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Old 05-14-2008, 02:08 AM   #1
Big "A"
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Default 3rd AG; Secondary Ferment lengths

Hello all,
I am on my third AG batch. First was one of my staples a Rye Pale Ale then a Hoppy Honey Wheat then BM's Centennial Blonde.

Usually.....when I was doing PM's I would go from primary to secondary in 1 week then bottle after 1 week in secondary. the Rye ale was not clear at all after 1 week and is actually still showing signs of fermentation. The Dry hopping seemed to kick off a second fermentation. the Hoppy Wheat did the same thing a second Krausen and steady bubbles rising up the sides of the carboy.

What is the usual time in secondary for AG brews?
I usually just wait for some clarity but the Rye ale is still not nearly as clear as my PM batches.
Thanks in advance!!!

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Old 05-14-2008, 04:29 PM   #2
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The time is defined by your hydrometer. There is no 100% certain time. The only way to tell is by using a hydrometer.

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Old 05-14-2008, 04:36 PM   #3
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OK, so I think you are asking why your AG Rye beer is not as clear as your PM Rye beer?

Well, just in general, your rye will probably not clear as your other non-wheat beers have, it's not supposed to. You didn't mention what sort of yeast you used, but if you used a hefe, it will not settle like a typical ale yeast. There is also a lot more particulate matter in an AG brew than a PM brew, so it may not clear as much as your previous(PM) batches of this same beer.

I've also seen the hops have this same effect many times. Bottom line is, use the the hydrometer. If you're at or near your FG, bottle. If not, wait.

If you want more clarity, you can try cold crashing the secondary in a refer after you are sure fermentation is complete(hydro!).

Hope this helps.

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Old 05-14-2008, 09:14 PM   #4
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Yeah I was just kinda asking why it was not as clear. I usually check hygro readings before bottling. Both the Wheat and the rye began to actively ferment after dry hopping. the rye has begun to slow now after three days into the second week. It has cleared some. BTW I am not expecting them to be crystal clear when I go to bottle. The wheat I used a American Hefe so I know it won't clear. On the Rye I used East coast ale yeast.

Damn I need to go and soak off some labels

I sooooo need some more 1L flip tops!!

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Old 05-15-2008, 01:26 PM   #5
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First off, the term 'secondary' is a misnomer. In beermaking all the fermentation should be done before moving to the clearing tank. The process is the same for extract or AG brews. 1 week is more like a guideline, but waiting is better. If it appeared that the fermentation stopped, it's possible racking the beer caused it to start back up again. I've had that happen to me before.

With wheat beers I wouldn't even move to secondary at all, just dry hop in the primary when fermentation is done.

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Old 05-15-2008, 11:56 PM   #6
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My first AGs seem to be going at the same rate as my extracts were. I also agree with EvilTOJ that you should keep the beer in "first stage" when it's still actively fermenting. I judge fermentation by sight and then double check with hydrometer. Since you don't want to dump your hydrometer readings back in the beer....I also do a taste test too It usually winds up being less then a week before I rack to the carboy: but I would go longer if I wasn't hitting a final gravity. I've just put my first AG (oatmeal stout) in a korny...and it did seem to have less particulates then my other AG (steam ale). But the steam ale wound up being a bit more problematic because at first it wasn't fermenting much at all. I suspected that even though I tried making a starter....it was yeast that came from a kit that I had mail ordered. So I went over to my local shop and got a fresh batch of yeast. Also wasn't sure if it was aerated enough, so I also got an O2 tank kit. Sure enough, with fresh yeast and a little O2, it went pretty quick. The steam ale is now in a carboy clearing up.....tastes like beer now: but with all the stuff I played with for it (starters, yeast, etc) there is still quite some sediment forming on the bottom (but gravity is not changing much).

Short of getting a filtering system (which I've heard can effect the taste of your beer....as you're filtering out any particles: even ones adding to flavor), the only thing I add to my lighter ales is Irish Moss/ Whirlfloc tablets in the last few mins of boil. It is supposed to help finer particulates adhere and fall out of solution.

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Old 05-16-2008, 02:16 AM   #7
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Honestly it had appeared to stop....well up to like 45secs between airlock releases. Then after racking it just slowly started back up. Oh well it is looking good now. I'll take a reading on Monday then bottle if it is right.

Damn I still haven't removed the labels off those next three cases!!

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Old 05-16-2008, 03:16 AM   #8
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Bothering with a secondary fermenter with an ale is not necessary. It has been found by many on this forum that leaving the beer in the primary for 14 days is beneficial to clean up unwanted esters. When you move the beer off the primary yeast you have to wait longer yet for clean up because there are less yeast to do the job in the secondary. Don't rush it. Let the yeast work in the primary.

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