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Old 12-31-2005, 11:27 PM   #1
jaytee
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Default Carboy Secondary Fermentation vs. Bottle Conditioning

The starter kit I got included the standard 2 5.5 gal plastic pails, tubing, etc. I have my first batch of IPA bubbling away in my primary. I needed more bottles so I went over to a friends to get some bottles from him. He had been doing some homebrew a few years ago, so he suggested that I use his carboy for a secondary fermentation.

The brew was originally going to be bottle conditioned: siphoned into bottling bucket with added priming sugar, and conditioned for a week or so before going into the fridge.

Can I just carefully siphon into carboy instead? Leave for 2 weeks, siphon into bottling bucket (with priming sugar), bottle.

If I use the carboy, I'm assuming I still need to let the priming sugar and yeasties do their thing to carbonate the brew.. Right?

Thanks in advance.

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Drinking Now = Oatmeal Stout

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Old 12-31-2005, 11:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaytee

Can I just carefully siphon into carboy instead? Leave for 2 weeks, siphon into bottling bucket (with priming sugar), bottle.


Thanks in advance.

Yes, do just that if you can. Just wait until the bubbling stops (or almost) and don't forget to put an airlock on the secondary...
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Old 01-01-2006, 02:10 AM   #3
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I can't tell from your post, but I assume you realize that you will still be bottle conditioning; add the priming sugar before you bottle, not when you rack. Again, I'm sure you know that, but I couldn't tell. But yes, doing a secondary will be good for your beer.

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Up next: Big Brew Off competition between me and Kaptain Karma as one team, and my two roommates as another--We'll be brewing Pale Ales with specifications on malts, hops, and total yeild to see who's version is better (and to end up with ten total gallons of great beer).
Also up soon: Belgian Dubbel
Primary: Grampa's Woodshed Apple Smoked Porter
Secondary: Zombiefoot California Common, Chocolate Strong Porter
Drinking: Seamus O'Drunkagan Irish Red, Humble Pie Imperial Stout, Capricorn IPA
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Old 01-01-2006, 02:34 AM   #4
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Like rewster alluded to without being condescending...we're not sure you know what you're talking about.

If you rack to a secondary it will definitely help your beer get clearer. Good info from your friend.

As for the priming sugar, you add that to the bottling bucket and rack (transfer) from the secondary into the bottling bucket when you are ready to bottle.

After you bottle you need to let it sit for a period of time, usually a week or two (depending on the ambient temperature) to "bottle condition". NOTE: If you are not kegging then you are bottle conditioning. Got it?

Other than that you seem to be on the right track!

HAPPY BREW YEAR!!!

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Old 01-01-2006, 03:36 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I will be priming and bottle conditioning after the secondary. It looks like I may be close to time to rack to secondary. The primary fermentation has slowed quite a bit.

Is there a set time to go secondary, or just 'when the primary fermentation has slowed quite a bit'?

Is there any trouble with letting it sit an extra day or so in primary 'just to make sure'?

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Old 01-01-2006, 03:50 PM   #6
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OK. It's good to know you are planning a secondary. We just didn't want you adding priming sugar to your secondary (that's that part were we thought you were going astray).

There is no set time to go to a secondary. Many of us just automatically do it after 1 week. Mostly to get the beer off of the yeast. You've seen those brewers recommending the 1-2-3 method (1 week primary, 2 weeks secondary, 3 weeks in the bottle) before.

The "making sure the primary fermentation has slowed down quite a bit" part is usually passed in a week.

You will not have any trouble letting it sit an extra day or 2.

Many of us will take a hydrometer reading (check gravity) to see how low the sugars have fermented out. If it's near the FG then it is a good idea to rack to the secondary. This period will allow your beer to clear and mellow some.

Take a gravity reading from the secondary. If it is within the range for the style then it's time to bottle. Here's where you add the priming sugar to the bottling bucket and then syphon the brew on top of it.

You may have noticed that I am one of the major backers of using a hydrometer? Many people don't use them. For the most part they are guessing their brew is done. Not that it's not mind you, but it is always a guess. My point is if you take a gravity reading then you will know it is within the range for the style and fermentation is complete.

If you bottle prior to the fermentation being complete, for example, bottle at 1.018 when your FG for the style is 1.010, then you throw more sugar on top of that at bottling time, well you can be fairly certain that you just made a batch of bottle grenades (they will explode).

Of course, over time you may be one of those that do/will not use it. It's all personal choice.

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Old 01-02-2006, 08:28 PM   #7
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Well... the primary had slowed to once every 2 minutes, so I decided to go to secondary. It has been 6 days, maybe this was too quick, but I'm a newbie

Anyway, I negelected to take a hydrometer reading initially but it read about 1.013 when I transfered it to secondary. It certainly smells like beer though

It's bubbbling away at a relatively slow rate now. I assume I should just ....wait.... about 2 weeks now for secondary to complete before bottling.

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Bottle Conditioning = none
Drinking Now = Oatmeal Stout

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Old 01-02-2006, 08:34 PM   #8
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That all sounds good. I may be in the minority on this one, but I don't set a specific time to when I bottle after racking. You certainly want to make sure that activity has stopped, but leaving it in there longer will make a clearer, more "mellowed" (i.e. the flavors will complement each other more) beer. I would stick to what HB said if you're in a hurry to drink them. Just wait until the FG reaches the point specified by the style.
As for bottling, three weeks is ideal, sometimes they'll be ready before then, and with really big beers, it will sometimes not reach it's potential for months.
Good luck, you're on the right track.

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Up next: Big Brew Off competition between me and Kaptain Karma as one team, and my two roommates as another--We'll be brewing Pale Ales with specifications on malts, hops, and total yeild to see who's version is better (and to end up with ten total gallons of great beer).
Also up soon: Belgian Dubbel
Primary: Grampa's Woodshed Apple Smoked Porter
Secondary: Zombiefoot California Common, Chocolate Strong Porter
Drinking: Seamus O'Drunkagan Irish Red, Humble Pie Imperial Stout, Capricorn IPA
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