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McKraut 01-12-2013 12:20 PM

Racked to secondary too soon... stuck fermentation
 
I brewed an Irish Red (liquid extract) kit from AHS, along with two other beers back in December (12/21), and racked them all to secondary on 1/3. My problem arose from haste, and I didn't check gravity on my Red before racking; though I did check the other two which were just about at FG. I went to bottle last night, and bottled the other two, but went to check gravity on the Red, and it was 1.017... whoops. So, I racked before primary fermentation was complete. Any recommendations on what I should do at this point? It was in a room that was about 65 degrees; I've since moved it to a room that's 70 degrees, but haven't done anything else yet and wanted to hear what others think...

Brewed: 12/21/2012
Secondary: 1/3/2013
OG: 1.065
Current gravity: 1.017

hercher 01-12-2013 01:44 PM

Don't do anything. Check your gravity again in 3 days. If it is still at 1.017, then your fermentation is complete. You didn't really hurt anything by moving it to secondary early -- there is still plenty of yeast to continue fermentation.

Even if your fermentation is complete, I'd probably give it another week or so beyond that just to clean up any off-flavors, such as diacetyl, that may have developed.

What yeast did you use? 1.017 is a little high for an Irish, but not dramatically so.

Calder 01-13-2013 01:05 AM

Stuck fermentation occurs when the fermenter gets cold, the yeast drop and then someone racks to secondary. If temps are fine, you rack all the working yeast across with the beer.

What you lose is the bulk of the flocculated yeast which help with cleaning up undesirable flavors in the beer after fermentation is complete. When you rack early you have less yeast to perform this function and it takes longer. Ever heard/tasted 'green' beer.

Sounds like you are done. Raising the temp was the right thing to do. Now check in a few days and see if anything happened.

kh54s10 01-13-2013 01:16 AM

13 days is not really too early to rack to secondary and 1.017 is not too high for final gravity. Sometimes extracts will stop at about 1.020 for some reason. It will not ruin the beer. You have done right, just take another reading and if it is 1.017 you are good to go. I have bottled recipes anywhere from 1.004 and 1.022 with no problems. It somewhat depends on the recipe and yeast used what your final gravity will be.

McKraut 01-13-2013 02:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hercher (Post 4777160)
Don't do anything. Check your gravity again in 3 days. If it is still at 1.017, then your fermentation is complete. You didn't really hurt anything by moving it to secondary early -- there is still plenty of yeast to continue fermentation.

Even if your fermentation is complete, I'd probably give it another week or so beyond that just to clean up any off-flavors, such as diacetyl, that may have developed.

What yeast did you use? 1.017 is a little high for an Irish, but not dramatically so.

i used White Labs Irish Ale WLP004, no starter, pitched about 75 degrees after very good (manual) aeration; same method i've used for all of my beer so far.

i will give it a few days in this slightly higher temp and check it again, and i guess bottle soon if it's stil the same. i just also wanted to make sure another risk wasn't overcarbonated beers, because i've had that problem, also! :) (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/chro...4/#post4457966). but it's sounding like my biggest thing may be off-flavors at this point... thanks for all the replies; i love this community!

g-star 01-13-2013 03:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by McKraut

i used White Labs Irish Ale WLP004, no starter, pitched about 75 degrees after very good (manual) aeration; same method i've used for all of my beer so far.!

You have quite a bit to learn. At an OG of 1.065, you under-pitched by a significant amount. You also pitched much too warm...low 60's would be more appropriate. And for this type of beer, there is no good reason to transfer it to a secondary vessel.

Read up on making starters, proper pitch rates/temps, etc. Your beer will improve dramatically.

McKraut 01-13-2013 06:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by g-star (Post 4779426)
You have quite a bit to learn. At an OG of 1.065, you under-pitched by a significant amount. You also pitched much too warm...low 60's would be more appropriate. And for this type of beer, there is no good reason to transfer it to a secondary vessel.

Read up on making starters, proper pitch rates/temps, etc. Your beer will improve dramatically.

thanks for the info; i wish the AHS instructions with their kits would have more appropriate details for pitch temps... as i think every one of them just tells you to pitch after you've added some cooler water to your 80F wort, leading me to believe that's around low 70's temp range... but i don't know which styles to pitch at what temps, as well as not realizing i didn't need to use secondary. is there a general rule of thumb for either of these things that i can follow to avoid mistakes like these in the future?

g-star 01-13-2013 11:22 PM

For the majority of ales, you can't go wrong pitching in the mid 60's and keeping the ferm temp under 70.

Using a secondary is really an outdated practice, and unnecessary unless you are aging the beer for an extended period (2 months or more).

Kit instructions are notoriously bad...they are written for the novice and designed to ensure that fermentation will occur, not to ensure the best tasting product.

If you're just starting out, read How to Brew by John Palmer...a great resource


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