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Old 07-03-2007, 02:45 AM   #1
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Default No Krausen...Bad or Okay?

Hey all!

I just racked my first brew to my secondary fermenter yesterday and I was a bit worried when I popped open the lid to my primary. There wasn't any krausen at the top. None. The hops stuck to the sides and I don't recall seeing anything that resembled mold. I'm just kind of shocked that there wasn't any a bit of foam at the top. It sat in the primary for 7 days.

On the 2nd day after the brew there was a ton of activity in the air lock so I'm guessing it fermented, just fast. There was, however, a ton of sediment at the bottom. I proceeded to rack to my carboy to start it's second fermentation. That was this Sunday (1 Jul). It's only Monday and there's a now a new layer of sediment on the bottom of the carboy. Is this normal? I'm just wanna make sure that my yeast didn't all die and fall to the bottom.

It's a Flat Tire Ale (New Belgium Fat Tire). I'm not sure if that gives any insight. It smelled so good when I racked it though. I just don't want to have a 5 gallon glass jug of good smelling water. Any advice?

Thanks!
Lou

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Old 07-03-2007, 03:22 AM   #2
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No krausen after 5 days isn't (in and of itself) a problem. Racking a beer after 5 days without knowing the SG is more of a concern. Did you check the gravity?

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Old 07-03-2007, 03:29 AM   #3
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the krausen doesn't last...its only there during the rise and peak of fermentation. that ring of residue is what it left behind when it subsided.

general rule of thumb, always let a beer go at least a week in primary. two weeks in secondary, and 3 weeks in the bottle before you can really call it 'done'. it'll still improve a bit with age, some styles more than others.

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Old 07-03-2007, 03:41 AM   #4
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I did take a gravity reading when I put it into the primary. The SG was 1.041. I did let it set in the primary for 7 days. Sorry for the typo above. I brewed last Sunday and racked this Sunday.

I was hopping the ring was the residual from the krausen collapsing. I'm kicking my self in the a$$ for not using a carboy for the primary so I could at least watch it. I used the plastic pale.

So 2 weeks in the secondary huh? I was only gonna keep it in there for a week too.

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Old 07-03-2007, 12:29 PM   #5
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A week in the primary is always a good idea- but you should always check the s.g. before transferring it to secondary just to make sure fermentation was complete. It sounds like it was, but there's no way to know unless you actually check the sg. (By the way, how does it taste?)

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Old 07-03-2007, 12:35 PM   #6
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at that gravity i suppose it's possible it never formed krausen.... you should be ok, but always take final grav samples before you rack to make sure it's down where it should be... and yes sediment is normal in primary and secondary, in fact it's a good thing, just leave it behind when you rack...

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Old 07-03-2007, 02:34 PM   #7
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You are fine...trust me. I have never had a krausen last 7 days. The residual ring around the top of the liquid is evidence that it had formed and bubbles in the airlock tell you that, at some level or another, fermentation happened. Now, as others have mentioned you should check your gravity before transferring to secondary. Actually, you should check it the day before and the day of to make sure it holds a steady gravity.

As for the sediment on the bottom of the secondary, not only is that normal, that is the purpose. The "secondary fermentation" is not even what is sounds like, and honestly probably shouldnt even be called that. The purpose is to allow the yeast to finish cleaning up and fall out of suspension to help clear the beer and to age it. As this happens, yeast and other trub that was transfered will fall out of the beer and settle on the bottom...again, this is a good thing and perfectly, perfectly normal.

To me it sounds like everything went well, just let it sit for two weeks (at least, more wouldnt hurt), and then take a hydrometer reading, and bottle.

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Old 07-03-2007, 03:19 PM   #8
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So, if I understand this right, the beer should be done fermenting before I rack to my secondary?

I only thought you took an SG when you first transfer the wort to the primary, and then take the FG right before you rack to bottles (well, 3 times on 3 days) to ensure it's done fermenting before it's bottled.

Should I taste it right now? I figured it would still taste kind of bad. I had thought about stealing a sample to taste but figured it would have been horrible due to it still fermenting (but now I know it isn't really any more). It did smell delicious though!

Thanks for the help and support on this. The first batch seems to be a scariest one because you don't really know what's supposed to happen.

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Old 07-03-2007, 03:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrownAle4Me
So, if I understand this right, the beer should be done fermenting before I rack to my secondary?

I only thought you took an SG when you first transfer the wort to the primary, and then take the FG right before you rack to bottles (well, 3 times on 3 days) to ensure it's done fermenting before it's bottled.

Should I taste it right now? I figured it would still taste kind of bad. I had thought about stealing a sample to taste but figured it would have been horrible due to it still fermenting (but now I know it isn't really any more). It did smell delicious though!

Thanks for the help and support on this. The first batch seems to be a scariest one because you don't really know what's supposed to happen.
No, No, No... the whole thing with secondary is to give it time to clear after it has fermented, you don't want to move a beer before it's done, that can do damage in several areas... Take an SG, then take a reading after primary, rack to secondary, and when you go to bottle take another final reading.... Hey don't complain those are all tastes of your beer....

By all means taste it at different stages, it never tastes 'bad' per se but it won't taste right till it's carbonated... I always taste it going into primary, coming out of primary, and going into bottles...
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Old 07-03-2007, 03:49 PM   #10
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And you can taste it, too! I ALWAYS taste my beers and wines when I rack to secondary. After primary, it should taste like flat beer. It will get better, but it's a good indication of what you're going to get.

And the others are correct- your fermentation should be just about finished when you rack to secondary. It should be called the clearing tank as that is the purpose. I take the sg right before I rack (so if it's not done, it can sit a few more days) and then again right before I bottle. Sometimes it might drop a point or two in the clearing tank.

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