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Old 08-05-2013, 01:42 PM   #1
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Default Rule of thumb for when to rack to a secondary?

to those who do rack to a secondary,


Is there a general rule to guide you? All my experience (so far) has come from the prepackaged 'beer in box' which explicitly tells you time and the FG to aim for. However, I tried out the 'centennial blonde' recipe and although the author give you an OG, there isnt a FG value to shoot for - at least that I've come across skimming across that monster thread...

So if you're in a situation like this what do you do? I've been told that watching the bubbling end as an indicator is always wrong.

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Old 08-05-2013, 01:46 PM   #2
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to those who do rack to a secondary,

Is there a general rule to guide you? All my experience (so far) has come from the prepackaged 'beer in box' which explicitly tells you time and the FG to aim for. However, I tried out the 'centennial blonde' recipe and although the author give you an OG, there isnt a FG value to shoot for - at least that I've come across skimming across that monster thread...

So if you're in a situation like this what do you do? I've been told that watching the bubbling end as an indicator is always wrong.
Well if you absolutely insist on using a secondary vessel (most here will argue that it is unnecessary). The best way to know for sure what your FG is, is to take multiple gravity readings over consecutive days, if you get 3 readings that have not changed you have likely reached your FG.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:46 PM   #3
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FG for Centennial is: Final Gravity: 1.008

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Old 08-05-2013, 02:25 PM   #4
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I did the AG Centennial Blonde recipe 3 weeks ago, although I tweaked it up to pale ale range. OG was 1.055, FG 1.012. I couldn't stand the wait and did try one this past weekend after only one week in the bottle. Still, VERY nice.
Now, my story and input on the 'secondary debate'. When I started about 20 months ago, I used a secondary on everything. Now, I'm more selective. If I need that particular yeast cake after 2 weeks, then I secondary. If I don't, I let it go for 3 in primary. If I'm adding fruit I secondary. Dryhopping, lately I've been doing in primary. I may get a few flames for saying this, but I believe my beers that have been in secondaries are more clear than those in primary-only. And I coldcrash and use gelatin on everything. I think it's because I'm part Scottish and try to get every last drop of beery goodness from my bottling bucket, so invariably I suck up some trub in the primary. There's less sediment in the secondary. "That's my story and I'm sticking with it. Your results may vary".

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:42 PM   #5
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Best rule of thumb: don't.

If you're going to dry hop, add wood chips, etc...... okay... otherwise no point.

As for when, it's all about gravity. When you've hit your FG, that's when it's time. Apart from that, there is no perfect formula mon frere... even when using a box... even if using the same recipe you've used before. Just wait until your FG is consistent and rack away!

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:49 PM   #6
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I don't even dry hop in secondary. Oaking or fruit yes.

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Old 08-05-2013, 04:43 PM   #7
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If you want to use it, after the beer is done fermenting. The rule of thumb on FG is 25% of the OG or when the gravity stops dropping. The secondary is only for extra additions or allowing for sedimintation while not on sitting on the yeast.

I've used it. I've skipped it. I don't know that my beers go any faster or taste better either way.

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Old 08-05-2013, 06:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Well if you absolutely insist on using a secondary vessel (most here will argue that it is unnecessary). The best way to know for sure what your FG is, is to take multiple gravity readings over consecutive days, if you get 3 readings that have not changed you have likely reached your FG.
This. Although I would claim you can take your readings 3 days apart.

Worth noting that a projected target final gravity is just that, a projected target. Reaching it does *not* mean that it is your actual final gravity or that it is safe to secondary.
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:04 PM   #9
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Responses make sense. Thanks

However, what would the fall out if one would transfer to the secondary and the fermentation is near completing and the bubbling has slowed to (almost nothing) and the SP is close to the FG (but not quite there)

Could all these not complete in the secondary ?

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Old 08-06-2013, 01:22 AM   #10
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Responses make sense. Thanks

However, what would the fall out if one would transfer to the secondary and the fermentation is near completing and the bubbling has slowed to (almost nothing) and the SP is close to the FG (but not quite there)

Could all these not complete in the secondary ?
yeahhh.... I think you are leaving the area of rational discussion and into the realm of biased and heated opinions.

I've heard many people do this and they had a rationale I never understood and they do this and make perfectly decent beers. But *I* would feel that when you transfer you are removing the beer from the yeast. And if it's not done fermenting then it wants the yeast that is left behind to finish fermenting. There's probably many rational responses to this, there's enough yeast in suspension, there something else about another thing, etc. But seeing as I'm in the don't secondary school, it seems secondarying early is just even wronger. But my main reason is because when I was a newbie my LHBS said it's important to never transfer or bottle until final gravity has stabilized, and I thought my LHBS was so super awesome cool that I'm repeating everything they say as fanboy gospel.

So in all honesty, people *do* transfer before gravity has stabilized. Their beers don't seem awful. But it sure as heck *seems* wrong to me and I really *want* to dis-recommend it but I can't claim I've got the empirical evidence to back me up. But the rationale "the beer needs its yeast to finish fermenting and it hasn't" sure rings heavy for me.

It's probably a matter of degree. Don't do it if fermentation is only 60 percent complete but it's okay if fermentation is 80 percent complete (or whatever). But I just feel why risk doing it early when you can play it safe and do it late and, indeed, you don't need to do it all?
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