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Old 11-24-2008, 03:47 AM   #1
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Default (Wee Heavy) When to transfer to secondary fermenter?

Hi all,
I am new to the forums and also new to home brewing. Yesterday I brewed up my first beer batch ever. I decided to jump right into the AG due to my background in the sciences and chemistry. The beer I choose is a Scotch Irish Strong Ale (Wee Heavy). So far my only real mistake was in calulating how much water I needed for my sparge. I got 4 gallons of wort vs. 5 gallons as what should have been made. Not a huge deal.

So far I'm loving life. It's day two and the fermenting activity is going well. I'm getting some fairly agressive bubbling in my fermentation bucket. My strating gravity reading was 1.061. Today my reading was already 1.042. I'm pretty pleased with that. The specific gravity I'm trying to achieve is 1.018-1.030. I haven't found any good literature as to when to move my wort from my primary to my secondary fermenter. I got my recipe from BeerTools. It didn't have a whole lot of advice there. Just a list of ingredients and that was all.

When are most of you doing your transfer?

Will changing my batch size change my fermentation times?

Thanks all! I'm looking forward to posting updates to my brewing projects.

Cheers!

Joe



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Old 11-24-2008, 04:00 AM   #2
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WHOOOPS! I missed reading the FAQ about secondary fermenting. But any advice is appreciated. Thanks!



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Old 11-24-2008, 07:00 AM   #3
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For most beers, it's really not necessary to transfer to a secondary. I would say it's only important for high alcohol beers, or if you're doing a lot of dry hopping and want higher efficiency. So you should just leave it in the primary for 2-3 weeks, and then bottle directly. If you decide you do want to rack to secondary, you should still wait 2 weeks so you beer is on the yeast cake to clean up some of the byproducts of fermentation even if the gravity has dropped to what you want.

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Old 11-24-2008, 02:56 PM   #4
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The type of yeast you used is the biggest part of determining FG. Look at the standard attenuation on the package. Also, the mash temps play a role in the fermentability of the wort.

I actually would use a secondary on a wee heavy. I would go 14-21 days on primary and 7-14 days in secondary.

If you keep checking your gravity at your current rate you will have used up about a 6 pack's worth of beer by the time you bottle. Relax. Leave it alone until the day you are going to transfer it.

Also, why is your batch size different from planned? No matter what happened on the boil and sparge you should still end up with the exact same amount of wort in the fermenter. (Hint, if you boil off more than expected you top off with cold water.) Having a different batch size will mess with your malt balance and ibus.

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Old 11-24-2008, 03:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkade View Post
For most beers, it's really not necessary to transfer to a secondary. I would say it's only important for high alcohol beers, or if you're doing a lot of dry hopping and want higher efficiency.
What does skipping secondary have to do with efficiency?
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Old 11-24-2008, 06:46 PM   #6
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I think you're ok with just leaving it in the primary for three weeks and bottling. You're actually a little low on the OG for a Wee Heavy and you want to get down to at least 1.021 or so to be within style - otherwise if you only get to 1.030 like you say it's going to be cloying sweet. If the OG was higher, say 1.070 and up, I would do the secondary for a week or two.

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Old 11-24-2008, 06:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shay View Post
What does skipping secondary have to do with efficiency?
I should have been more clear. Efficiency with respect to extracting oils from the hops. If dry hopping in the primary, more hops are required to get the same effect because you ultimately lose some of your resins in the trub.
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Old 11-24-2008, 07:48 PM   #8
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Awesome! Thanks for the advice. I'm being paitent. I have noticed the action of the fermintation slowing down but it is still bubbling at about a bubble per every 9 seconds. I'm just going to relax and probably move to a secondary after Thanksgiving.

Cheers!!

Joe

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Old 12-02-2008, 03:11 AM   #9
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Well I've been patient. I have things now moved to my secondary fermenter. I had a FG reading of 1.010. I think things are going just fine. I'm going to give it a week or two then bottle.

Thanks!

Cheers!

Joe

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Old 03-18-2013, 05:34 PM   #10
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Default Time or Gravity?

So most sources say to leave it in the primary for a week or more before moving to a secondary, but that seems like a general guideline. However, I am wondering if this is really a factor of time or should it be based on the OG and the FG you want to achieve? (i.e. should you wait to hit a certain gravity before transferring to a secondary?)



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