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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Intro, A Couple of Questions
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:16 PM   #1
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Default Intro, A Couple of Questions

Hi Folks,

I've lurked on here for some time. Registered last month but this is my first post. Great site, thanks to all involved.

There is so much info out there on home brewing. I've watched many youtube vids, read hundreds of posts here and am reading the Palmer book. ... And I still end up with what are probably very dumb questions.

I did my first batch about three weeks ago, a True Brew IPA kit. It's now bottled and I'm watching the clock. A couple of days ago, I did my second batch, a True Brew Double IPA. It's in the fermenting bucket, bubbling like crazy.

Here's my questions:

This involved two cans of liquid extract, one hopped, one unhopped; plus two packages of "light" dried extract. Hop pellets were added along the way -- first Centennial, then after boiling, Willamette, Amarillo and another Centennial; then a Cascade in the last few minutes. (I have no idea what those terms mean.)

The kit includes an additional pack of Amarillo and Cascade. The instructions suggest opening the fermenter "3 days after fermentation has begun", and adding those pellets, then replacing lid and airlock. Bottling is suggested for 7 days after that dry hopping.

I've read a lot about "secondary fermentation" (well, I've read some). I have a 5 gallon carboy. I was thinking, first, I would leave it alone in the primary with the yeast, as mixed, longer than the "3 days after fermentation starts." Maybe a week? Two? Then, I was thinking of racking it into the carboy as a "secondary", and adding the additional hop pellets then. Then leave it in the secondary for another couple of weeks, before racking out into the bottling bucket for bottling.

1. Do you think there is anything to be gained by the above "variation' from the kit instructions?

2. Do you think there are additional risks involved in this variation?

Thanks so much for any guidance. I'm new at this. FWIW, I have a tap system in my basement Man Cave and have local craft beers on tap there, but hope to move to having my own homebrew on tap (using corny's etc).

Thanks!

Mark

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Old 01-04-2012, 06:24 PM   #2
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What "variation" are you talking about? The additional hops after fermentation has occurred? That's called dry hopping and it's pretty standard for IPAs.

But you don't need to dry hop in a secondary. Wait until fermentation is complete (shouldn't take longer than 7 days) and add your dry hops to your primary... no secondary required. But you do want to wait until fermentation has finished so the CO2 created by the yeasties doesn't "scrub" away the hop flavor/aroma.

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Old 01-04-2012, 06:24 PM   #3
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your plan is a better one, although you can still dry hop in the primary. you do open yourself up to infection and oxidation during a transfer but its been done millions of times without infections. i would say 3 weeks primary and dry hop for 7-14 days no matter which way you decide to go.

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Old 01-04-2012, 07:57 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. Reno eNVy, the variation I meant was (a) the longer time in the primary before drying hopping, (b) moving to a secondary for dry hopping, and (c) longer time in secondary before bottling (all as compared with the kit instructions).

The idea was that by letting it ferment longer in the primary, then moving to a secondary, I would already have gotten most of the fermentation, then the secondary would be for "clearing", and the flavoring from the dry hopping might be a wee bit better.

Then leaving it in the secondary would be easier and less risky without the "yeast cake" in the bottom?

akimbo78, I appreciate the response. I will be careful about oxidation, and I'm being extremely meticulous with cleaning and sanitizing.

Will report back, thanks!

Mark

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Old 01-04-2012, 08:56 PM   #5
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There is nothing risky about leaving your beer on the cake for a while. Off-flavors due to autolysis is a debunked myth on the homebrew level.

Myself and many others on here have left their beer on the yeast cake for extended periods with no issues. Personally, I've gone as long as 6 months

EDIT: And the hops won't be scrubbed out in the primary if fermentation is complete.

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Old 01-04-2012, 09:01 PM   #6
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Your way is better, but you actually don't need to rack to secondary to dry hop (adding hops after fermentation). You definitely want to wait 5-7 days after your FG is reached before adding the hops, though, because the CO2 being pushed out of the airlock will carry away the yummy aroma you're hoping to add.

