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Old 06-22-2011, 04:31 AM   #1
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Default No bubbling in secondary fermentation... what did I screw up?

I tried brewing an IPA ~2 weeks ago (first homebrew attempt), and just stuck it into secondary fermentation. It was bubbling actively pretty quick after putting it into the primary fermentation but I noticed it had slowed considerably (to a virtual stop) recently. I had hoped the bubbles would pick up in secondary fermentation, but its not really doing anything (its been in the secondary fermenter about 4 days).

I made a few mistakes while brewing so my hopes aren't THAT high for this batch.. but I was wondering if you had any ideas whats up. At this moment it is a little cold (64 degrees) in the tub the carboy is in, but its been in the 67 +/- 2 range virtually the whole rest of the tiem (and its hot int he house right now so that should be fixed momentarily).

I used dry yeast... I had two bags (what the brew store gave me),a nd just used one. The instructions didn't really specify if I should use either or both, and a friend just said pick one. Should I have used both? If so... should I sprinkle the other one in or is it screwed?

Thanks!

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Old 06-22-2011, 04:43 AM   #2
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im not a pro at brewing by any means, but normally after about 3-4 days the really active bubbling will normally slow down to about 1 to 2 bubble per minute, thats when i move mine to a secondary, normally in the secondary you hardly ever notice bubbles because the yeast isn't as active as it once was, it is starting to go dormant, iirc. there is still fermentation occurring but at a much slower pace. the yeast is now cleaning up the beer and everything is falling out of the beer to make it nice and clear.

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Old 06-22-2011, 05:07 AM   #3
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You're good. That's how it goes. I'm on about my tenth batch, and my current brew in my secondary is the first time I've ever seen a secondary bubble. It's also the first time I've made a yeast starter.

Google yeast life cycle, others explain it better than I.

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Old 06-22-2011, 05:14 AM   #4
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Before wondering if your fermentation is stuck, use your hydrometer. You want to make sure your beer is within a few points of the recipe's anticipated FG. If you have an auto siphon or wine thief sanitize it and grab enough beer to fill up your hydrometer's test jar (I just use the clear tube it came in). Don't forget to adjust your reading for temperature.

Do this again in a couple days if it is a little higher than you want the reading to be. If there is no change then your fermentation has stopped.

"Secondary fermenter" is a bit of a misnomer. Really the only time it should be fermenting is if you add some yeast food to it.

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Old 06-22-2011, 06:02 AM   #5
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sweet that makes me feel better. i may give it a few days before using the hydrometer, but I'll do that for sure. thanks!

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Old 06-22-2011, 09:52 AM   #6
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Your airlock shouldn't be bubbling in secondary. Fermentation should be complete BEFORE you even rack it to secondary. And you determine that with 2 gravity readings over 3 days. I recommend folks don't even take their first reading til day 12 and again at day 14 and rack then if it's done. That way it insures fermentation is complete and gives the yeast time to cleanup the byproducts of fermentation that leads to off flavors.

Your secondary is for clearing, though people now adays skip secondary and instead opt for a month in primary instead. Those of us who do it only use a secondary if we are adding something like oak or fruit.

But either way no fermentation should be happening in secondary.

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Old 06-22-2011, 06:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Your airlock shouldn't be bubbling in secondary. Fermentation should be complete BEFORE you even rack it to secondary. And you determine that with 2 gravity readings over 3 days. I recommend folks don't even take their first reading til day 12 and again at day 14 and rack then if it's done. That way it insures fermentation is complete and gives the yeast time to cleanup the byproducts of fermentation that leads to off flavors.

Your secondary is for clearing, though people now adays skip secondary and instead opt for a month in primary instead. Those of us who do it only use a secondary if we are adding something like oak or fruit.

But either way no fermentation should be happening in secondary.
Revvy,

Though I generally agree with and most often use the 3-4 weeks primary and skip the secondary I am also in the boat that racking to secondary normally jump starts about a 24 hour fermentation period.

I only use it if my beer did not quit hit the gravity it should have. Rack to secondary and it kicks up and drops a couple of points in 24 hours. I don't know why it does that other than stir up the beer/yeast mix.

I also have experimented with racking to secondary after about 4 weeks to see what happens. And in almost all cases the beer drops a couple points. So in my practices the primary more often than not does not completely ferment out unless I stir up the yeast. Most often I am alright with that because I hit my desired gravity anyway. I also think that my beers are clearer when using a long primary.



Sorry, not trying to hijack the thread. Take it for what it is worth.
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Old 06-08-2014, 07:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Your airlock shouldn't be bubbling in secondary. Fermentation should be complete BEFORE you even rack it to secondary. And you determine that with 2 gravity readings over 3 days. I recommend folks don't even take their first reading til day 12 and again at day 14 and rack then if it's done. That way it insures fermentation is complete and gives the yeast time to cleanup the byproducts of fermentation that leads to off flavors.

Your secondary is for clearing, though people now adays skip secondary and instead opt for a month in primary instead. Those of us who do it only use a secondary if we are adding something like oak or fruit.

But either way no fermentation should be happening in secondary.
Sorry for reviving an old post, but just tried a secondary for the first time (after 8 successful brews). I am trying to get a clearer IPA and wanted to dry hop anyway. My question is if there is no continuing fermentation, doesn't that allow oxygen to contact the liquid? I thought a blanket of CO2 is necessary to prevent oxidation and contamination.

Thanks
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Old 06-08-2014, 07:53 AM   #9
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Sg ?

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Old 06-08-2014, 07:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HolyBeer View Post
Sorry for reviving an old post, but just tried a secondary for the first time (after 8 successful brews). I am trying to get a clearer IPA and wanted to dry hop anyway. My question is if there is no continuing fermentation, doesn't that allow oxygen to contact the liquid? I thought a blanket of CO2 is necessary to prevent oxidation and contamination.

Thanks
If you're going to use secondary then you could use two different sized containers so that you have enough liquid to almost completely top up the second one.

For example, you do a 5.5 gallon batch in a 6.5 gallon carboy so that you have enough headspace to hopefully prevent blowing out krausen through your airlock. When racking 5.5 gallons, you leave about half a gallon of trub/yeast cake behind. That should give you exactly enough to top up a 5 gallon carboy without much headspace remaining.
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