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Old 10-27-2011, 07:07 PM   #1
beerman315
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Default Secondary became somewhat active after a week

I'm brewing an IPA (extract & specialty grain kit), and after one week in my primary bucket, I racked into a glass carboy for secondary. I thought most of the fermentation was over, since the airlock more or less stopped bubbling and the gravity dropped from 1.060 to 1.018.

I'm dry hopping for the first time, so I just dropped the kit's package of hop pellets on top of the beer.

As expected, I saw nothing really going on in the carboy except for the pellets spreading out over the surface and slowly sinking.

Then after about a week, I noticed bubbles floating up from the bottom and about 1/2" of yeast cake. Also, it looks like there's a hop crust on the surface, maybe held up by the CO2 bubbles. The airlock is bubbling again, about one a minute.

I figured I'd wait a week and it's still going on, though slowing down. The crust is still there though... So it seems like maybe I racked a little too soon. I've heard of secondary fermentation appearing active from the disturbance, but not after a whole week!

Before I open it up to take a hydrometer reading, has anyone seen this before? Will that hop layer ever sink?



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Old 10-27-2011, 07:11 PM   #2
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It might but no biggie.

Next time, allow the primary to sit a few weeks more before dry hopping.

My guess is that the addition of the hops is causing the CO2 to come out of solution.

Brent



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Old 10-27-2011, 08:19 PM   #3
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Not to freak you out, but something similar happened to me. Did an IPA for 3 weeks in the primary then transfered to secondary for dry-hopping. The first few days it looked very clear. Then I noticed it started getting very cloudy and the airlock started back up. That batch eventually had to be dumped due to an infection. All the bottles were overcarbed and some eventually exploded.

The only explanation I could come up with was that i picked up some type of bug while transferring. I haven't used a secondary since...

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Old 10-27-2011, 08:36 PM   #4
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Happens a lot-

You opened it up and then closed it...and you added nucleation points when you dropped the hops in. More than likely you also nudged the fermenter while you put the lid back on.

Additionally is not unusual to get some C02 production from the dry hops. it seems especially true if you are using whole hops.

Airlocks can start or stop or start and stop again, for a ton of other reasons, like temp changes, getting nudged by the cat or the vacuum cleaner, changes in barometric pressure.

All an airlock is is a valve, a vent to release excess gas...which it's doing now.

So in other words, it means absolutely nothing, except you airlock is bubbling.

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Old 10-27-2011, 11:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brew2enjoy View Post
Not to freak you out, but something similar happened to me. Did an IPA for 3 weeks in the primary then transfered to secondary for dry-hopping. The first few days it looked very clear. Then I noticed it started getting very cloudy and the airlock started back up. That batch eventually had to be dumped due to an infection. All the bottles were overcarbed and some eventually exploded.

The only explanation I could come up with was that i picked up some type of bug while transferring. I haven't used a secondary since...
It's been almost two whole weeks in secondary now, and it still looks pretty clear so I don't think it's infected but fingers crossed...
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Old 10-28-2011, 12:40 PM   #6
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Let us know how it smells and tastes when you bottle.

Brent

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Old 10-28-2011, 06:36 PM   #7
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Will do. I'm not too worried about it though. The closet it's in smells nice and hoppy, and the surface of the beer, while covered in that brown hop stuff, doesn't look anything like pictures of infections I've seen.

I'm going to apply a piece of advice I've heard a few times and just let it sit a week.

I do have a hair-brained theory though:
When I dropped the hop pellets in, they immediately expanded out into a pretty uniform layer across the surface. About half of it sank, but half of it stayed up there. CO2 coming out of the beer, whether from additional fermenting or from plain old disturbance, got caught under this layer (I can actually see bubbles under it around the edges). Without the dry-hopping, these bubbles would have easily escaped, but since they are trapped, they are escaping slowly- hence the slow but consistent airlock activity. These bubbles also might be holding up that hop layer and preventing it from sinking.

But anyway I'm not worried about it. I'll just use some cheesecloth or mesh to keep them out of the bottles. For sure I'll contain and sink the hops next time though...

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Old 11-09-2011, 11:26 AM   #8
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Update:
I bottled last night, filtering it through my hop bag to get the hop bits out. No signs of infection-- It smells really good, nice and hoppy. It tastes good too, maybe a little overly bitter but that will probably smooth out.



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