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Old 09-11-2013, 05:38 PM   #1
matt_ferguson90
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Default Secondary Fermentation

Hi, i am fairly new to homebrewing but have a few sucessful brews under me now.

this time i want to do a secondary fermentation. Is it advisable to add another packet of yeast at the start of the secondary ?

Also, will adding more sugar to the wort before primary fermentation increase the alcohol content of the beer? Iv stuck with strict kits and recipes before so want to experiment a bit this time.

many thanks.



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Old 09-11-2013, 05:59 PM   #2
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"Secondary fermentation" is a misnomer. In brewing beer, there's no actual second fermentation occurring, except possibly after bottling (when the yeast consumes the additional sugar added to produce carbonation in the bottles). But after fermentation has finished, the beer is effectively done. There's no reason to add more yeast or more sugar. There's not even a reason to rack it to another vessel (even though most kits still include this as a step, for some reason).



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Old 09-11-2013, 06:04 PM   #3
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what about if you are going to dry hop?

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Old 09-11-2013, 06:07 PM   #4
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no reason*

* unless you're dry-hopping, aging on fruit, or bulk-aging for months-years

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Old 09-11-2013, 06:09 PM   #5
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thats great thanks for your help.

Oh, what about adding more sugar to the wort to boost alcohol content? will it work? iv read that it will but was looking for confirmation on it.

thanks again!

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Old 09-11-2013, 06:17 PM   #6
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You said you were a noob, so I didn't bother mentioning the dry hop/fruit/wood chip exemption for racking out of primary, but if you want to be precise, then yes, you can do so in such cases. But there's still no actual "fermentation" occurring at that point - you're simply separating the beer from the bulk of the yeast mass in order to extract the maximum flavour essence from whatever it is you're adding. Even then, I just add my fruit and dry hops right into the primary unless I'm planning on washing and re-using that yeast.

With regard to your other question, yes, adding additional sugar will indeed increase the resulting beer's ABV. It's adding more food for the yeast to eat. But do so during the boil, rather than after the yeast have already finished fermenting and are trying to sleep.

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Old 09-11-2013, 06:37 PM   #7
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I never bother going to secondary, even when I dry hop. I put pellet hops in one or more sanitized hop bags, tie some fishing line to it, and drop it in with the fishing line hanging out the top of the carboy so I can pull the bags out later. I also usually add some glass marbles to the bags to make sure they sink below the surface. And I do this even when I plan to reuse the yeast.

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Old 09-13-2013, 05:45 PM   #8
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Transferring to a secondary is not needed. That being said, the flavor of a beer that is secondaried will be a little different from one that used an extended primary. Extra contact with the yeast adds some subtle flavors. That is a reason one might consider a secondary - they prefer the flavor, and enough so to go through the bother of transfering. Other folks prefer the flavor of longer primaried beer (less work too!).

Neither method clears faster than the other. (it might be easier to avoid trub at bottling if a secondary is used - if one is concerned about that - I don't think it is a concern though)

The yeast cake is not needed for by-product clean up after primary fermentation is over. It is the yeast still in suspension that do the clean up.

Harvesting yeast is better with a secondary (quicker access to the yeast cake of the primary) as opposed to the yeast sitting there for 3-4 weeks before you can harvest it. Particularly if you want to get another batch going with the same yeast. Capturing the blow off actually gives you the best quality yeast if you can capture it in a sanitary way

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Old 09-13-2013, 05:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt_ferguson90 View Post
thats great thanks for your help.

Oh, what about adding more sugar to the wort to boost alcohol content? will it work? iv read that it will but was looking for confirmation on it.

thanks again!
You could add sugar to increase the alcohol content. But, it will change the beer. Depending on the amount it could make it very thin and dry.

The better route to making a higher ABV beer is to brew a kit/recipe that is designed for a higher alcohol content.


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