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Old 07-01-2009, 01:23 AM   #1
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Default Gravity still a little higher than expected; ok to rack to secondary?

I brewed my Irish Red on the 25th and today(the 30th) I took a gravity reading. My SG was 1.054(Beersmith's expected SG was 1.059) and my reading today shows 1.019(Beersmith's expected FG is 1.010). I was hoping to rack to secondary on day 7 but should I wait a little longer to see if the gravity drops a bit more or does it even matter? I was originally planning to have it in primary for 7 days then in secondary for 14 then bottle it.

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Old 07-01-2009, 01:27 AM   #2
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I'd only rack once you're sure the fermentation is done. You don't even need to secondary unless you had planned something special. Waiting a few days won't hurt, check the gravity again tomorrow, and the next day and if its still 1.019 then you can move to secondary if you want.

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Old 07-01-2009, 01:29 AM   #3
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What kind of yeast did you use. Your beersmith may be off actually. That's a pretty high attenuation to 1.010. That'd be like 81%, and the average for most yeast is like 75%.

Anyways, I'd say give it a couple more days. Not knowing your yeast I think a FG of 1.014 would be more likely.

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Old 07-01-2009, 01:29 AM   #4
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I brewed my Irish Red on the 25th and today(the 30th) I took a gravity reading. My SG was 1.054(Beersmith's expected SG was 1.059) and my reading today shows 1.019(Beersmith's expected FG is 1.010). I was hoping to rack to secondary on day 7 but should I wait a little longer to see if the gravity drops a bit more or does it even matter? I was originally planning to have it in primary for 7 days then in secondary for 14 then bottle it.
Wait until the fermentation is finished. Check the SG again in two days. If it's still at 1.019, that's a little high, but it probably won't go any lower. If it doesn't move at all, you can rack it. If it goes down, leave it until it doesn't lower any more before racking it. The FG depends on several things- the recipe and the amount of unfermentables, the temperature, the pitching rate, the health of the yeast, and the yeast strain. Beersmith gives you an estimate, based on the expected attenuation. But in real life, it can be different than expected. If you tell us what yeast strain you're using, and give us the recipe, most of us can predict a pretty realistic FG for you!
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Old 07-01-2009, 04:11 AM   #5
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I used SafAle English Ale DCL Yeast S-04; did Beersmith just not correctly measure my FG? I just noticed that the attenuation on the package says 75% actually haha

I'm only racking to secondary to clear the beer a bit more(I know most of you guys say you don't need it though!); I'm just being really anal I suppose.

EDIT: Weird, I just noticed my first batch was .05 points lower on it's SG too and ended with the exact same difference between SG and FG. Coincidence I know because they weren't the same yeast or recipe.

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Old 07-01-2009, 11:46 AM   #6
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I'm just being really anal I suppose.


Ah yea!! Perhaps, I'm more of a set it and forget it type brewer. If you are dead set on doing secondaries, you could split the 21 days in half, say at 10 and 11. This way you would be less apt to be racking early.
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Old 07-01-2009, 01:39 PM   #7
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I typically rack to a bright (secondary is a bit of a misnomer) after about 14 days, even if the beer is "done" after 3 days. The yeast still has time to clean up on the yeast bed and a week to 10 days in the bright is enough to get extremely clear beer.

Porters, Stouts or beers that do not need to be "clear", I just leave in the primary for 3-4 weeks.

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Old 07-01-2009, 02:33 PM   #8
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For a beer of that OG, I'd leave it AT LEAST 2 weeks on the cake and probably do 3 unless I need a really quick turnaround. From there, I'd just crash cool for a few days, transfer to a bottling bucket and bottle away!

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Old 07-01-2009, 02:44 PM   #9
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If the gravity is still high, why do you want to rack over? If it is not there yet, then that means it's not finished fermenting yet. So you don't want to get it off the yeast yet.

The secondary is for clearing and you move it to that vessel AFTER fermentation is completed.

And even if it hits the grav mark quickly the yeast still have a lot of work left to do, they like to clean up the byproducts of fermentation, that can lead to off flavors....So rather than limit the number of yeast to do that job, leaving it a few days more, let's the optimum amount do their job.

Even Palmer talks about this in How To Brew;

Quote:
Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermentor for a total of 2-3 weeks (instead of just the one week most kits recommend), 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.
That's why many of us leave our beers in primary for a month, OR wait 14 days before racking to a secondary anyway...Many of us don't even use secondary unless we are dry hopping or adding oak or fruit to the beer, instead we opt for 3-4 weeks in primary, then bottle.

that way we give our yeast plenty of time to do their thing....there is abosolutely no harm in waiting...in fact your beer will thank you for it....

We forget this simple fact...We are not making koolaid, or chocolate quick, just stirring in and having instant gratification...when you pitch yeast, you are dealing with living micro-organisms...and they have their own timetable, and their own agenda...and it usually is different from ours.

In Mr Wizard's colum in BYO this month he made an interesting analogy about brewing and baking....He said that egg timers are all well and good in the baking process but they only provide a "rule of thumb" as to when something is ready...recipes, oven types, heck even atmospheric conditions, STILL have more bearing on when a cake is ready than the time it says it will be done in the cook book. You STILL have to stick a toothpick in the center and pull it out to see if truly the cake is ready.....otherwise you may end up with a raw cake....

Not too different from our beers....We can have a rough idea when our beer is ready (or use something silly like the 1-2-3 rule (which doesn't factor in things like yeast lag time or even ambient temp during fermentation) and do things to our beer willy nilly....but unless we actually stick "our toothpick" (the hydrometer) in and let it tell us when the yeasties are finished...we too can "f" our beer up.
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:05 PM   #10
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Alrighty then, sounds like I'll leave it in primary another week just to be safe. My kit beer was in primary for 17 days and by the time I'm able to get to bottle it will have been in secondary for 8.

I'll just flip my original plan to go 7 in primary and 14 in secondary.

My question might be moot anyway if it's still fermenting since I'd have to wait regardless of the initial plan. Beersmith calculates my attenuation to only be 63.6% if the FG actually ends up to be 1.019 so I'm hoping it keeps going.

As always, thanks for the advice; I sure as hell need it since this is my first recipe that I've made and only my second beer brewed.

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