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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Second time brewing, first time posting. Couple questions.
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:47 PM   #1
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Default Second time brewing, first time posting. Couple questions.

After having a couple experiences with the Mr. Beer kit, I was anxious to upgrade. I now have a 6 gallon glass carboy and 5 gallon food grade bucket. I'm on my second brew now.

I purchased a custom recipe based on Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from my local Home Brew store and purchased some extra ingredients to add a personal touch to the brew. I used spring water that I bought from WalMart, and proceeded to follow the instructions that came along with the recipe.

Originally I intended on using my plastic bucket, but a rubber gasket used to seal the airlock fell into the mix and I had to funnel the wort into my carboy as I didn't want to stick my hand into the mix. The brew has been in the primary now (fermenting at 75-78 degrees) for one week and most all of the krausen has settled to the bottom.

I am unable to take my hydrometer readings at the moment and was wondering if it would be a bad idea to rack into secondary today. Again, it has been one week and I am adding some cascade hops as well as some bitter orange peel to the secondary.

Also, would it be a bad idea to add more yeast to the mix? Not a full amount, but just a pinch or so?

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Old 07-13-2011, 08:52 PM   #2
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Why are you unable to take hydro readings? If it has only been a week just let it go for a little while longer then rack it over to the secondary. No reason to rush it. Also there is no reason to add yeast, not sure why you are thinking of doing that but would be curious to know.

PS- fermenting at 75-78 is quite high unless you are making a saison or something like that.

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Old 07-13-2011, 08:57 PM   #3
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Alot of people (myself included) don't even use secondarys. It's just as well to leave it in the primary for 3-4 weeks.
As long as you pitched enough yeast, leave it alone. The yeast will do it's thing all by its self. To see if it'd fermented out, take a hydro reading when you can.

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Old 07-13-2011, 09:01 PM   #4
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Generally you want to leave it in the primary for a month. If you are dry-hopping, rack it to the secondary after that month for about 7-10 days. Adding yeast won't do anything. Yeast is asexual and creates many replicas of itself. Also the yeast that is in your beer right now is accustomed to the environment. Most likely what would happen if you added new yeast is that it would be shocked by the alcohol, most of it would die, and sink to the bottom. Save the yeast you have for a later use.

Also fermenting at 75-78 is really high. I'd suggest getting a bucket that you can place your fermenter in. Place the fermenter in the bucket that is filled with cold water and try to lower the temp that way (although now it's probably too late for that brew). Either that, or you could put a cold towel, wet towel over your fermenter and put a fan on it. You generally want to be fermenting at 65-68 degrees for a pale ale. Good luck!

Cheers!

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Old 07-13-2011, 09:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadKing View Post
Alot of people (myself included) don't even use secondarys. It's just as well to leave it in the primary for 3-4 weeks.
As long as you pitched enough yeast, leave it alone. The yeast will do it's thing all by its self. To see if it'd fermented out, take a hydro reading when you can.
Most of us don't use secondary fermenters UNLESS we dry hop or add some sort of fruit. In this case, they are adding dry hops AND fruit.
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:04 PM   #6
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you can just dry hop/spice in the primary, i'd wait at least 2 weeks before then tho

no need for more yeast unless you have a stuck ferment

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Old 07-13-2011, 09:07 PM   #7
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Well I live in Northern California and it gets quite hot here. I have it downstairs in a dark corner where minimal light can get it. I can't run the A/C all day so the house is about a constant 78-80 degrees. For the first couple of days it was at 76-78 degrees, but it has dropped to about 74-75 degrees now.

As for the adding yeast, I figured maybe it would help with a higher alcohol content? Guess that's why I'm posting in the beginner's section.

Would I be able to just drop in the bitter orange peels and hops and just cut out the secondary all together?

I do not have a turkey baster to fit into the skinny neck of my carboy to gather a sample.

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Old 07-13-2011, 09:11 PM   #8
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Alot of people have said a lot of different times to leave it in the primary and i want to ask why? I also suggest leaving it in a primary for a few weeks and i think i learned the hard way with my first brew. My understanding is that if you rack early you leave tons of fermentation byproducts like acetaldehyde (in my case) in the beer without enough yeast to clean up shop. is that essentially right?

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Old 07-13-2011, 09:11 PM   #9
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Ah, another question... There is krausen that is stuck at the top of my carboy above the liquid. Should I scrape some of that off so it can settle to the bottom?

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Old 07-13-2011, 09:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrayson726 View Post
Generally you want to leave it in the primary for a month. If you are dry-hopping, rack it to the secondary after that month for about 7-10 days. Adding yeast won't do anything. Yeast is asexual and creates many replicas of itself. Also the yeast that is in your beer right now is accustomed to the environment. Most likely what would happen if you added new yeast is that it would be shocked by the alcohol, most of it would die, and sink to the bottom. Save the yeast you have for a later use.


There are a lot of opinions on how long to primary. There are probably several right answers. For me it depends on the recipe. I have some belgians that are only in primary for 7-9 days, blonde ale that only spends 2 weeks, and most others are 3 weeks. I've gone as long as a month with no problem at all. The reason I go 2-3 weeks is BECAUSE I don't secondary. I get much clearer beer if I let it sit a week or two after FG is reached.The only time I secondary is if I'm dry hopping.

Otherwise it's direct from primary to keg. Some will argue that if you leave it in the primary too long you can get off flavors from dying yeast but I've never had any issues of that sort so I can't confirm. I can confirm that you can certainly get clear, crisp, great tasting beer on both ends of the spectrum.
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