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Old 01-15-2009, 03:43 PM   #1
JohnnyO
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Default Noob Question on Transferring to Secondary

Hey Everyone. I had my first brew day this past Saturday. It was definitely a good time. A friend of mine brought over a six of an IPA he had brewed to share and provide wisdom and guidance.

We brewed a "Hop Head" double IPA from Midwest. We didn't have any glitches other than forgetting to take a gravity reading until after we had pitched the yeast. Oh well.

Anyway, I did have a question. All through the forums, I see people talking about how you should leave it in the Primary for atleast two weeks. My receipe calls for adding the dry hops in 5-7 days and to do so in the Secondary. Is this just so the beginning brewer doesn't lose interest or is it specific to this recipe? Should I add the dry hops this weekend as per the recipe or should I let it sit another week?

Thanks.

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Old 01-15-2009, 04:03 PM   #2
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When dry hopping, pretty much everybody uses a secondary. In many other cases where there are not excessively long bulk aging, dry hopping, or oaking, secondary is usually seen as an option.

As far as when to start dry hopping, you really want to make sure that the bulk of fermentation is finished. If there is still alot of activity, and CO2 being released by the yeasties, it will blow off all the hop aroma you get from dry hopping.

Hope this helps, good luck and welcome to the boards.

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Old 01-15-2009, 04:07 PM   #3
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If it were me, I'd let the beer sit in primary for 2 weeks, rack to secondary, dry hop for 7 days, and then bottle.

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Old 01-15-2009, 04:25 PM   #4
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I would think the recipe is saying to dry hop for 5-7days not 5-7 days into fermentation. That said, I agree with Beerthoven, 2 weeks primary then rack into secondary. 2 weeks is usually a minimum also, sometimes it's longer for me.

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Old 01-15-2009, 04:27 PM   #5
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Yea I followed the kits directions while brewing my first few beers and they all said 7-10 day primary which I followed. And I really should have waited even though none showed signs of movement in the air lock for days. But when I racked them to the secondary the cake on the bottom still had all kinds of movement when I got down to it. I now don't mess with the primary for at least two weeks or more. I really don't know why all the kits say 10 days only.

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Old 01-15-2009, 05:26 PM   #6
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10 days in primary is usually enough if you plan to secondary for two weeks. The thing is, it's not a hard and fast rule - only the hydrometer can tell you if it's actually ready. It must be checked to be sure final gravity has been reached before moving to secondary. I see too many folks posting that have followed the directions (many say 5-7 days) and transferred to secondary, only to find out afterward that their beer is not at final gravity and is not dropping any further. It's probably not going to finish completely if it's racked off the yeast before it's time.

IMO whether one chooses to secondary or not is personal preference of course, but either way there should be at least 3 weeks total between pitching and bottling (or kegging). I usually use a secondary, and my dry hopping is done for the last 7-10 days immediately prior to bottling. I think this helps preserve the hop aroma that is the main point of dry hopping.

I check the gravity after 10-12 days, and if it's down where it should be then I'll rack to secondary. After 5-7 days in secondary I add my dry hops, let it sit for 7-10 more then bottle. It works for me but it's certainly not the only way to do it.

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Old 01-15-2009, 05:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatGuyRyan View Post
Yea I followed the kits directions while brewing my first few beers and they all said 7-10 day primary which I followed. And I really should have waited even though none showed signs of movement in the air lock for days. But when I racked them to the secondary the cake on the bottom still had all kinds of movement when I got down to it. I now don't mess with the primary for at least two weeks or more. I really don't know why all the kits say 10 days only.
The kits say 7-10 days for a quick turn around. Quick turn arounds mean you will be buying kits more often.
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:57 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of the helpful responses! I figured it was just the minimum amount of time listed in the recipe, but just wanted to be sure.

I'm going to leave it in the Primary for at least another week.

Another question. About 15 hours after pitching, I had activity. I had very active activity for about 24 hours, and then it slowed to a halt. Is it advisable to give the primary one or two gentle swirls to stir up some activity, or should I just let sleeping dogs lie...

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Old 01-15-2009, 06:09 PM   #9
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Two to three weeks in primary and be sure fermentation is completed, then rack to secondary to dry hop. I wouldn't dry hop more than a week or so. So, if you intend to secondary for two weeks, wait until the last week to add your hops.

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Old 01-15-2009, 06:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyO View Post
Thanks for all of the helpful responses! I figured it was just the minimum amount of time listed in the recipe, but just wanted to be sure.

I'm going to leave it in the Primary for at least another week.

Another question. About 15 hours after pitching, I had activity. I had very active activity for about 24 hours, and then it slowed to a halt. Is it advisable to give the primary one or two gentle swirls to stir up some activity, or should I just let sleeping dogs lie...

What you have seen is perfectly normal. I wouldn't disturb it. Just let the yeasties do what it is that they do. They do it very well and usually get along just fine without our intervention.
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