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Old 05-11-2009, 01:33 AM   #11
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I have a question about secondary racking. So, if you wait until the Krausen has fallen and the yeast is done before transferring to your secondary isn't there a risk of your beer oxidizing from no yeast to work with? Or will there still be enough yeast to do it's job? Additionally if you are waiting to transfer to a secondary how long/how do you determine when you are done with your secondary before bottling?

And the term racking only refers to the bucket you transfer to with your priming sugar for bottling, not primary to secondary, correct?
1. So, if you wait until the Krausen has fallen and the yeast is done before transferring to your secondary isn't there a risk of your beer oxidizing from no yeast to work with?

ANSWER: No. Oxidizing comes from splashing your brew during racking (transfer).

2. Or will there still be enough yeast to do it's job?

ANSWER: There's always enough yeast in suspension to continue it's job. Of course, if you leave a brew in a carboy for a year or so you'd probably have to add some.

3. Additionally if you are waiting to transfer to a secondary how long/how do you determine when you are done with your secondary before bottling?

ANSWER: First off, make sure you know the attenuation of your yeast. Most yeasts are in the 75% range so I use that for all my beers. Taking your OG divide it by 4 and your left with your potential FG. Once your brew has reached the FG reading it's beer. From there you can rack it to the secondary. The term "secondary fermentation" is a misnomer. There is generally no second fermentation taking place. It is more correctly called a "clearing tank". The time it spends in there is dependent upon the brew itself and the yeast falling out of suspension. Many brewers will "cold crash", meaning put their carboys in a fridge and let the cold drop the yeast out of suspension overnight then rack to a botting bucket or keg.

4. And the term racking only refers to the bucket you transfer to with your priming sugar for bottling, not primary to secondary, correct?

ANSWER: As you should have deduced by now the term actually means to "transfer". It dosn't matter when or from where. So, no, you were incorrect.

That should have set you pretty much straight for a couple of minutes any way.
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Old 05-11-2009, 02:03 AM   #12
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2 weeks primary. 1-2 weeks secondary. Always. Thats the answer dude!

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Old 05-11-2009, 03:14 AM   #13
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Or 3-4 weeks in the primary, and no secondary. (As Revvy will tell you).

There is no such thing as "always" with homebrewing, jackson_d!

Take, for example, a Barleywine or an Imperial IPA. 2 weeks primary and 2 weeks secondary is far too short for those.

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Old 05-11-2009, 05:43 AM   #14
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2 weeks primary. 1-2 weeks secondary. Always. Thats the answer dude!

That's guessing and hoping you're right...

Let the hydrometer tell you when the brew's ready.
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Old 05-11-2009, 07:12 AM   #15
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As for redistributing the yeast, if you open the bucket and stir with a spoon, you risk oxidising/contamiating. Leave the bucket closed and give the whole thing a gentle swirl. I do this twice a day (morning and night) after I see the air lock start to bubble less frequently, just for a few days. No oxygen is introduced and you don't worry about outside nasties getting in either, but the yeast are still kicked up and set free once more.

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Old 05-11-2009, 03:54 PM   #16
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Wits will form huge krausens and if you transfer a little early (which it sounds like you did), you will get a large second krausen.

dec- racking is transferring from one container to the next. A mead might be racked three or four times. As far as when to bottle, if you use a glass carboy, there will be a very obvious separation between the cleared beer (darker) and the un-cleared beer. Rack and bottle when all of the beer is clear.

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