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Old 01-13-2012, 07:26 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation Timing Question

Hey there,

I am currently working on my second brew (Cascade Pale Ale).

My first brew I made my starter only 1-2 hours before brew time. When I put it in the fermenter it bubbled pretty steadily for about 1 1/2-2 weeks and then I dry hopped for another week before bottling. No secondary.

This time around, I prepared a starter the night before. The airlock activity went wild for the first couple days and now (4 days later) it seems that the airlock activity has almost completely stopped. I think if the airlock activity has completely stopped by the 7 day mark, I am going to go for the secondary this time to reduce sediment.

My question is, if fermentation has subsided after I move it to the secondary, what is the point of keeping it in a secondary fermenter for two more weeks? Also, is it okay to dry hop for this whole two-week period or could my hops start to mold or something?

Also, does anyone have any recommendations for anything else I could throw in my steeping bag along with my ounce of Cascade hops to add a tasty unique flavor to my pale ale?

Thanks Guys,
Adam

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Old 01-13-2012, 07:30 PM   #2
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as far as secondary goes, first off, fermentation should be completely finished before racking to secondary. second, i think you discovered that you don't really need to use a secondary for most ales. they'll clear just fine given enough time in primary. also, i'm sure you'll hear this a lot on HBT, but don't use the airlock to gauge fermentation, it's merely a vent for co2. use a hydrometer to measure the gravity of the beer.

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Old 01-13-2012, 08:28 PM   #3
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as far as secondary goes, first off, fermentation should be completely finished before racking to secondary. second, i think you discovered that you don't really need to use a secondary for most ales. they'll clear just fine given enough time in primary. also, i'm sure you'll hear this a lot on HBT, but don't use the airlock to gauge fermentation, it's merely a vent for co2. use a hydrometer to measure the gravity of the beer.
Yea, I would actually prefer to not use a secondary because I have read it is not necessary and don't want to open my brew up to unneeded contamination (plus not using a secondary worked great on my last brew). I just noticed that when I racked from primary to my bottling bucket last time that I got some sediment from the yeast cake even though I held the racking cane above the yeast cake. Is their a way to better filter the ale as you rack it from the primary to the bottling bucket? Possibly some sort of filter?

As far as taking a hydrometer reading, I have actually never taken one. My last brew, I just brewed and then let it sit in the primary for three weeks (while dry-hopping on the last week) and it worked out. I suppose I just need to further research what a hydrometer reading is instead of just hoping it works out.
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:35 PM   #4
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sure, you can filter it. i use secondary sometimes for dry hopping, oaking, spices, etc. but when i go from primary to bottling bucket i'm just really careful not to disturb the cake. some always gets through, but it's not an issue. after 3-4 weeks in primary, the cake is usually pretty well packed and stable. as far as the hydro goes, yes you definitely should use one. it's really the only way to tell if it's ok to move the beer off of the yeast cake.

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