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Old 01-29-2009, 04:37 PM   #1
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Default Can you secondary prematurely

at work and typing from a phone. don't have time to do a search, sorry. My hefe has been in the primary for 6 days and is still fermenting a little. I need the carboy that it is in (6.5 g). Am I going to hurt the beer by transferring to the secondary after only 6 days?

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Old 01-29-2009, 04:39 PM   #2
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You really shouldn't move it untill it is done. Use your hydrometer to see where its at.


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Old 01-29-2009, 04:51 PM   #3
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not trying to dismiss you, but can you please explain the reasoning behind that. thanks

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Old 01-29-2009, 04:52 PM   #4
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IF you want to brew again, get another bucket...Don't enforce your timetable on the yeasts...You're not in charge, they are. Leave them alone to do their jobs...Many of us leave our beer in primary for 3-4 weeks.

The yeasts are still doing their jobs if it is still fermenting...leave it be.

This is a game of patience, and your patience will be rewarded with great beer..if you push it you will be rewarded with mediocre beer...Even for a heffe, I would leave it in primary for a MINIMUM of 10 days...more likely 2 weeks.

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Old 01-29-2009, 04:54 PM   #5
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By transferring it during fermentation, you could are removing it from that nice yeast cake at the bottom of the fermenter. There is a possiblity that you could cause the fermentation to stop prematurely.

For a hefeweizen you don't need a secondary anyway.

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Old 01-29-2009, 08:04 PM   #6
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I have found this topic interesting myself. Based upon my understanding of yeast and flocculation, it really should not matter if you transfer the almost done beer off the cake. The yeast in the cake have clumped together for environmental protection because they have finished reproduction and fermentation, they have basically "gone dormant". They are just waiting around for more food and until it arrives, they are done.

The yeast that are still working are in solution and will get transferred with the beer into the secondary, where they will keep on working. I suppose an argument could be made that transferring the beer into the secondary could stress the yeast out causing them to flocculate and stop fermenting, but just some agitation really should have no affect, should actually help them out some.

As I see it, science seems to say it should not matter if you move it at this point. The dogma here seems to indicate you should not move it. Personally, I think you will be just fine moving it. I also have only been brewing for a year. Your call...

Let us know what you do and how it goes.

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Old 01-29-2009, 08:25 PM   #7
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IME, reality and experience beats theory every time.

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Old 01-29-2009, 08:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny View Post
IME, reality and experience beats theory every time.
+1 Oh guru one!!

I also back MY long primary experience up with a little Palmer.

Quote:
From How To Brew

The yeast have eaten most all of the easily fermentable sugars and now start to turn their attention elsewhere. The yeast start to work on the heavier sugars like maltotriose. Also, the yeast clean up some of the byproducts they produced during the fast-paced primary phase....

The fermentation of malt sugars into beer is a complicated biochemical process. It is more than just the conversion of sugar to alcohol, which can be regarded as the primary activity. Total fermentation is better defined as three phases, the Adaptation or Lagtime phase, the Primary or Attenuative phase and a Secondary or Conditioning phase. The yeast do not end Phase 2 before beginning Phase 3, the processes occur in parallel, but the conditioning processes occur more slowly. As the majority of simple sugars are consumed, more and more of the yeast will transition to eating the larger, more complex sugars and early yeast by-products. This is why beer (and wine) improves with age to a degree, as long as they are on the yeast. Beer that has been filtered or pasteurized will not benefit from aging....

The conditioning process is a function of the yeast. The vigorous, primary stage is over, the majority of the wort sugars have been converted to alcohol, and a lot of the yeast are going dormant; but there is still yeast activity. During the earlier phases, many different compounds were produced by the yeast in addition to ethanol and CO2, e.g., acetaldehyde, esters, amino acids, ketones- diacetyl, pentanedione, dimethyl sulfide, etc. Once the easy food is gone, the yeast start re-processing these by-products. Diacetyl and pentanedione are two ketones that have buttery and honey-like flavors. These compounds are considered flaws when present in large amounts and can cause flavor stability problems during storage. Acetaldehyde is an aldehyde that has a pronounced green apple smell and taste. It is an intermediate compound in the production of ethanol. The yeast reduce these compounds during the later stages of fermentation....

Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermentor for a total of 2-3 weeks...will provide time for the conditioning reactions and improve the beer. This extra time will also let more sediment settle out before bottling, resulting in a clearer beer and easier pouring. And, three weeks in the primary fermentor is usually not enough time for off-flavors to occur.
Since it's a hefe obviously 3-4 weeks is not needed, nor does it needs to be clear, BUT I'd still wait at least 10, but like I said earlier 14 days to let the yeasties do some more work.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny View Post
IME, reality and experience beats theory every time.
A lot of experienced home brewers transfer beer during the first week as well as virtually every commercial brewery. I agree with you but I don't think reality or experience answer any questions in this thread.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:41 PM   #10
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Just for fun, a Palmer quote actually relevant to the question asked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Palmer
The following is a general procedure for using a secondary fermentor.

Allow the Primary Fermentation stage to wind down. This will be 2 - 6 days (4 - 10 days for lagers) after pitching when the bubbling rate drops off dramatically to about 1-5 per minute. The krausen will have started to settle back into the beer.
Using a sanitized siphon (no sucking or splashing!), rack the beer off the trub into a another clean fermentor and affix an airlock. The beer should still be fairly cloudy with suspended yeast.
Racking from the primary may be done at any time after primary fermentation has more-or-less completed. (Although if it has been more than 3 weeks, you may as well bottle.) Most brewers will notice a brief increase in activity after racking, but then all activity may cease. This is very normal, it is not additional primary fermentation per se, but just dissolved carbon dioxide coming out of solution due to the disturbance. Fermentation (conditioning) is still taking place, so just leave it alone. A minimum useful time in the secondary fermentor is two weeks. Overly long times in the secondary (for light ales- more than 6 weeks) may require the addition of fresh yeast at bottling time for good carbonation. Always use the same strain as the original. This situation is usually not a concern. See the next chapter and the Recommended Reading Appendix for related information on lager brewing.
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