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Old 05-21-2008, 06:19 PM   #1
kjung
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Default First time brewing a high-gravity beer...secondary fermentation ?

As I posted in another thread, I had a near catastrophe fermenting my frst ever high-gravity beer. After my Saison started to ferment, I ALMOST blew the lid off of my fermenter (and subsequently learned about blow-off tubes).

I had read about doing a secondary fermentation, common to high-gravity Belgians, but I am now afraid of a TRUE explosion, being that my secondary is a 5 gal. glass carboy, and for now, I don't have a way to attach a blow-off tube.

Any suggestions, comments, ideas, etc. ???

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Old 05-21-2008, 06:35 PM   #2
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After fermentation is complete you transfer the beer to the secondary fermentor (carboy). The term secondary fermentor is confusing. I think it should be called the aging carboy or something like that.

Since your fermentation is complete all your beer will do there is age, mellow and clear. There should be no additional fermentation taking place, therefore no need for a blow-off tube!

You have no reason to worry, just make sure your beer is done fermenting before transferring.

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Old 05-21-2008, 06:41 PM   #3
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The article that I had read (Unfortuately, I don't remember WHERE I read it) mentioned that sometimes, with a high-gravity Belgian, you can add a second, different batch of yeast for a secondary fermentation.

Of course, I COULD be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that is what I read.

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Old 05-21-2008, 06:57 PM   #4
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Hmmmmmmm...not much of a Belgian guy, so I can't speak from experience. But for that to work one of two conditions will have to be true.

1) Add more fermentables so the yeast have something to eat.

2) The initial yeast did not ferment the beer to a sufficiently low gravity so something with a higher alcohol tolerance/fermentability can finish the job for you.

Maybe someone with more knowledge of Belgians can chime in.

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Old 05-21-2008, 09:13 PM   #5
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Let the beer ferment to completion before transferring to secondary (only your hydrometer can tell you for sure).

Your glass carboy with a regular airlock will be perfect for secondary aging (and you will want to let it stay there for as long as possible since it is a higher gravity brew; at least a couple months).

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