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Old 05-03-2012, 01:43 AM   #1
tryals15
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Default Questions About Fining in the Secondary

Hello all,

I've been lurking around here for awhile, but just recently signed up.

I have a question about bottling a brew I have in primary. I have about 5.5 gallons of a big winter porter (should land around 9.2% ABV). My understanding is that I am going to leave it in primary for at least 2-3 weeks, and then rack to a secondary to bulk condition for 3-4 weeks.

I would like to have a refined looking beer. I had intended to use some irish moss, but I forgot to add it in the boil.


My question is in several parts.

1. Is there anything I can do (I've read some about gelatin as a fining agent) to clear the beer in the secondary?

2. Will using gelatin (or otherwise) effect the flavor/color of the beer?

3. My local brew shop guy suggested I repitch before bottling. Should I do that? And if I were to do that would it negate any efforts I make to clear the beer?

Whew. A lot of questions, I know. Thanks in advance for the help!



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Old 05-03-2012, 05:29 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tryals15 View Post
Hello all,

I've been lurking around here for awhile, but just recently signed up.

I have a question about bottling a brew I have in primary. I have about 5.5 gallons of a big winter porter (should land around 9.2% ABV). My understanding is that I am going to leave it in primary for at least 2-3 weeks, and then rack to a secondary to bulk condition for 3-4 weeks.

I would like to have a refined looking beer. I had intended to use some irish moss, but I forgot to add it in the boil.


My question is in several parts.

1. Is there anything I can do (I've read some about gelatin as a fining agent) to clear the beer in the secondary?

2. Will using gelatin (or otherwise) effect the flavor/color of the beer?

3. My local brew shop guy suggested I repitch before bottling. Should I do that? And if I were to do that would it negate any efforts I make to clear the beer?

Whew. A lot of questions, I know. Thanks in advance for the help!
Welcome to the group...I personally wouldnt use any of that crap, but thats just me! The beer process (as you may know) is that beer goes through its primary fermentation process within 2 to 6 days, after that it starts to condition itself by cleaning up by products...so by week 3 you should have clear beer...now because you are brewing a porter and would like for the flavors to change with a little more aging, thats why you would bulk age....summary, your beer will be fine if you do 3 weeks primary and then bulk condition for 3 to 4 weeks.


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Old 05-04-2012, 02:23 AM   #3
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So are you saying I shouldn't re-pitch either? I'm still pretty new at this...

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Old 05-04-2012, 02:39 AM   #4
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Well thats a loaded question...if you accurately pitched the correct amount of yeast from the beginning then there is no point to re-pitch....however if you didnt pitch enough yeast, then yes adding more would finish the fermentation process and would allow the beer to start conditioning.
Since you are new, I would imagine you purchased an extract kit...in general they give you what you need, not more, not less....irish moss will give you clear beer, but so will conditioning beer...so leave your beer in the primary for 3 weeks and it will be clear...your worse case scenario is that your beer is cloudy, is that really worth adding a bunch of crap or re-pitching yeast out of a hunch? Leave your beer alone for 3 weeks, take a gravity reading, look at its clarity...if you dont like it at this time, then take action...but not before!

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Old 05-04-2012, 01:32 PM   #5
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I am actually using a recipe I Frankensteined from several other's I found online. I showed it to my LHBS guy and he helped me tweak it. I wasn't going to re-pitch; it was his recommendation to do so...

My OG was 1.080, FG is supposed to land right around 1.025. Last night the SG was 1.029.

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Old 05-04-2012, 01:43 PM   #6
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Did you use dry yeast or liquid? How much did you pitch? You shouldn't need to repitch if you initially pitched the proper amount. The number of yeast in suspension even after conditioning should be fine for carbonation.

As for clearing agents, I clear all my brews with gelatin in the keg. There is never any flavor and all it does it help remove the stuff that didn't clear while fermenting/aging. I only do about 2-3 weeks in primary, cold crash for 2-3 days and then keg. My beer is always super clear after a few weeks in the keg when fully carbed and ready to drink.

To answer your question, no, in my experience gelatin and clearing agents like Irish Moss or Whirlflock (Which I use 1 or the other in every batch) offers no off flavors. It just helps to clear.

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Old 05-04-2012, 04:47 PM   #7
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I wouldn't do any of the three.
Its a porter...its dark... you can't see through it whether you use finings or not...so why mess with it?

You typically only repitch at bottling for a lager that was lagered for an extended period, or for high gravity ales (like a barleywine that's over 12% abv and pushing 18%).

ales ferment fast, don't get lagered so there's normally no need to add more yeast provided you pitched enough at the beginning.

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Old 05-04-2012, 11:07 PM   #8
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I pitched the Wyeast (1742) straight into the wort. I've read since about using starter, but I didn't use any for this batch... Do you think I'll have enough yeast left to not have to repitch?

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Old 05-05-2012, 03:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tryals15
I pitched the Wyeast (1742) straight into the wort. I've read since about using starter, but I didn't use any for this batch... Do you think I'll have enough yeast left to not have to repitch?
Starters are always a great thing, however yeast in liquid form have really stepped up and increased the number of cells in a vial...which means you don't need s starter but it's never a bad idea to have one (especially in lagers).
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Old 05-06-2012, 02:43 AM   #10
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So I guess I'm leaning towards leaving it be for clarity, and not repitching. Is there any way I can make sure there is enough yeast when I get ready to bottle?



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