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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Oktoberfest - primary/secondary transfer timing question
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:13 PM   #1
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Default Oktoberfest - primary/secondary transfer timing question

I am in the process of making my first brew. I currently have 5 gallons of Oktoberfest on the 7th day of primary fermentation in my basement @ 60-64 degrees (depending on outside temp and how long I keep the window open for.

The percolation has ceased, or is now very slow as I did not see it occurring during the 10 minutes I watched it. The instructions indicate a window of 10-14 days for primary fermentation, but I am guessing that the slightly warmer than ideal temp may have sped the process up.

I will be out of town on days 13,14 and 15 of primary fermentation, which means I should move it to my carboy and begin to lager in the garage on day 12 or day 16. I know premature movement may create a negative effect, but would keeping it in there too long at 60 degrees also create a negative effect?

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Old 01-05-2013, 10:32 PM   #2
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Need to know what kind of yeast you're using. Do you have a hydrometer? Would be good to check the gravity - that's how you really know its done.

If you've used an ale yeast (you are fermenting at ale temps) then you need to do nothing. Just leave in the fermenter for the next 3 weeks or so and then bottle.

If you're using lager yeast, you have a different story. Are you planning to lager? I'm guessing no since it sounds like you have no temp control. You need to check for the presence of diacetyl, which tastes like butter (do a search here). If it's done fermenting and there is no diacetyl, I would rack it into a secondary and try to get it as cold as possible without freezing. I've never tried to ferment a lager at ale temps, but others have. Do a search on hybrid beer.

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Old 01-05-2013, 11:39 PM   #3
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Thank you for your response.

I have lager yeast and I will lager my beer for 4 weeks in my garage, it will be freezing temps here for a while longer so the garage hovers around 40. I have a hydrometer but I am not very adept at getting a good reading. Too many bubbles on top when I transferred from the pot to my primary so I took a best guess of 1.054. Instructions say OG range should be 1.052 - 1.056 and FG range 1.013 - 1.016.

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Old 01-06-2013, 12:21 AM   #4
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Sounds like you have a good plan. Get a hydrometer sample, take a reading and taste it to be sure there's no diacetyl. It's better to try than to guess. If you've hit your final gravity, rack it to the secondary and move it to the garage.

I agree, the warm fermentation has likely sped up the process and you will likely hit your final gravity before your trip. Don't lager it until you know it's done fermenting. If that means it's in there a few extra days, so be it.

When I take a sample for the hydrometer, I let it sit for a time to let most of the foam on top dissapate. When taking a final gravity readying, there will likely be bubbles that will stick to the hydrometer. Give the hyrometer a spin and let it bounce a few times and take a reading as soon as it stops bouncing. Take 2 or 3 readings to see if they are the same. Be sure to adjust for the temperature of the sample. Hydrometers are calibrated to a certain temperature of liquid, usually 60*.

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Old 01-06-2013, 01:23 AM   #5
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Hydrometer is at. 016. There is a bunch of brown gunk around the top- looks like mud or... yeah. It smells like beer and I can smell alcohol. Brought up a sample to taste and it is very murky. It looks like murky iced tea. It looked like there was oil on top as well, as it appeared there was a slight sheen in the bucket. Three out of three said no butter taste but it felt a bit thick or coated our tongue. So I am guessing I have a bit of diacetyl.

My sample was right off the top so whatever floats is what was in the glass.

Posting on my phone so excuse my run on sentences!

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Old 01-06-2013, 03:50 AM   #6
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Moved it up stairs into my closet where the air temp is 67 degrees and I have frequent activity in the air lock. I am just hoping this is taking care of the diacetyl and not making off flavors. I keep reading that primary fermentation for lagers should be 2-3 weeks! Does that mean I should have air lock activity for 2-3 weeks?

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Old 01-06-2013, 04:07 AM   #7
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No. You just leave it in the primary two or three weeks. It will not bubble that long.

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Old 01-06-2013, 04:17 AM   #8
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So should I move this back down to the basement for the cooler temp or should I keep it up here for 48 hours to eat up the diacetyl and then move it back down.

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Old 01-06-2013, 04:27 AM   #9
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Take care of the diacetyl, then move to a cooler area.

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