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Old 06-11-2012, 10:26 PM   #1
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Default Too much head space?

I just racked my American Wheat after seven full days of primary fermentation into my five-gallon carboy. This is my first time doing secondary fermentation, and the only reason I did it is because I dry-hopped. But is this too much head space? Should I worry about oxygen contamination?

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Old 06-11-2012, 10:50 PM   #2
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I wouldn’t worry about it. I usually go to secondary after a week to free up the primary, but also for clarity. It limits the amount of schmutz in the bottle. For kegging, no big deal, the keg is the secondary.

When you rack it you knock a lot of CO2 out of solution, tending to float the air out. Plus you’re still generating CO2, diluting the remaining oxygen pretty quickly. Oxidation takes a while.

As far as I can guess, oxidation comes from splashing, mostly in bottling.

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Old 06-11-2012, 10:59 PM   #3
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Tip: run a CO2 line into your secondary and purge out any O2, I let the CO2 run for about 15 seconds and then add the beer carefully to secondary.

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Old 06-12-2012, 01:01 AM   #4
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That pic looks pretty much identical to every batch I have ever done when transferring to secondary and I have not yet had oxidized beer.

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Old 06-12-2012, 01:12 AM   #5
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FWIW, my four or five all grain brews (up until recently) have all been 4 gal batches, and I've put them all in secondaries. never noticed an oxidized flavor (just mostly dry due to lower-than-preferred mash temps)

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Old 06-12-2012, 01:26 AM   #6
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Thank you for the tips, everyone. You're a helpful bunch!

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Old 09-06-2012, 07:32 PM   #7
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Default How much should I top up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by forstmeister View Post
That pic looks pretty much identical to every batch I have ever done when transferring to secondary and I have not yet had oxidized beer.
+1 to this. Every batch I have brewed so far has looked just like this. Sometimes a half inch fuller, but not more.

I always brew 5 gal batches by boiling approx. 3.5 gal with the LME and other ingredients and then top up the Primary bucket to exactly 5 gal. When I rack to Secondary carboy it usually looks like the above. When I rack to Bottling bucket it's even less. In other words, I'm losing a significant portion to trub.

What's the solution to this? I know I could top up the Primary to 5.5 (or more) gal. But I like my OG values; they tend to be between nominal and right at the top end of the predicted range. How much would an extra half gal water down my brew? Are there other good solutions to this? Can I somehow increase my extraction (Extract brewing here) to compensate for additional top-up water?

At some point I'm going to brew a "big" beer that needs to condition in Secondary for several months. At that time I suspect I should be more concerned about reducing headspace. Should I avoid messing with additional top-up water until I tackle this kind of beer?
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