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Old 02-20-2013, 05:32 PM   #1
Bisco_Ben
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Default How much headspace is acceptable in secondary?

Hey guys, quick question here. I have a 5.5 gallon batch of an Imperial White recipe that I put together sitting in a bucket with krausen blow-off having sprayed out through the lid and blow-off tube. The batch was brewed exactly 7 days ago. I was going to transfer it to a 5-gallon carboy after 3-4 weeks to bulk-age for a month or 2. However, I noticed that a 5 gallon carboy actually holds just over 5.5 gallons and I am concerned about minimizing headspace. If I transfer around 5 gallons into the carboy, will about a half-gallon worth of headspace create an issue when bulk-aging? Or should I go directly to bottles instead after 4 weeks? This is the biggest beer I have brewed to date (OG: 1.089) and I am not sure how to handle such big beers. Any insight would be very much appreciated!



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Old 02-20-2013, 06:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bisco_Ben
Hey guys, quick question here. I have a 5.5 gallon batch of an Imperial White recipe that I put together sitting in a bucket with krausen blow-off having sprayed out through the lid and blow-off tube. The batch was brewed exactly 7 days ago. I was going to transfer it to a 5-gallon carboy after 3-4 weeks to bulk-age for a month or 2. However, I noticed that a 5 gallon carboy actually holds just over 5.5 gallons and I am concerned about minimizing headspace. If I transfer around 5 gallons into the carboy, will about a half-gallon worth of headspace create an issue when bulk-aging? Or should I go directly to bottles instead after 4 weeks? This is the biggest beer I have brewed to date (OG: 1.089) and I am not sure how to handle such big beers. Any insight would be very much appreciated!
First off so not transfer until you are sure it has reached final gravity.

A half gallon or less would be fine as head space in secondary for the 1-2 months, just be sure the airlock doesn't dry out. If you have CO2 you can always purge the secondary first and then rack.


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Old 02-20-2013, 06:41 PM   #3
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Just let it bulk age as is...a month in primary won't hurt anything.

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Old 02-20-2013, 06:44 PM   #4
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I don'y see why you wouldn't just put it in bottles once you're happy with clarity. MUCH less risk, and I don't know of anything you'll gain from bulk aging.

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Old 02-20-2013, 06:48 PM   #5
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I recently under shot the amount of IIPA contained within my primary and racked it to a 5 gallon secondary. The volume of beer was actually 3.8 gallons and I topped it with about 2-3 inches worth of leaf dryhops, which completely covered the beer and took up some extra space. Still there was about a gallon of headspace. The beer spent 7 days in secondary and was partially oxygenated. Some bottles were perfect, some were okay, some were wet cardboard/sour. Take my experience as a cautionary tale. I'd say a gallon of secondary headspace is too much.

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Old 02-20-2013, 06:52 PM   #6
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Just leave it in the primary as Bensiff said. Worries of autolysis have been defunct.

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Old 02-20-2013, 07:59 PM   #7
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So you guys think that 4-5 weeks in primary (bucket) will be sufficient aging for an Imperial Wit with OG of 1.089? I just want to make sure that I condition this batch properly. Also, I was also going to transfer to secondary for clarity purposes before bottling, but I guess a 3-5 day cold crash in the bucket will do just fine?

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Old 02-20-2013, 08:01 PM   #8
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ALSO, with such a high OG, would it be advisable to add yeast at bottling time? My Belgian Golden Strong (OG: 1.082) had a hard time bottle conditioning and has some uneven carbonation as well, which could be due to lack of viable yeast at that point. I was thinking of adding the new CBC-1 yeast when bottling to insure that I have a smooth conditioning process.

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Old 02-20-2013, 08:24 PM   #9
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Not sure about adding new yeast, but I would just bottle and let it age in the bottle awhile. That way you can free up your fermenter for something else.

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Old 02-21-2013, 03:15 PM   #10
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Anyone see an issue with racking a 5 gal batch to a 6.5 gal bucket and aging for a month??

When transfered I VERY VERY carefully transfered an kept foaming, areating to just about nothing.

I did this with my Tripel and it smells and looks good just hoping there's no oxidation, which I don't think there will be. It was racked and the lid has not been opened since then.



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