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Old 10-06-2013, 07:02 PM   #1
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Default 6th batch in. Transfer/ Dry Hop questions?

Alright,

I have done some research on here and the world wide web and I am astounded by the multitude of answers for these 2 questions and why there isn't a clear cut answer. I guess it may be b/c it depends on how much money or equipment or time someone has and that is why you get the varied answers. But here are a few questions.

When to transfer my beer from a primary to a secondary?

- Some people say DON"T transfer. Some people say you should.
- Here is my take. I don't want to open up my beer to chances of oxidation but I also know that there is a small chance if you leave it on the yeast cake too long that some proteins will leach back into the beer and possible cause some off flavors.

- So I am on my 6th batch now and all the preivous batches have been just ok. So I did some research and we decided to step up our yeast and use some better water to hopefully make alittle better tasting beer. But I also thought that maybe transferring my beer from a primary to a secondary after just a week might have also affected my beer. No I know I am not being very scientific about this and only changing one variable but i assume if i change 3 and my beers improves drastically I know all 3 needed to be changed.

So I am doing a Centennial and cascade Hop IPA. With Northwest Yeast. We put 2 smack packs in the 5 gal batch of beer. There are still bubbling going on in the airlock every 30-45 sec. Its been exactly 7 days since we brewed and there is still a big yeast cake at the top


So here are some questions

- When if at all should I transfer to a secondary??

-I have heard people say 7 days, 2 weeks, Never, When the bubbling in air lock has stopped. When you reached your target SG. Also I have heard you should cold crash then transfer.

So what is the correct answer?

- I am leaning towards SG b/c thats the most scientific. So if that is the method I should take. Then how do you take samples of that to test with your hydrometer without opening your beer up to oxygen to take samples with your wine/beer thief or turkey baster( I have a 6.5 gallon glass carboy for primary)??

- do you use a rubber carboy cap and like put a racking cane and air lock in the 2 holes and then just keep racking out samples till your at a proper SG?? thats the only way I can think to do it without having to take the bung and airlock off and put your wine thief in over and over to get samples?

- maybe I am making this too difficult put hopefully someone can help me

-Should I read up on cold crashing and Do this?? I have a fermentation chamber so I definitely can do this if this is recommended.

- Now you may ask why am I racking to secondary. there are 3 reasons

- 1 reason is the kits usually tell me too after 7 days
- I wash the yeast to use it as starters
- I want to clear out my primary carboy so i can brew more. As I only have 1 6.5 carboy and I have 2 5 gallon carboys.

- Now i have no problem buying another carboy and never transferring to secondary again. But i just want to know what would be best for my beer.

- So hopefully I can get 1 solid answer on WHEN TO TRANSFER!!




- Next Question is when/how do you dry hop?

- After you have reached a certain SG or just have a certain amount of days or when is the proper time?
- I have heard 5-10 days before you transfer to secondary or before you bottle? When is the proper time to dry hop and usually how long?


- Also how do you dry hop in a glass carboy?

- i have always used a muslim bag with 1-2oz of hops in them and shoved them down in the carboy and they just usually float at the top of the beer.

- Should I put like a weight of some sort to get them down in the beer or anything or just sitting on top fine?
I don't want to give my beer a metal taste by putting some weight in the bag.
Looking for the best method for dry hoping in a carboy.


THANKS for answering my questions and clarifying some thing for me. Hopefully it will result in me making better beer.

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Old 10-06-2013, 07:35 PM   #2
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Lots of questions here so I will focus on the first one. "Secondary fermentation" is a misnomer, you are not fermenting it a second time unless you are adding more sugars to up abv but some tall beers require that. In the big business they call "bright tanks" what we call "secondary", used solely for making your beer clearer which for some home brewers are after. I have transferred to a new carboy, crash cooled, then used gelatine and have achieved clear as glass beer. But it would be pointless to do this to a wheat beer since by nature it will never clear. When doing lagers I always transfer after d-rest since I am going to be lagering for 8 more weeks. So while it is not necessary there are uses for it.

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Old 10-06-2013, 08:37 PM   #3
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I'm interested in hearing an answer to your dry hop questions, my next batch is going to be an IPA.

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Old 10-06-2013, 08:51 PM   #4
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Question 1: answer: whether you choose to rack or not to secondary you only move the beer once it has reached final gravity and the krausen has dropped. Do not move the beer off the yeast until FG.

This could be 7-10-14 days, yeast don't work by calendar so there is no definitive amount of time.

Auto lysis is somewhat of a myth in home brew because there is really not enough weight sitting on the yeast to cause it. This is a much larger concern in a commercial brewery.

