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Old 06-19-2008, 11:40 AM   #1
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Default Racked too early, but is that a bad thing?

I am in the process of making my second brew, an IIPA, when after 8 days I racked to the secondary two days ago (hydrometer readings were steady for two straight days). A day later I noticed some kraeusen, but very spotty in appearance. Then today there was a bit more kraeusen, but not much more, and my air lock is popping off every 45 seconds or so.

I guess I racked too early and woke up the yeastie boys. I did a little reading the other day and found an article by someone that likes to rack a bit early because the yeast activity help to push out the air in the secondary reducing the risk of oxidation. In a way that seems to makes sense.

My questions are, is this a good strategy? And, given my early racking to the secondary can I expect any off taste or reduction in quality? As always, thanks for the input.

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Old 06-19-2008, 12:20 PM   #2
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If it works for you then go for it. Personally, I stopped doing a secondary on most/all my beers. IMO, racking to a secondary vessel just increases the chances of something going wrong.

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Old 06-19-2008, 12:22 PM   #3
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It wont do anything horrible to your batch. There will be a second round of light krausen to deal with, which of course will drop out when its done. But like Erik said, you don't even "have" to secondary anyways.

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Old 06-19-2008, 12:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by GLWIII View Post
I am in the process of making my second brew, an IIPA, when after 8 days I racked to the secondary two days ago (hydrometer readings were steady for two straight days). A day later I noticed some kraeusen, but very spotty in appearance. Then today there was a bit more kraeusen, but not much more, and my air lock is popping off every 45 seconds or so.

I guess I racked too early and woke up the yeastie boys. I did a little reading the other day and found an article by someone that likes to rack a bit early because the yeast activity help to push out the air in the secondary reducing the risk of oxidation. In a way that seems to makes sense.

My questions are, is this a good strategy? And, given my early racking to the secondary can I expect any off taste or reduction in quality? As always, thanks for the input.
I like to keep my beers in primary at least 10 days, 14 if possible, but I really just wait until it's done, then wait some more. Everyone's so anxious to get it out of primary for some reason...that point about buffering the airspace in secondary with resultant CO2 is kind of silly...some co2 will continue to be offgassed very slowly anyway---and regardless, you should be using a 5 gallon carboy for secondary to minimize your airspace in the first place. If you're truly worried about it, then you can always blow some co2 in there from your keg operation, or if you don't keg, pick up something called "Private Preserve". It's used to preserve opened bottles of wine, etc, and a few squirts leaves a blanket of inert gas (mostly argon) that's heavier than air and buffers the beer from the oxygen. But personally, I just never worry about it.

The tradeoff with that approach is that you're gonna get less "cleanup" from the yeast. If you leave it in primary at least a couple weeks, the yeasties tend to clean up the byproducts that they produced during fermentation and just make better beer. It's apparent that you racked too early, but it'll probably be okay. Just be sure, if you're bottling, to wait until there's absolutely no offgassing for at least 4-7 days prior to bottling, or you risk overcarbing or even bottle bombs.

In the future, leave it in primary longer. Don't be so anxious to get it out of there! If you need more space for future beers, then just buy another carboy (or 5). It's a small price to pay for making good beer.
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Old 06-19-2008, 01:07 PM   #5
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In the future, leave it in primary longer. Don't be so anxious to get it out of there! If you need more space for future beers, then just buy another carboy (or 5). It's a small price to pay for making good beer.
I leave the majority of mine in primary for a month now, because I noticed a distinct improvement in clarity and flavor in my beers...after that period I go straight to bottle.

To balance it out I have 4 primaries, so I don't have to be concerned about not being able to brew when I want to...

Bucket fermenters are cheap so having at least 2 is a great option.
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Old 06-19-2008, 01:34 PM   #6
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What was your gravity at when you racked to the secondary?

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Old 06-19-2008, 01:48 PM   #7
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What was your gravity at when you racked to the secondary?
1.020. The recipe profile has OG 1.101 and FG 1.028. The lower gravity that I recorded is due to what I think ended up being a less than stellar extraction.
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Old 06-19-2008, 02:36 PM   #8
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1.020. The recipe profile has OG 1.101 and FG 1.028. The lower gravity that I recorded is due to what I think ended up being a less than stellar extraction.
Don't forget about temp conversions, I have and its thrown my readings off in the past.
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:15 PM   #9
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For beers that don't need any extra aging I just leave them in primary for 2-3 weeks. For those that need more time, I wait until fermentation is complete and then rack to secondary for aging purposes. There is no "right" answer to your question. Experiment and determine what works best for you.

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Old 06-19-2008, 10:30 PM   #10
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Always trust your hydrometer and expected final gravity. beer may appear to ferment after racking to secondary, but if the hydrometer still says 1.020, its done and you're just being fooled into thinking somethign is happening.

airlocks bubble for no reason at all sometimes. foam will form. stuff will float around...but its done.

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