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Old 01-04-2012, 09:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just-a-Guy View Post
...
This involved two cans of liquid extract, one hopped, one unhopped; plus two packages of "light" dried extract. Hop pellets were added along the way -- first Centennial, then after boiling, Willamette, Amarillo and another Centennial; then a Cascade in the last few minutes. (I have no idea what those terms mean.)
...
I'm not entirely sure what you're unclear about here, but it'd be great if we could help you to better understand things.

First off, if you weren't aware, all of those are different varieties of hops - different hops have different properties and different flavor and/or aroma profiles.

The earlier in the boil you add hops, the more it tends to contribute to simple bitterness (and the less to flavor).

With 30 minutes or so left in the boil, hop additions start to contribute increasingly more to the flavor profile and less to simple bitterness.

With 5 minutes or less left in the boil, you're adding mostly to the aroma of the beer, with a little to flavor and almost nothing to bitterness.

When you dry hop, you're only contributing to the aroma of the beer. This is why you wait until after fermentation is pretty much complete; if you dry-hopped before fermentation was done, all the CO2 that the fermenting beer gives off would tend to carry away the bulk of the aroma that the dry hops contribute.

Does any of that help, or is there something else you're looking for clarification on? And welcome to the obsession!
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reno_eNVy View Post
EDIT: And the hops won't be scrubbed out in the primary if fermentation is complete.
Thanks, Reno...but can I just ask what the above statement means? Based on the other comments, I'm guessing that means that the additional aroma (or flavor) from dry hopping won't be "pushed out" or lost, even in the primary, so long as fermentation is compete by the time you add them? So...there's nothing to be gained from moving to a secondary for that?



Quote:
Originally Posted by stratslinger View Post
I'm not entirely sure what you're unclear about here, but it'd be great if we could help you to better understand things.

First off, if you weren't aware, all of those are different varieties of hops - different hops have different properties and different flavor and/or aroma profiles.

The earlier in the boil you add hops, the more it tends to contribute to simple bitterness (and the less to flavor).

With 30 minutes or so left in the boil, hop additions start to contribute increasingly more to the flavor profile and less to simple bitterness.

With 5 minutes or less left in the boil, you're adding mostly to the aroma of the beer, with a little to flavor and almost nothing to bitterness.

When you dry hop, you're only contributing to the aroma of the beer. This is why you wait until after fermentation is pretty much complete; if you dry-hopped before fermentation was done, all the CO2 that the fermenting beer gives off would tend to carry away the bulk of the aroma that the dry hops contribute.

Does any of that help, or is there something else you're looking for clarification on? And welcome to the obsession!

That's very helpful, in understanding the roles that the hops play at various points. Thank you. I didn't know that.

I guess the other thing I was trying to get straight on is the role a secondary vessel might play in this. I realize there are various viewpoints on it. And I'm guessing at this point that the majority of people have a "shrug" response to it -- as in, maybe it's worth it, maybe not, but certainly not required at all. That and just making sure that waiting longer and adding the hop pellets to the secondary won't have any adverse consequences.

Maybe it's just the jitters... I'm excited to see how all this comes out.

Thanks for the warm welcome and help, guys.

Mark
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just-a-Guy

Thanks, Reno...but can I just ask what the above statement means? Based on the other comments, I'm guessing that means that the additional aroma (or flavor) from dry hopping won't be "pushed out" or lost, even in the primary, so long as fermentation is compete by the time you add them? So...there's nothing to be gained from moving to a secondary for that?
The need for a secondary is quite rare. When I worked at a brewery we dry-hopped in primary. "Secondary" was only used as a bright tank, or a vessel for crash-cooling. But that only took 24-48 hours.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:14 PM   #10
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Just-a-guy, your plan sounds solid. Go ahead and use a secondary to dry hop and get your beer off the yeast. It's your beer, do what you want. Like other guys have said, it won't hurt to leave your beer in the primary but if you want to rack to the secondary to get it off the trub go ahead. Sounds like you've done your homework, just pull the trigger.

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