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Old 02-18-2010, 02:16 AM   #1
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Default A few questions on my first batch (ferment time, clarity)

Hey all, this is my first batch and I want to make sure I'm on the right track. I tried to do my homework before brewing, but I have read so many different articles that my brain is getting frazzled. This is what I've done, maybe some of the pro's on here can give it a quick review and tell me where to adjust.

It's a Boulevard Wheat clone from a local brew shop. It was brewed on 2-7-10 using the provided dry yeast packet. I made a counterflow wort chiller (which brought the temp to 58*F), and then oxygenated with an O2 tank and fine airstone for about 30 seconds. OG was 1048. Primary fermented at 62*F until 2-11, when the bubbles were less than one per minute (as some websites recommended), then transferred to the secondary fermenter. I saved the entire yeast cake in 32oz sanitized bottle (did not know about washing yet, just saved it because I read you could reuse it). Checked gravity today, 2-17, with a reading of 1018.

The plans are to keg it into a 5 gal sankey keg I have, and force carbonate. I had planned to keg it this weekend, but after some more reading on here, I am thinking that may be too soon.

I have some questions.

1) Is it too soon to keg it?

2) When pulling a sample today for gravity testing, it still has quite a few particles floating. Small, but noticable. Will this settle to the bottom with another 1-2 weeks time? I was considering filtering, but would rather not since the beer it is supposed to replicate is an unfiltered wheat.

3) Is the yeast cake I saved still usable? Can I still follow the washing instructions and use it?

4) There is another yeast cake (1/2" or so) on the bottom of the secondary fermenter. Should I use this instead of the first one?

5) Being a sankey keg, to force carbonate, do I simply hook it up normally and kick the pressure up to the recommended psi for 3-4 days, and rock the keg now and then?

Thanks in advance for any advice. I have tried to read as much as possible, but with so many different methods out there, I just wanted to get some real life advice.

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Old 02-18-2010, 02:46 AM   #2
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first never rack till the FG has been reached. the yeast are still working. the longer you leave it on the yeast the more they can clean up after themselves and give you a better beer.

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1) Is it too soon to keg it?
has the SG stopped falling for more than 3 days in a row? if so you can now keg.

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2) When pulling a sample today for gravity testing, it still has quite a few particles floating. Small, but noticable. Will this settle to the bottom with another 1-2 weeks time? I was considering filtering, but would rather not since the beer it is supposed to replicate is an unfiltered wheat.
let your beer sit for as long as necessary for the floaters to sink and stay at the bottom.

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3) Is the yeast cake I saved still usable? Can I still follow the washing instructions and use it?
yes

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4) There is another yeast cake (1/2" or so) on the bottom of the secondary fermenter. Should I use this instead of the first one?
no use the one from the primary. the one in the secondary is the least flocculating yeast and wont compact well if you use them again.
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Old 02-18-2010, 02:49 AM   #3
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1. It might be too soon. What is the expected FG for the recipe? Without knowing if fermentation is done or not it's hard to say whether it's too soon or not.

2. Particles floating are fine, but since you only gave it 4-5 days in the primary before moving it to the secondary, there's a good chance it may not have been done completely fermenting, which would give you more floating particles.

3. The yeast cake is usable either way. Yeast eat as much as they can and then settle to the bottom. Whatever you have in there should be viable for a future batch if you wash/store them properly.

4. The yeast in secondary are still viable, but I wouldn't say they are the best to use. Stick to the ones the came out in the primary.

5. I don't know if there's any difference between a corny and sankey when it comes to carbing, but as long as it holds pressure, the process of force carbonation should be the same as far as I know.

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Old 02-18-2010, 04:23 AM   #4
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Thanks for the quick responses.

I knew I was overlooking something. Final gravity is supposed to be 1010-1014, so it's not quite there. I hadn't checked gravity until today. Are you saying I should have let it hit FG before transferring to the secondary?

Regarding the secondary, I only did it because I have read this helped to clarify the beer. After reading more on here, it seems like that may be unneccesary, possibly even slowing/hindering the fermenting.

One more question, when I transfered the wort into the primary fermenter, should I have left behind the remains of the finishing hops? I siphoned it through the counterflow chiller, which is 3/8" od copper, and then dumped in the remains it didn't pick up. Should I have tossed them out? I ask because the yeast cake I saved from the primary seems to have a green tint like the hops, and there were quite a bit of undissolved finishing hops.

The beer overall looks/smells/tastes great. Same color as the intended beer, and judging from a small sip, similar taste, but hoppier.

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Old 02-18-2010, 04:40 AM   #5
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Yes, you should wait for it to hit the FG before moving to secondary. Since you moved it early, it probably was still fermenting a bit. Not the end of the world, but not the best option, either.

Don't worry about transferring the trub into the fermenter. Some people siphon or filter it, while others dump the whole mess into the fermenter. Either way, you'll get good beer. If you want to save the yeast, then yes, it might make sense to be careful with your pouring, but otherwise it's fine.

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Old 02-18-2010, 04:24 PM   #6
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One more question, when I transfered the wort into the primary fermenter, should I have left behind the remains of the finishing hops? I siphoned it through the counterflow chiller, which is 3/8" od copper, and then dumped in the remains it didn't pick up. Should I have tossed them out? I ask because the yeast cake I saved from the primary seems to have a green tint like the hops, and there were quite a bit of undissolved finishing hops.
when transfering from the pot to the primary i whirlpool then siphon from the edge of the pot. after the boil wait about 5 minutes to let thing settle down then take your brew spoon and create a whirlpool, see how deep you can get it. then cover the pot and let sit for 10 minutes. then siphon, preferable auto siphon, from the very edge of the pot. most the break material and hops bits should stay in the middle of the pot.

now with that said research yeast washing. the yeast you got from the primary is "dirty" and needs to be cleaned of trub.
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