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Old 12-26-2012, 07:53 AM   #1
bbell21
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This is my first official batch of the brewers best American cream ale. The directions say after 5-7 days of fermentation to rack to secondary BEFORE fermentation is complete...is this correct? I don't have co2 or any means of helping it in the secondary if I wait out the 2 weeks in the primary. Also it says to take hydrometer tests every couple days until I. Get the same reading 3 days in a row....is it safe to pop open the primary's lid to draw a sample? Wouldn't that allow oxygen into it? Need some help here guys, thanks.



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Old 12-26-2012, 11:59 AM   #2
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You want to wait about 10-14 days in primary then take a hydrometer reading to see where your at. At that point the fermentation will have produced enough alcohol to help sanitize it to prevent from airborne contamination as long as you are sanitary with taking your sample. IE sanitize whatever equipment you are going to be using and insure it was clean before sanitizing. The Wort will also have a layer of CO2 on top of it to help protect it from the oxygen.
When you take your Hydrometer Sample check it again in a few days. If it hasn't changed any then you can rack to secondary(if desired) or just leave it in the primary till your ready to bottle or keg. If the second reading is lower than the first than check again in a few more days.
As for Secondary there is a lot of controversy over necessity of it or not. Most will Forgo using a secondary unless Adding a fruit addition or other adjunct for flavoring. Others will just do it all in the primary and also wind up making good beer. It really comes down to personal preference.
I only Rack to secondary if
1. I need the fermenter for the next batch.
2. I am adding fruit
3. If I want to age a Beer Long Term
other than that I just let it ride in primary then rack to keg when its ready.
As long as you work sanitarily around the open fermenter you will be fine.



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Old 12-26-2012, 12:11 PM   #3
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I'd recommend moving your brew into a sanitized secondary container while it's still fermenting. I usually do so once the airlock activity has slowed down considerably. That way, your brew is still producing CO2 to displace the air in the remaining headspace. Just minimize splashing when making the transfer.

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Old 12-26-2012, 12:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbell21
Need some help here guys, thanks.
Man, I really wish the kit makers would update their instructions.

People disagree about using secondary or not (whole threads on the issue) but there is no NEED to secondary at all in most cases. For beginning home brewers, the biggest threat is not whether your beer is crystal clear! Much bigger problems arise from sanitation & oxidation, both of which are more likely with each contact you make with the beer.

Personally, I'd suggest you don't touch the beer for 14-21 days, take a hydrometer reading at the end of that time to make sure you're in the ballpark of the suggested FG, then keg or bottle, condition for 10-14 days, and enjoy!

Cheers!
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:03 PM   #5
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To use a secondary, or not? That's one of those topics people can argue about incessantly. I would agree with the previous poster that it's not a necessary step, especially for a beginner. Plenty of good beers use only a primary and you can definitely just let yours finishing as is. Secondaries do have their uses though, such as lagering.

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Old 12-26-2012, 02:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brussum
. Secondaries do have their uses though, such as lagering.
Absolutely agreed!!

Lagering, fruit additions, oaking, dry-hopping, etc., all have their place in secondary (although some do all the above in primary vessels as well). But I'm glad you see my point about relating to beginning brewers, brussum! I figure KISS is best until one gets one's processes tight and figures out what works best with the particular system. Cheers!


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