Originally Posted by Kungpaodog
BobNQ: If you rack to secondary before fermentation is absolutely complete, say at 10 days, will this stall fermentation? It's not like there isn't any yeast in suspension to finish the job, and we know there will be enough yeast to carb later.
It can indeed stall the ferment, or at the very least slow it down to such an extent that it will take ages to drop that last couple of points.
But that's not the real concern. The real concern is giving enough time for the colony to clean up after themselves, to remetabolize some of the esters and other fermentation byproducts. For that you need the entire yeast cake. Thus I recommend leaving the beer on the cake for a few days after the ferment completes in terms of gravity.
If you have to rack in order to have an open fermenter, buy another Ale Pail, fer Crissake.
You're going to LHBS anyhow for ingredients, right?