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Old 01-24-2010, 12:00 AM   #1
johnboy1313
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Default Did I transfer to secondary too soon?

Hi guys/gals, new guy here. I've been reading a lot lately about secondary fermentation, and transfering when the vigorous fermentation activity is complete. I brewed a maibock leaning towards Dead Guy last Saturday, and hit my target gravity exactly. I fermented for a week, and kept my eye on the process. The active fermentation had subsided, and I was getting a bubble every two minutes or so. I transfered into the secondary today, and took a hydrometer reading. My target final gravity was 1.020, and my actual reading was 1.035. A considerable difference. Will my wort continue to ferment in the secondary, or did I screw it up transferring it too soon? I plan on taking another hydrometer reading in a week, if it isn't dropping anymore, can I transfer back to my primary, and add another packet of yeast, or should I just add yeast to my secondary and attach my blow-off tube? Thanks in advance. John

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Old 01-24-2010, 12:06 AM   #2
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You did transfer to soon. There's still yeast in the beer working, but not nearly as much as if you'd left it in primary. My guess is your resolution is probably correct, but maybe don't wait a full week. I'd be interested in what others say.

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Old 01-24-2010, 12:07 AM   #3
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Yes you did transfer way too soon.....Why did you do it knowing you were so far off?

You may find your beer stuck anywhere between 1.030 and 1.020 in a couple weeks.

Just wait it out an see. It may rekrausen on the other hand.

Next time wait til you have hit your target gravity or a few points off if you decide to rack. Though if you read around here, you will find that many of us forgo a secondary unless we are adding oak or fruit, instead we opt for a long primary. I have been leaving my beers in primary for a month for the last 3 years and my beers have vastly improved in clarity and taste from letting the yeast clean up after fermentation.

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Old 01-24-2010, 12:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Why did you do it knowing you were so far off?
I didn't take the reading until after I had racked it. I don't know why I didn't take the reading before, I guess I just got a bit overanxious.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:34 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by johnboy1313 View Post
I didn't take the reading until after I had racked it. I don't know why I didn't take the reading before, I guess I just got a bit overanxious.
Yeah, you kinda got it backwards.

The only way to truly know what is going on in your fermenter is with your hydrometer. Like I said here in my blog, which I encourage you to read, Think evaluation before action you sure as HELL wouldn't want a doctor to start cutting on you unless he used the proper diagnostic instuments like x-rays first, right? You wouldn't want him to just take a look in your eyes briefly and say "I'm cutting into your chest first thing in the morning." You would want them to use the right diagnostic tools before the slice and dice, right? You'd cry malpractice, I would hope, if they didn't say they were sending you for an MRI and other things before going in....

Thinking about "doing anything" without taking a hydrometer reading FIRST is tantamount to the doctor deciding to cut you open without running any diagnostic tests....Taking one look at you and saying, "Yeah I'm going in." You would really want the doctor to use all means to properly diagnose what's going on. It's exactly the same thing with our beers. The hydrometer is what should be your lead in what to do.

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Old 01-24-2010, 12:41 AM   #6
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So, should I act now (transfer back to the primary and add new yeast), or wait and see what happens?

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Old 01-24-2010, 03:32 AM   #7
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Just leave it alone for a couple weeks or more. It will take a while for the yeast to build back up enough to get fermenting again.

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Old 01-24-2010, 04:48 AM   #8
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Just leave it alone for a couple weeks or more. It will take a while for the yeast to build back up enough to get fermenting again.
Nurmey's right...just leave it alone for a couple weeks.

Just in the future, read first, rack second.
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Old 01-24-2010, 06:15 PM   #9
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In the future you could also skip doing a secondary. All of the fermentation takes place in the primary. Racking to a secondary is completely optional. I personally think that it is a waste of time, equipment, cleaner and sanitizer and has potentials for screwing things up..

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Old 01-24-2010, 09:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by michael.berta View Post
In the future you could also skip doing a secondary. All of the fermentation takes place in the primary. Racking to a secondary is completely optional. I personally think that it is a waste of time, equipment, cleaner and sanitizer and has potentials for screwing things up..
I more than likely will skip it next time. Don't you guys worry about off flavors from sitting on the yeast?
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