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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Back to brewing after a long hiatus... Made a rookie mistake.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:35 PM   #1
Weston
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Default Back to brewing after a long hiatus... Made a rookie mistake.

Hello all!
I am brewing a batch using Wyeast Labs belgian saison 3724. The OG was 1.047 and during the first three days it was VERY active to the point where I needed to use the blowoff hose. After it subsided, I put the airlock back on and it fermented happily for a week. A week later, all bubbling in the lock was pretty much nonexistent and things had settled out quite a bit. During fermentation I held the temp at about 78, which was the average of the recommended range for the yeast I used.
At this point I felt it was ready for secondary. Like a fool, I transferred it into my secondary carboy WITHOUT checking the Gravity first! Dumb. The gravity read 1.040. Yikes. I did some research online and discovered that others who used Wyeast Labs belgian saison 3724 had the same issue. The beer would start out with a bang and then stall at around 1.040 - 1.035. Their solution was to increase the temp of the fermentation to 80F (which is the higher end of the recommended range), and agitate the beer to re-suspend the yeast in the wort. So now I have my beer in the secondary carboy. So I pulled the Krausen off the bottom of the primary and pitched it back into the wort in the secondary carboy. I am stepping up the temp on the beer using a heating pad and am crossing my fingers that the yeast returns to an active state.
Would anyone have done anything different in this situation? I know I made the mistake by not checking the Gravity prior to transferring vessels. I just hope things work out alright.

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Old 11-05-2012, 06:48 PM   #2
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In your hiatus most folks have done away with secondaries except for a few exceptions. But, looks like you figured out exactly where you made an error so looks like you are on the right path now.

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Old 11-05-2012, 07:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bensiff
In your hiatus most folks have done away with secondaries except for a few exceptions. But, looks like you figured out exactly where you made an error so looks like you are on the right path now.
Really? Done away with? Interesting. Why so?
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:36 PM   #4
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Something does not sound right you started at 1.047 and are now at 1.040. Check it again. Make sure you hydrometer is calibrated.

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Old 11-05-2012, 07:41 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Weston View Post
So I pulled the Krausen off the bottom of the primary and pitched it back into the wort in the secondary carboy.
I hope you were really careful about sanitation.
And welcome back. I was out of brewing for 16 years myself - just started back last year. A lot has changed. I highly recommend browsing HBT on a regular basis - lots of good info.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:43 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by beerman0001
Something does not sound right you started at 1.047 and are now at 1.040. Check it again. Make sure you hydrometer is calibrated.
I thought the same, I used three different hydrometers. They all read the same.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncbrewer

I hope you were really careful about sanitation.
And welcome back. I was out of brewing for 16 years myself - just started back last year. A lot has changed. I highly recommend browsing HBT on a regular basis - lots of good info.
Oh yes! I am extremely careful about sanitation! And thanks for the welcome back! It's been far too long!
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:51 PM   #8
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Really? Done away with? Interesting. Why so?
Basically, a lot of experimentation has shown that all the accepted reasons for transferring to secondary don't really apply at the homebrew level.

The biggest one was always yeast autolysis - which can happen in large scale fermenters used by fermenters, where the thousands of gallons of beer creat lots and lots of pressure on the yeast cake. But in a typical 5-7 gallon homebrew fermenter, there's just not the same pressure levels. Plus, the quality of the yeast strains we're using now are head and shoulders above what was used by homebrewers 15-20 years ago when transferring to secondary became the SOP.

Experimentation has also showed that simply going for a longer primary (3-4 weeks) instead of a shorter primary plus a secondary tends to yield an equally clear beer, without the added work of transferring.

However, those same experiments have shown that there can be a noticeable difference in the flavor of the end product - some prefer the product of the long primary, some prefer the product of the secondaried brew. Lke all things when it comes to taste, it's very subjective. In this case, it's still very much up to the brewer.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:54 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by stratslinger

Basically, a lot of experimentation has shown that all the accepted reasons for transferring to secondary don't really apply at the homebrew level.

The biggest one was always yeast autolysis - which can happen in large scale fermenters used by fermenters, where the thousands of gallons of beer creat lots and lots of pressure on the yeast cake. But in a typical 5-7 gallon homebrew fermenter, there's just not the same pressure levels. Plus, the quality of the yeast strains we're using now are head and shoulders above what was used by homebrewers 15-20 years ago when transferring to secondary became the SOP.

Experimentation has also showed that simply going for a longer primary (3-4 weeks) instead of a shorter primary plus a secondary tends to yield an equally clear beer, without the added work of transferring.

However, those same experiments have shown that there can be a noticeable difference in the flavor of the end product - some prefer the product of the long primary, some prefer the product of the secondaried brew. Lke all things when it comes to taste, it's very subjective. In this case, it's still very much up to the brewer.
Very interesting. Definitely something to consider on my next brew. Thanks for the update!
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