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Old 10-12-2012, 04:18 PM   #1
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Default To much head space in Secondary?

My IPA concoction has fermented for 3 weeks in the primary. Last night I transferred it to a secondary and added some hop pellets in hopes to add some flavor/aroma over the next week and then move to bottling. Im a bit worried now though because I lost some beer during a blowoff early in the fermentation. As you can see in the picture below I have a good amount of space in the top of the carboy. Should I cut my losses and get this bottled now to avoid any aeration, or do you think its safe to leave for another 5 days? This is my first 5 gallon brew, I'll just be happy if its drinkable.

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Old 10-12-2012, 04:51 PM   #2
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That's def too much head space for 5G of beer. A 5G carboy or better bottle would be the best choice for secondary. Or a 5G food grade pail,which would be easier to work with with it's wider openning.
Keep an eye on it,you may need to bottle if it so much as starts to look off.
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:01 PM   #3
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Aeration is not really the concern per say at this point. When you transfer from the primary, the CO2 blanket gets disrupted after fermentation. While in secondary, very little fermentation should be taking place, therefore that CO2 blanket will not reform and oxygen can re-permeate into the beer. Like uniondr said, keep a close eye on it and if you start seeing a film, different than the hop oils, may want to go ahead and bottle it.

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Old 10-12-2012, 05:44 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input. It is actually a 5g carboy, Im not quite sure how we lost so much. Union-When you say it starts to look "off" do you mean a layer of film as twistr mentioned? If not for film are there any other signs, and would it be to far gone once the film started?

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Old 10-12-2012, 06:34 PM   #5
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Shouldn't be too far gone if a film develops, you can always rack from underneath it. Unless you had bad sanitation procedures, I wouldn't expect it to look "off" necessarily, but if oxygen gets into it, the beer will have a stale taste and I think that's the bigger concern.

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Old 10-12-2012, 06:51 PM   #6
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You'll be fine. CO2 blanket will protect it. I have had beers with twice as much head space as that turn out great.

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Old 10-12-2012, 07:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WiscoMan View Post
You'll be fine. CO2 blanket will protect it. I have had beers with twice as much head space as that turn out great.
The problem is it won't have that blanket anymore since it is in secondary now. If it were still in primary it wouldn't be a big deal, but after racking it, a lot less likely it will return.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:09 PM   #8
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Did you say that is a 5gal that you are using as the secondary? if so it looks like you are about a gallon short

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Old 10-12-2012, 07:26 PM   #9
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for 5 days, you'll be fine. i wouldn't bulk-age it like that for several months, but for less than a week i suspect you'll be fine.

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Old 10-12-2012, 07:26 PM   #10
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I think our sanitation was pretty spot on. The biggest issue I had was cooling the wort after the boil. I didn't have enough ice and it took about 40min before I had it cooled down and poured into fermenter. Rookie mistake, I guess next time I need to double up on the ice. A few days into the fermentation the airlock had bubbled over and we lost a good amount of wort. We made a blowoff tube and left that on for about a week until the fermentation settled down.

Bottom line, I just don't want to risk leaving it in the carboy if its going to develop unwanted flavors. And if there is no visible way to tell that sounds like trouble. Maybe I'll just leave it for 3-4 days instead of 7.

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