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Old 02-28-2011, 05:42 PM   #1
Salukibrew
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Default Need Advice about Secondary Fermentation

Hello Fellow Brewers,

This is only my second batch of beer so I need some advice. Especially because the first batch somehow got infected and turned sour. Yesterday I brewed up a taste Aventinus Bavarian Dopplebock and got her in the carboy. I pitched the yeast at 75 degrees and this morning she is on her way with a vigorous fermentation. However this recepie calls for secondary fermentation after initial fermentation is complete (5-7 days). From what I have been told this is for greater flavor nuances and overall clarity of the beer. I have done some research and the process seems pretty straight forward. Just sanitize secondary vessel, siphon, and 3 piece airlock then plug it up and let it sit for another week or so.

Can anyone tell me if there is any special steps I am missing or any tricks of the trade that will help in this process. I guess I am gun shy to open my beer up to oxygenation and bacteria during this process because my last batch spoiled (i think do to poor sanitizing techniques which I have changed). I would very much like to try this technique because I want my beer to taste the best it possibly can however I don't want to ruin another batch. Also after I have racked to my secondary should I be expecting any more vigorous fermentation? Or will this just taper off to a very slow bubble?

The only process I have had trouble with up to this point was testing the OG. We extracted the wort before yeast pitching with thief and drained into graduated cylinder to cool to 60 degrees for testing. When 60 degrees was achieved we dropped triple scale hydrometer into wort and spun out all air bubbles. When hydrometer came to a rest we tried to take best reading at meniscus however the sugar levels at OG were reading extremely high. Almost at "table wine" levels. Was I just reading the hydrometer wrong? I think i must have been because we followed recepie and steps to a T and it was way off on reading. I think there was no way it could have been that high. Anyways more sugar means more alcohol I guess.

If anyone has any advice about these issues I would appreciate it.



Keep It Foamy,

Big Cypress Brewing

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Old 02-28-2011, 05:48 PM   #2
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I hope its ok to piggyback on this thread, I was about to post some questions about secondary fermentations as well but I figure it would keep things cleaner if I just add on. Hope that's ok...

I also am doing my first brew with a secondary fermentation. When is the appropriate time to transition from primary to secondary? Does the beer benefit from a longer primary vs a longer secondary? Does toying with the lengths offer any differences? I don't mind waiting a few months for this brew to be done, since its got a lot of ingredients and I feel its going to take a few months for it to really meld together into what I want it to be anyways.

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Old 02-28-2011, 05:54 PM   #3
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If you are moving your beer to secondary after 5-7 days you are not doing everything you can to make it taste the best it can. Most here recommend leaving it in Primary for 3-4 weeks to allow the yeast to clean up after itself.

You can leave in the primary the whole time and get really clear beer. I have a blond ale that I left in primary for almost 4 weeks now and it is very clear.

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Old 02-28-2011, 05:54 PM   #4
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First of all, a Dopplebock is a lager, and if you pitched a lager yeast strain at 75, and kept it there, you're going to have some funky off flavors. Lagers usually do need a secondary lagering stage, fermentation is basically done at this point.

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Old 02-28-2011, 05:55 PM   #5
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Well to start out I would leave it in the primary for a minimum of two weeks.

Fill the secondary vessel with sanitizer and siphon it out of the vessel with your autosiphon right before you tranfer the beer into it. That way you know the secondary is sanitized and the autosiphon is sanitized.

When siphoning the beer into the secondary, make sure the hose is to the bottom of the secondary vessel to minimize spashinging .

Also make sure the airlock and stopper are sanitized.

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Old 02-28-2011, 06:54 PM   #6
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Thanks all,

As far as my clone being a lager???? I am unsure of that. Its is Austin HB's clone of the Schnieder Aventinus. I believe it is very much like a dark heffe but is actually classified in the style of Weizenbock beers. As per the instructions from AHB they told me to allow the white labs Heffe 300 yeast to ferment in primary for 5-7 days at around 72-78 degrees F. Then they suggest to rack to secondary for another 5-7 also at same temp. My question is should I rack to secondary or just allow another week in the primary and let the yeast clean itself up??? Or do you believe that in this style of beer it might be appropriate for a slightly cloudy hue and yeasty flavoring?

Cheers!

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Old 02-28-2011, 08:21 PM   #7
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Optimum Fermentation Temperature for this yeast is : 68-72°F

That mean the ambient air temp should be 5-10 degrees below that.

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Old 02-28-2011, 08:36 PM   #8
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Hmmm, bock beers are lagers, usually of varying strengths and colors hence Maibock, Dopplebock, and so on.

A heffe yeast will produce a heffe beer. Pitching at mid 70's may be good for the heffe but if you have lager yeast as Deuce said "funky" flavors will abound.

This yeast is supposed to leave your beer "cloudy" so a secondary really should NOT be necessary but if you must then I would recommend that you secondary after the gravity has been stable 3 days in a row(take a reading once a day for three days). Heffe's usually do well when consumed fairly fresh out of the fermenter.

I have always left my beers in the fermenter for 3-4 weeks then straight to bottle and have never had any issues but that is just my experience.

Good luck and keep us updated!

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Old 02-28-2011, 10:29 PM   #9
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I am also a very new homebrewer, but have used a secondary fermenter on all six of my batches. I suppose it depends on the beer, but it seems like a very important aspect of fermentation process for all of the beers I've made.

also a side comment - I think you are quite courageous to do a dopplebock as you second beer! I would love to do one some day, but don't have the chops or the equipment (chest freezer I think is mandatory) for that yet.

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