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Old 01-16-2014, 03:11 PM   #21
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Thank you guys for the info. I will get to work on construction. Another thing - a friend of mine (another beginner homebrewer) were discussing what was the value to racking to secondary as opposed to cleaning out all the yeast that has come to rest, and just starting secondary in the same vessel? Could someone fill me in on why it is sometimes necessary to rack to secondary? Would cleaning out the rested yeast, and just considering that secondary fermentation work? The reason for my concern is that if I can get away with only using 2 fermenters for 2 different batches, I would not have to purchase (or find) extra equipment. My hope is to have 2 larger batches going at once, with 2 fermenters total, and keep my smaller carboys for experimental use.

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Old 01-16-2014, 03:26 PM   #22
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Unless you're brewing on a commercial scale (1bbl+ fermenters), there is no rush to get the beer away from the yeast.

At the homebrew scale, autolysis is not a real threat unless you're leaving the beer on the yeast for several months.

In addition, racking to secondary does not improve clarity. If anything, it impedes it. Think about it. Sitting on a yeast cake does not cause the beer to clear more slowly. Particles will fall out of solution at the same rate, whether they'd landing on glass, or dormant yeast cells. After fermentation has finished and the beer stops swirling, particulates begin to slowly sink to the bottom of the carboy. Thus, the top of the beer will clear faster than the bottom. Say after a few days, the top of the beer is pretty clear, while the bottom is still a little cloudy as the particles that were at the top continue to make their way to the bottom.

If you then rack that beer to secondary, you're re-mixing those bottom-most particles back into even distribution in the beer. There will be some at the top, where they must start all over again, sinking to the bottom.

Thus, getting the beer off the yeast to prevent off-flavours or improve clarity are outdated myths.

Now, there are some valid reasons for using a secondary vessel. But off-flavours and clarity are not amongst them. The only reasons I know of are:

  • You have a limited number of primary fermenters and need to free one up
  • You wish to re-use the yeast before the beer has finished conditioning
  • You are dry-hopping or adding fruit and want to maximize surface area contact (versus some of the additions sinking into the yeast and not imparting their full flavor)
  • You are dry-hopping or adding fruit and wish to re-use the yeast, so you want to rack the beer off the yeast before adding the hops/fruit so the yeast isn't contaminated by the additives.
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Old 01-16-2014, 04:25 PM   #23
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Now, there are some valid reasons for using a secondary vessel. But off-flavours and clarity are not amongst them. The only reasons I know of are:

  • You have a limited number of primary fermenters and need to free one up
  • You wish to re-use the yeast before the beer has finished conditioning
  • You are dry-hopping or adding fruit and want to maximize surface area contact (versus some of the additions sinking into the yeast and not imparting their full flavor)
  • You are dry-hopping or adding fruit and wish to re-use the yeast, so you want to rack the beer off the yeast before adding the hops/fruit so the yeast isn't contaminated by the additives.
So, if I understand correctly, unless I am adding something, or want to reuse the yeast, leaving it in primary for the extra 2 weeks or so is not going to hurt anything? I think, regardless, I would want two of these larger conical fermenters - one for primary and one for secondary. I could get a batch through every couple weeks, depending on what I was doing, and what length of fermentation was required, and I could keep everything flowing just fine. Of course, there is always room for upgrades in the future.

Or - If I just use one fermenter per batch, dump the yeast at the end of primary, and slowly swirl the beer around, to get it evenly mixed again, would that essentially be doing the same thing? This is out of curiosity, as I think the first option would be the best all around option.
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Old 01-16-2014, 04:54 PM   #24
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No need for swirling, just leave the beer where it sits until you are ready to package it, or want to start another batch in that fermenter.

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Old 01-16-2014, 05:11 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by MountainBrothers View Post
So, if I understand correctly, unless I am adding something, or want to reuse the yeast, leaving it in primary for the extra 2 weeks or so is not going to hurt anything? I think, regardless, I would want two of these larger conical fermenters - one for primary and one for secondary. I could get a batch through every couple weeks, depending on what I was doing, and what length of fermentation was required, and I could keep everything flowing just fine. Of course, there is always room for upgrades in the future.

Or - If I just use one fermenter per batch, dump the yeast at the end of primary, and slowly swirl the beer around, to get it evenly mixed again, would that essentially be doing the same thing? This is out of curiosity, as I think the first option would be the best all around option.
It looks like your very confused. Using conicals to ferment in is nothing like buckets or carboys. Forget that knowledge for this, there is no "secondary fermentation".
This is what I do:
Pump cooled 68 degree wort into conical.
Dump trub in an hour.
Add yeast catcher.
Pitch yeast.
Wait until fermentation has been completed and no diacetyl.
Pull off yeast catcher and save yeast.
Turn freezer down to 33 degrees to cold crash.
Dump more yeast over the next few days.
Keg clear beer out of racking port.

Go here for more questions http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/supe...onical-276378/
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:26 PM   #26
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lol I guess I was pretty confused, but the fun for me, is learning all these new methods. This seems to be a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. Thanks again for the help.

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Old 01-16-2014, 05:38 PM   #27
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As for the height of the upper valve: that's the beauty of 2 valves. If the yeast starts to get high enough that opening the upper valve would stir up yeast in your clear beer, simply crack the bottom valve a little. As you pull out yeast the upper yeast surface will drop below your valve. You can adjust each batch to minimize loss.

Just figure the volume of typical trub and how much of the cone that would occupy. So a 16" bucket with 1" of yeast/trub after fermentation = (16"/2)^2*3.14*1" = ~200 cubic inches. Volume of a cone is 1/3*3.14*radius^2*height so you can determine how much of the cone will be full of yeast.

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Old 01-16-2014, 06:42 PM   #28
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I would just like to point out how nice everyone this forum has been so far. Being a newbie, I have a lot of questions, and am very curious and excited about bettering my brewing, and everyone has answered my questions without making me feel like an idiot.

That being said.. back to the cold crash - Do you cold crash for certain lengths of time or to certain temperatures depending on the type of beer? What is the major benefit of cold crashing? Would you avoid cold crashing if you used some off centered ingredients?

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Old 01-16-2014, 06:46 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by MountainBrothers View Post
Do you cold crash for certain lengths of time or to certain temperatures depending on the type of beer?
Chill to just above freezing for several days, regardless of the type of beer. For improved clarity, administer gelatin (Google for the procedure or ask here if you can't find it) after the beer has been chilled (a day or so into cold-crashing).

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What is the major benefit of cold crashing?
Beer clarity.

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Would you avoid cold crashing if you used some off centered ingredients?
No, but I sometimes skip it if I'm in a hurry and brewing a dark beer (stout) where the clarity won't be appreciated.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:12 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kombat View Post
Chill to just above freezing for several days, regardless of the type of beer. For improved clarity, administer gelatin (Google for the procedure or ask here if you can't find it) after the beer has been chilled (a day or so into cold-crashing).



Beer clarity.



No, but I sometimes skip it if I'm in a hurry and brewing a dark beer (stout) where the clarity won't be appreciated.
This is correct. If you decide to use gelatin (I do almost always) the reason why you chill the beer for a day or two before adding the gelatin is to cause haze forming proteins to activate. The gelatin causes the proteins to clump and become heavy so they will fall out of suspension.

It is good practice to do this even for dark beers where clarity may not be a concern as suspended yeast and proteins give off a certain taste in beer. Even though you may not see them you still may be able to taste them.
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