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Old 04-10-2009, 04:03 PM   #1
Lateraliss
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Default It's been 5 days, should I transfer to secondary?

Well it's been 5 days, and the bubbles stopped at 3. I know that isn't a good way to measure if it's done fermenting, but I decided to quickly get a reading on my hydrometer. I guess I should explain what I'm brewing;

The recipe said Summer Beer, yet no fruit or fruity flavors were added:
4lbs light malt extract (Gold)
2 lbs Rice Syrup Solids
1/2 oz Hallertau hops for first flavoring
1/2 oz Saaz hops for second flavoring
1/4 oz of Saaz hops for aromatic
and I used a package of Coopers Pure Brewery Yeast 15g

This recipe came from Home Beermaking by William Moore, it came with my starter kit form Midwest Supplies.

In the very bad brewing instructions in this book, it says to transfer after 2-3 days, though i thought that was way too early. So now it's day 5, the hydrometer reads 1.10, which is where it's supposed to be I believe.

Should I transfer it and just let it sit in the secondary a little longer, or wait a full week?

On a side note, I noticed there is no foam at the top of the brew, but there seems to be a little crust. Is this normal, or did something go wrong?

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Old 04-10-2009, 04:07 PM   #2
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Crust is normal for a brew that is finished.
If the hydrometer reads 1.01(not 1.1?) it is finished fermenting.I'd leave it another week then transfer, tho.

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Old 04-10-2009, 04:08 PM   #3
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NO! Your yeast is not finished yet. It may have fermented the majority of sugars BUT it needs to take care of the leftovers, clean up its waste (off flavors) and start the clearing process. This process, at minimum, takes about 10 days.

Are you planning on racking to secondary? If so, at 10 days rack and wait another couple weeks. If you plan on going straight to bottle, leave it were it is for at least 3 weeks.

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Old 04-10-2009, 04:09 PM   #4
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Many folks here don't even secondary. I go a minimum of 2 weeks in primary and then transfer to secondary. You'll do your beer a favor by letting it sit a bit longer on the yeast cake and let the little guys clean up after themselves.

Krausen (the foam at the top) will rise when fermentation starts (usually) and then falls when it is finishing up (usually) so it's normal for you to not see any now since you're at or near your FG.

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Old 04-10-2009, 04:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lateraliss View Post
Well it's been 5 days, and the bubbles stopped at 3. I know that isn't a good way to measure if it's done fermenting, but I decided to quickly get a reading on my hydrometer. I guess I should explain what I'm brewing;

The recipe said Summer Beer, yet no fruit or fruity flavors were added:
4lbs light malt extract (Gold)
2 lbs Rice Syrup Solids
1/2 oz Hallertau hops for first flavoring
1/2 oz Saaz hops for second flavoring
1/4 oz of Saaz hops for aromatic
and I used a package of Coopers Pure Brewery Yeast 15g

This recipe came from Home Beermaking by William Moore, it came with my starter kit form Midwest Supplies.

In the very bad brewing instructions in this book, it says to transfer after 2-3 days, though i thought that was way too early. So now it's day 5, the hydrometer reads 1.10, which is where it's supposed to be I believe.

Should I transfer it and just let it sit in the secondary a little longer, or wait a full week?

On a side note, I noticed there is no foam at the top of the brew, but there seems to be a little crust. Is this normal, or did something go wrong?
First question I have is what is your intent for moving to a secondary? If it is because you were told to I don't think that is a good enough reason.

Many people, myself included leave the beer in the primary for both the primary fermentation and cleaning up that the yeasties need to do. This is a pretty light beer and may be done pretty soon, but it needs at least 3 weeks total where ever it resides.

As far as the crust, this is probably just some krausen that made it to the top or side and is caked on there. Your fine
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:12 PM   #6
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Keep it in the primary a little longer. Many folks on this board keep our brews in primary for 3 - 4 weeks before bottling. The yeast are done with their fevered pitch but now they are doing the clean up for you. 3 - 4 weeks in primary makes for a much better tasting beer in the bottle. No need to transfer to secondary if you don't want to...

Yup, your crust is normal. That is the remnants of the Krausen that happened when your yeast were working hard the first few days. It comes off easily with some oxyclean in your carboy when you have bottled the beer.

Have fun with brewing and be patient. Good things come to those who wait (especially good beer!)

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Old 04-10-2009, 04:14 PM   #7
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You will find that many of us leave our beers in primary for 3-4 weeks, skip secondary and bottle. Just search for the 10,000 threads under "long Primary" or "no secondary" and you will see all the resaons why we do it, and the explanations behind...There's at least one thread a day on the topic, so it's really not hard to find the discussion pretty much hashed to death.