There is nothing wrong with a long primary. Once the beer reaches final gravity allow it another week or toe to drop bright and clear.

Question 2: dry hop- you can dry hop in primary with no problem but if you want to wash your yeast it may be easier in secondary.

Opinions on duration will vary but I like 5-7 days. Once the beer is clear I dry hop for that duration and then package. You want to finish the dry hop and then package so you time the duration backwards from your bottling day.

As for bag or not, I just throw the hops in and use a filter over my racking cane to keep the debris out if the final product. If you use a lot of hops in a muslin bag in a Carboy it can be a b***ch to get it out as it swells quite a bit.

Just so you know, I don't secondary at all, everything is done in primary and most of my beers are packaged in 14/21 days on average

Hope that helps cheers!

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Old 10-06-2013, 11:10 PM   #5
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How about dry hopping with pellets, would you just dump those in the fermenter or use bags? I'm don't want a bunch of hop particles in my bottles.

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Old 10-06-2013, 11:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by autonomist3k
How about dry hopping with pellets, would you just dump those in the fermenter or use bags? I'm don't want a bunch of hop particles in my bottles.
Yup, I just toss those in too! If you put a hop bag/ nylons/ paint strainer bag over the racking cane when you transfer you filter everything out.
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:03 AM   #7
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It is not necessary to rack to secondary for normal beers. I always do as I always harvest the yeast (whether I re-use it or not). The longer the beer sits on the yeast, the more damaged it gets (pressure from the height of beer). I rack after 2 or 3 weeks, whenever is convienient. I pay no attention as to whether the beer has reached FG or not. After that amount of time, I'll be close, and as long as the beer has not been cold for a while before I rack, there will still be lots of yeast in suspension to finish it, if it is not already there.

Dry hop time is a personal issue. Some folks will not go over 3 days as they say it gives a grassy flavor. I try and just use pellets, I let them swim free, and leave them for 2 weeks. That gives them plenty of time to sink. I have never noticed any grassy flavor. For years I just racked normally after the hops had sunk, and had no problem. ...... but as you progress, you find things to fix that have never been a problem. Now I put a mesh bag over the end of the racking cane to eliminate the few hop particles that make it to the bottling bucket. XDry hop time is measured from the time you plan to bottle.

Cold crash. I've never done it. I do have a fridge I could put a carboy in if I wished, but have never seen the need. Seems like too much effort. Maybe I'll try someday.

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Old 10-07-2013, 05:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by autonomist3k View Post
How about dry hopping with pellets, would you just dump those in the fermenter or use bags? I'm don't want a bunch of hop particles in my bottles.
My take on dry hopping:

3 days before bottling/kegging. Boil some water. Take off heat and dump hopbag/hops into it. Let stand a couple minutes. Dump water and hopbag into fermenter.

The 3 day thing comes from recent research into dry hopping. Warmer beer temp means less time needed in fermenter. Colder = longer. But basically at say 18-22c 3 days should do it.

I typically dry hop in the keg and since it's near impossible to get the hop bag out of the keg once it's in there, I leave it in.

I used boiled water because I was paranoid about infections. A by-product of this method is I noticed less grassy flavour in the beer. I sometimes will stick the hops into a glass container with enough water to cover by an inch and leave it in the microwave for 5 min, ( or boil on the stove for 5 min) then dump into keg.

BTW, if you boil water in a microwave for 5 min then drop your hop bag with pellets into it, it will react vigourously.

"For the love of hops" is an interesting read. Just started reading it but it does have most of the latest research on hop flavour/aroma in it. Some of which flys in the face of previously excepted belief.
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:37 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the advice so far.

I got a lot of Questions answered but one I don't feel like was answered was this one.

OK. So if I decide to transfer I should wait till the beer has reached final gravity correct??

Now if that is the case. How do I keep testing the beer throughout its fermentation process without exposing it to a bunch of air? Or is lifting the bung and airlock off to stick my wine/beer thief in ever few days not going to be enough time to mess with the beer??

Is this where a Racking Cane and rubber carboy topper would come in handy so I could jut keep taking samples without opening the carboy up or not??

Thanks for your help!

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Old 10-08-2013, 05:51 PM   #10
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Wait until you expect the beer to be done. This takes a little experience because it will vary beer to beer based on conditions. When you think it is done, take a gravity reading. Three days later, take another. If they are the same it is likely done. (Watch out for a stuck fermentation, but it is LIKELY done.) If they are not the same, wait longer.

Edit: Don't worry too much about opening the carboy/bucket. You sit want to do it excessively, but opening it twice after pitching yeast for two readings is not that big of a deal.

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