005, 08:52 PM   #9
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Janx - you're a homebrew god! I can tell by all of your posts!

I am so anal, I think I will continue to use a hydrometer...just so I can record the information for all of my notes. Call me fickle...I admit it!

Anyways, I know for a fact I aerated the wort. I shook that carboy for like 15 mins straight after I pitched the yeast. It did take a while to start fermenting though - like 24 hours.
After the boil, I ended up cooling my wort with a wort chiller, and cooled it too low of a temp: 60F. That bad boy cooled in about 7 minutes....granted it was around 35F outside when I brewed. (I brew outside with a propane camping stove)
So, I had to put the carboy on an air conditioning grate to warm it to around 68F before I pitched.

Honestly, I think you're right: I think the fermentation is continuing (never finished) ...

One more question: Shouldn't I worry about the trub in the secondary and removing the beer from it so I don't get any off flavors???

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Old 02-07-2005, 09:01 PM   #10
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Cool, then hydrometer on! Sounds like it's right up your alley

It is quite curious that the racking cranked up the fermentation. I have no real explanation for that. I've seen it get going a little bit after racking, but never go from stopped to full blown fermentation again. But, it doesn't really matter. It just wants some more time.

Ideally, once the secondary is done (2 weeks is a very general rule of thumb), you'll rack the beer out of there and into some sort of bottling bucket to which you add your priming sugar. So that gets it off most of the trub.

The really important trub to remove it from seems to be the primary trub, in my experience. You can really taste the off flavors if you leave beer in the primary too long. Not so with the secondary as far as I have seen.

Hopefully you have some sort of bucket with a spigot for bottling, because bottling with a racking cane is a PITA.

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