As much as you are excited you will find that your beer will benefit from time on the yeast in primary...

If anything, if you insist on secondarying, wait till it's been in primary for ath leat 10 days...even better and even 2 weeks then secondary for another 2.

Though if you just go three to four weeks, you can skip secondary entirely and bottle.

You will find that a lot of us subscribe to Palmer's let the yeast clean up after itself" idea.

Quote:
From How to Brew;
Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermentor for a total of 2-3 weeks (instead of just the one week most canned kits recommend), will provide time for the conditioning reactions and improve the beer. This extra time will also let more sediment settle out before bottling, resulting in a clearer beer and easier pouring. And, three weeks in the primary fermentor is usually not enough time for off-flavors to occur....

...The fermentation of malt sugars into beer is a complicated biochemical process. It is more than just the conversion of sugar to alcohol, which can be regarded as the primary activity. Total fermentation is better defined as three phases, the Adaptation or Lagtime phase, the Primary or Attenuative phase and a Secondary or Conditioning phase. The yeast do not end Phase 2 before beginning Phase 3, the processes occur in parallel, but the conditioning processes occur more slowly. As the majority of simple sugars are consumed, more and more of the yeast will transition to eating the larger, more complex sugars and early yeast by-products. This is why beer (and wine) improves with age to a degree, as long as they are on the yeast. Beer that has been filtered or pasteurized will not benefit from aging.



The conditioning process is a function of the yeast. The vigorous, primary stage is over, the majority of the wort sugars have been converted to alcohol, and a lot of the yeast are going dormant; but there is still yeast activity. During the earlier phases, many different compounds were produced by the yeast in addition to ethanol and CO2, e.g., acetaldehyde, esters, amino acids, ketones- diacetyl, pentanedione, dimethyl sulfide, etc. Once the easy food is gone, the yeast start re-processing these by-products. Diacetyl and pentanedione are two ketones that have buttery and honey-like flavors. These compounds are considered flaws when present in large amounts and can cause flavor stability problems during storage. Acetaldehyde is an aldehyde that has a pronounced green apple smell and taste. It is an intermediate compound in the production of ethanol. The yeast reduce these compounds during the later stages of fermentation.

The yeast also produce an array of fusel alcohols during primary fermentation in addition to ethanol. Fusels are higher molecular weight alcohols that often give harsh solvent-like tastes to beer. During secondary fermentation, the yeast convert these alcohols to more pleasant tasting fruity esters. Warmer temperatures encourage ester production.....
This is NOT about secondary vessels, it's about the secondary phase of fermentation....the clean up phase. People often confuse the two.

I firmly believe that it is negated by rushing a beer from primary to secondary too soon...and it comes from a "fear the yeast" mentality from over 30 years ago, when there were limited amounts of yeast availbale, and it was usually hard crappy already weakened cakes.

Don't rush your beer....it will thank you for it.
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:19 PM   #8
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Ok, I'll hold off on transferring. This is the first batch I've made using extract, my first being an India Pale Ale from The Brew House, it was a kit that everything was already done except adding the yeast.

Actually boiling it yourself is so much more fun. I think I'll use a secondary for the first few batches at least to see how and what it does to the beer first hand and to see how much it clarifies it( also, because my friends have never drank anything other than piss colored, watered down beer their whole lives.)

Thanks for the quick replies, I don't know what I'd do without this place and you experienced brewers to guide me.

Edit: Does the secondary do much besides clarifying? I've never actually seen a beer left in primary compared to transferred. I mainly drink Micro Brews but admittedly know very little about the process. My only concern is that because of the lack of clarity I'll have a hard time getting my friends to drink them with me, cause they honestly think all beer should look like day old piss as well as taste like it.

And again thanks for the help

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Old 04-10-2009, 04:25 PM   #9
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I brewed 7 days ago and just checked my gravity. OG was 1.055 and when I just checked the FG was 1.012, my target is 1.010. Eventhough it is mostly done fermenting, I am going to wait until next thursday to transfer to secondary. I am adding apricot extract for a period of 5 days, that is the only reason I am using a secondary.

I've used a secondary jut for clarification reasons and it works quite well.

Brewing is your process, not ours. HbT has really good suggestions but always do what you want.

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Old 04-10-2009, 04:33 PM   #10
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I haven't used secondary for clarifying. I have found that 3 weeks in primary made my blonde ale and amber ale crystal clear.

I have used secondary for adding fruit to my beer. It worked very well for that! I have also heard of folks dry hopping in secondary but I haven't tried that one yet...

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