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Old 12-16-2012, 04:54 PM   #1
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Default Is my secondary too cold?

Hi, my beer is in the secondary now. The primary was at about 70°F so I wanted to do the secondary a bit cooler. Since I am more concerned at this point about large temperature swings I have it in a room which is a pretty stable between 55 and 60°F. My question is will this be too low and crash all the yeast therefore I may risk getting no carbonation when I bottle.

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Old 12-16-2012, 05:25 PM   #2
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You are backwords, Your primary should be colder,
I do primary in the low 60s abient temp. I try to keep my beer at about 65 during fermentation.
When I do secondary, I keep it at about 70 degs or so unless I am cold crashing.
There will still be enough yeast in suspension, even after cold crashing for carbonation.

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Old 12-18-2012, 04:23 PM   #3
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So is my secondary (50°F) too cold for the beer to actually "condition"?

People say secondary will convert off-flavours to non-off-flavours.....but my hydrometer samples didn't taste off to me, unless these off flavours are too subtle for my palate!

What temperature is cold crash usually peformed at?

These are my hopes and plans...I'm hoping that 50°F is fine for my secondary conditioning and clearing. I will bottle and store for 2 weeks at 65-70 for carbonation then a further 1-2 weeks at cellar temps (50°F) before popping them in the fridge for a day prior to drinking.

If the 50°F in the secondary was not warm enough to condition then it will just condition in the bottle instead....are there any down sides to bottle conditioning versus secondary conditioning?

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Old 12-18-2012, 04:42 PM   #4
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I do not believe secondary in particular does that. Aging over time helps to reduce any off flavors. I would bring your secondary back to 70 personally.

I cold crash in my fridge, so upper 30s low 40s.

For proper carbonation, it is common practice to let sit at 70 degrees for 3 weeks minimum. Colder temps will cause the carb process to take longer.

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Old 12-18-2012, 04:43 PM   #5
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As stated, your process is somewhat backwards and your plans for carbonating and conditioning a little off.

Most ales like to be fermented in the mid to low 60's, not 70+. IF off flavors develop the best place for the beer to be is in primary, not secondary as it is the yeast that helps clean up the beer. Once in secondary there is little yeast left to handle this. (Most people do not even recommend secondary, just longer primary time.)

If you elect to use a secondary, the beer should not be racked until final gravity has been reached and off flavors have been cleaned up.

Moving forward.............the temperature of the secondary is really not a concern as the beer is done fermenting. If you want to cold crash, anything less than 50F is fine as long as it's not freezing

For bottling you want the bottles to remain at 70+ until they are fully carbonated, then cellar/fridge. Carbonating can take a minimum of 3 weeks, some take longer. If you keep the bottles too cold they will take forever!

Read this:http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/bottling-tips-homebrewer-94812/

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Old 12-18-2012, 05:00 PM   #6
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since there's no actual fermentation occurring in a secondary, it's temperature isn't really critical. there's no too cold (til freezing), but its always better to age beer cooler than warmer. leave it where you got it

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Old 12-18-2012, 05:17 PM   #7
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next time, do your primary in the basement

this time, it's fine. you'll have plenty of yeast to carb up the beer when you decide to bottle

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Old 12-18-2012, 05:28 PM   #8
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Thanks folks. Its good for me to talk this out with you all.

OK, so I know that carbonation needs to occur at ~65-70°F (nice yeast temps to eat up the sugar and make CO2) and takes ~3 weeks, i'm down with that.

Twistr25: Isnt "X" weeks in a seconday considered "time"? therefore aging is taking place...? Thanks for the cold crash temp info....at least i know im not in cold crash mode at 50°F.

Duboman: Maybe, but the yeast packet did say 68-70°F, i did not go over 70. Im dry hopping so decided to do a secondary, but with batches not requiring dry hop i will definately take your advice and leave it in primary. Gravity was constant, dont know about off flavours been cleaned up though...hard to tell that. If temp of secondary is not really a concern then im not really backwards then. OK so i wont go much below 40 if i ever do a proper cold crash, thanks.

dcp27: Thanks. I think I will.

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Old 12-18-2012, 06:57 PM   #9
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I was referring to the "People say secondary will convert off-flavours to non-off-flavours", Yes X weeks in secondary is time, but my point was it doesn't need to be in secondary to achieve that. Didn't know you dry hopped at the time, but that can also be done in primary. Bottle conditioning works just as well.

I assume you have very little head space in your secondary? Without being on the yeast cake CO2 production is greatly reduced and can increase the chance of oxidation. Bottle conditioning caps off the access from outside air and reduces those chances. But in the end, it's all each to their own.

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Old 12-18-2012, 07:28 PM   #10
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Ah gotcha, so long as its aging, which we all are, it is conditioning, just doesnt have to be in a secondary. I might use that with the wife....."honey, its OK, i'm just conditioning..!"

OK so fill me in on the yeast cake in the primary. Is it assumed that a layer of CO2 fills the headspace in the primary and does not escape through the airlock and that O2 can not go the other way....? I do have a fair amount of headspace currently in my secondary so now im worried.

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