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Old 07-19-2006, 02:05 PM   #1
jkenvere
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Default Advice on Racking to Secondary

I started 2 kits, One is a Brew House Red Ale , the other a can of Coopers Real Ale. I started them on July 4th and the 6th. I racked both into 23l glass carbouys after 3 days and the SG dropped to 1.020 as per the instructions supplied from Spagnols. They are sitting in a room at 65-70 f slowly clearing with very few bubbles and about 3/4" sediment on bottom. I have been reading John Palmers on line book and he recomends Racking over to secondary to condition the beer in it's last couple of weeks. But what I'm not clear about, is how long should beer sit from start ( pitching yeast) to finish ( bottling) I am going away and won't be back untill Aug 6. My insticts tell me not to bottle early, this weekend is only 2 weeks, but if I leave it then I'm looking at 4 weeks. Is that to long? If I do leave it should I rack it to a secondary to get it off the dead yeast etc. DO I need to keep it real cold? I could take it to a walk in cooler, but that would be a bumpy ride.

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Old 07-19-2006, 02:21 PM   #2
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First of all, why'd you rack them to the carboys (presumably out of buckets) after only three days? Sounds like you already DID move to secondaries, but too early.

The general rule of thumb is one week in primary, two weeks in secondary, three weeks in the bottles. The primary can be stretched to perhaps two weeks (more than three, you run into issues with the yeast cake). Assuming, though, that the beer has finished 98% of its fermentation prior to moving it to the secondary, it can sit there for a while without issue.

If you have more carboys, I'd rack them again and not bottle until you came back. Since there ARE still bubbles, it's not done yet. Sounds to me like you took the beer off the initial yeast cake too soon, and now the ferment is happening much slower than it would have otherwise.

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Old 07-19-2006, 02:26 PM   #3
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Another two weeks won't be a problem, in fact, if the ales are still clearing it will make for a better product. A little cooler would be good, but 65-70 won't hurt it.

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Old 07-20-2006, 02:32 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replys, I was hoping I could wait. The reason I racked to glass so quickly was I made the mistake of following the included directions.. I should have known better as is with wine making ( doing that for 12 years) the directions are misleading. Here's what the instructions in the spagnols kit said that had me racking so soon.
DAY 3 to 5 SG 1.020 or lower. Secondary Fermentation,, bla bla bla rack to a glass carbouy. etc.
Well it was day 4 , the foam had gone away and the SG was 1.020.. so I did what I was told,, I felt it was a little to soon compared to making wine but this is my first time so I guess I should have read up on this first. So it would seem the best thing to do would be rack to a clean carboy, top up and put in a dark corner of the basement right? With wine you always add a dab of SO2 when you rack but from what I'm reading this is a bad thing right?

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Old 07-20-2006, 02:37 AM   #5
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I leave mine in the primary 7 days regardless of when they finish bubbling... then 2-3 weeks in the secondary

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Old 07-31-2006, 11:10 AM   #6
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The general rule of thumb is 1 week in the primary, but you shouldn't really run into any problems if you rack earlier, so long as the krausen has fallen. Although, I have found that one very important ingredient in good beer is patience.

Cheers!
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Primary: Honey Amber Ale
Secondary #1: Octane IPA
Secondary #2: Oatmeal Stout
Bottled/Drinking: American Amber Ale

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Old 07-31-2006, 11:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joker_x
...Although, I have found that one very important ingredient in good beer is patience.
Rick forgot to mention that this is one ingredient that most of us run short of from time to time.

Your beer will be fine - "it's more of a guideline, really."
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:16 AM   #8
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It's fine to rack anytime after the krausen has fallen - if this is on day three or four then that's just fine. I'd probably wait another day or too to let some more yeast settle out if I planned to leave it in the secondary for more than a month.. but if you're not going to be aging it long term then it'll be just fine. As others have stated the general rule is 1-2-3 as in 1 week primary, 2 weeks secondary, and 3 weeks in the bottle before drinking. Of course additional time in the secondary and bottles tends to make the beer better still. Like wine, beer also gets better with age assuming you haven't oxidized it (though you should aerate it when you pitch the yeast) or exposed it to light while it's aging/fermenting as light causes skunky beer (this is why brown bottles are good).

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Old 08-02-2006, 08:02 PM   #9
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I asked this question to my local homebrew shop and he recomended once the foam has receeded and your airlock has slowed to one or two bubbles per minutes you are ready to rack to the secondary. remain in the secondary until your gravity hasn't changed for three consecutive days and your yeast has settled then bottle.

This seems more static than simply using the 1 week 2 week meathod as this is arbitrary instead of scheduling it based on the fermentation of your beer.

As a rookie brewer I am not saying that this is the way to do it but wondering if what I am going by is incorrect or flawed in some way.

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Old 08-03-2006, 04:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Downstream_Brewer
I asked this question to my local homebrew shop and he recomended once the foam has receeded and your airlock has slowed to one or two bubbles per minutes you are ready to rack to the secondary. remain in the secondary until your gravity hasn't changed for three consecutive days and your yeast has settled then bottle.

This seems more static than simply using the 1 week 2 week meathod as this is arbitrary instead of scheduling it based on the fermentation of your beer.

As a rookie brewer I am not saying that this is the way to do it but wondering if what I am going by is incorrect or flawed in some way.
The case for not doing this is simple. Each time you open up your fermenter, you introduce a possibility, however small, of contaminating your beer. This late in the process, the risk is probably pretty small because very few microbes will be able to live in the alcohol.

The case for simply using a calendar and not worry about specific gravity is also simple. It works very reliably, and if you have the same day or days off from work, school or whatever, you can run a nice little rhythm from one week to the next.
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