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Old 09-23-2009, 11:48 PM   #1
badgerbrew
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I just brewed my first batch. It's a 6-week beer so It's supposed to spend 2 weeks in primary, 2 weeks in secondary, and 2 weeks in the bottle, I assume.

I racked it to the secondary, which is a 6-gallon pail. I read in a book that I should have used a 5-gallon glass carboy because the 6-gallon pail introduces new oxygen in all that headspace. Is this a real problem? If so, that leads me to another question. When I'm taking all those hydrometer readings to make sure it's done fermenting, I have to take the lid off every time. Doesn't this introduce oxygen too?

Is my first batch going to be o.k.? I guess I'll know for sure in two weeks when I taste it, but my impatience requires that I ask!

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Old 09-24-2009, 12:03 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by badgerbrew View Post
I just brewed my first batch. It's a 6-week beer so It's supposed to spend 2 weeks in primary, 2 weeks in secondary, and 2 weeks in the bottle, I assume.
You could just leave it in the primary for about a month and rack straight to the bottling bucket, the secondary does help to clear the beer, but it also means you have to rack an extra time increasing the possibility of infection.

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I racked it to the secondary, which is a 6-gallon pail. I read in a book that I should have used a 5-gallon glass carboy because the 6-gallon pail introduces new oxygen in all that headspace. Is this a real problem? If so, that leads me to another question. When I'm taking all those hydrometer readings to make sure it's done fermenting, I have to take the lid off every time. Doesn't this introduce oxygen too?
co2 is a blanket of heavier gas that will sit ontop of the wort fairly well, if you are opening the bucket carefully and there isn't a huge draft and if you aren't stirring anything up, you should be okay. Personally, I just leave the beer alone for at least 3 weeks before checking it, usually it is done by then and I only take 1 gravity sample.

Introducing oxygen is a problem, but oxidation really isn't that big of a deal unless you plan on bottle conditioning you beer for an extended period of time (12 months or longer). You definitely want to minimize headspace with a secondary, 5 gallon better bottles, or 5 gallon glass carboys are the norm.

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Is my first batch going to be o.k.? I guess I'll know for sure in two weeks when I taste it, but my impatience requires that I ask!
RDWHAHB, your beer will be fine, just be patient and try to avoid tinkering with it too much.

Good luck, welcome to HBT, and the obsession....I mean hobby, of homebrewing!
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:25 AM   #3
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+1 to Schnitzengiggle's comments. Only addition would be to read more about using secondaries. I think the debate is still out there as to whether it actually clears beer up anymore than extended primary-ing (I know you touched on that Schnitz). That being said, I almost always use a secondary. Another good reason to use a glass carboy is so that when you rack, you can see where the beer ends and the trub begins. A clear beer really means not sucking up any of that junk!

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Old 09-24-2009, 02:48 AM   #4
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Welcome to HBT!
When you rack your beer the CO2 is knocked out of suspension and re-blankets your beer. No worries at all about having your beer in a large container.

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