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-   -   Fast fermenting - to secondary yet? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/fast-fermenting-secondary-yet-12789/)

neuron555 08-28-2006 03:08 PM

Fast fermenting - to secondary yet?
I have a chocolate bock in the primary and am planning on using a secondary fermenter for the first time. I pitched a dry ale yeast and it must have been a good one because I started seeing action within a couple hours. By the next morning the bubbles were continuous and it went furiously for 36 hours. Now it's down to 3 per minute after only 2 days. Should I still wait a week or should I go ahead and put it in the secondary?

the_bird 08-28-2006 03:18 PM

3 per minute is still an active fermentation. No reason in the world to rack early, it needs time to finish and it does the beer no harm to sit in the primary. Besides, the bubbles-per-minute approach is an extremely crude methodology to check fermentation process; you really need to take a gravity reading over the course of several days and see no change. But, there's no reason to even do this until the week is up.

Patience, my friend, patience is the greatest ally of great beer.

jcarson83 08-28-2006 03:24 PM

Once the krausen drops I rack to secondary. I just racked a stout to secondary yesterday and its still bubbling. You want to get it off those dead yeast cells before they start to break down.

the_bird 08-28-2006 03:36 PM

That doesn't happen for weeks, though, three weeks at a minumum. IMHO, the risks of a premature racking (a stalled ferment, for example) are much greater than the risks of picking up any off flavors from the yeast. Moreover, many will argue that the yeast, even after they are no longer actively fermenting the beer, are still scrubbing the other flavors in the brew (not sure if this is true or not, but it's a point of view).

In any case, the fermenation here is clearly not done, so racking to secondary right now would be a mistake.

Blender 08-28-2006 03:43 PM

Wait at least a week. Let the yeast finish their work. It will not hurt anything being in primary for a long time. Lots of brewers only do primary for a few weeks and then bottle or keg.

jcarson83 08-28-2006 03:43 PM

I agree that its not going to hurt anything to leave it be until about the 3 week mark. A lot of people on this forum move it to secondary as soon as the krausen drops though.

neuron555 08-28-2006 06:12 PM

Thanks. I'm going away for 8 days, so I'll be able to avoid the temptation to fool with it. The timing works out well, too. That should be just about when the next order of grain and hops arrives! ;)

the_bird 08-28-2006 06:14 PM

Perfect. Easiest way to be patient with your fermenting and bottle-conditioning brews is to have a new batch to play with!

johnsma22 08-28-2006 06:36 PM


Originally Posted by from John Palmer's "How to Brew"
As a final note on this subject, I should mention that by brewing with healthy yeast in a well-prepared wort, many experienced brewers, myself included, have been able to leave a beer in the primary fermenter for several months without any evidence of autolysis. Autolysis is not inevitable, but it is lurking.

Here is a direct quote from John Palmer's book, "How to Brew", on the subject of autolysis. Autolysis is what happens when yeast cells die and the cell walls break down and rupture, releasing off flavors into the beer. This takes a very long time. This is not what is occurring in the few weeks after pitching, when the yeast goes dormant and flocculates to the bottom of the primary fermenter.

jcarson83 08-28-2006 07:30 PM

What about other sediments? Do these begin to break down earlier, or is it ok as long as they don't have access to o2?

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