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Old 12-28-2010, 05:37 PM   #1
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Default Secondary fermentation ????

OK so I have done a lot of reading and research and want to know some of your opinions on secondary fermentation. I.E. when to rack out the primary into a secondary. How long to leave your secondary. Ect ect ect. . . .
So what are your thoughts and methods?
I am thinking I will leave the primary in for What I hope will be 2/3 to 3/4 of the way fermented and then rack into my secondary. I have read that around 4 to 5 bubbles per minute in the air lock is when you are in this 2/3 to 3/4 range. Any thoughts on that? Oh and I want to prime the whole batch at the same time not individually in the bottle, When would be a good time to do this? and how do you prefer to do so?
Thanks

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Old 12-28-2010, 05:41 PM   #2
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Just leave it in the primary for 3-4 weeks and bottle or keg. Unless you are adding fruit or dry hopping you don't really need to secondary. At the very least leave it in the primary until fermentation is complete and the secondary to clear. Try it both ways....you will see you don't really gain anything by transfering to a secondary.

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Old 12-28-2010, 05:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfraier View Post
you will see you don't really gain anything by transfering to a secondary.
clarity. time. extra work. do what you want, but there are benefits to using a secondary.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:49 PM   #4
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+1 to no secondary... I just leave my beers for 3-4 weeks in primary, and have very very clear beers. Leaving it on the orginal yeast cake longer adds more cleanup anyway, removing more off flavors if any exist, and if none exist it just lets the beer clear out well and the yeast cake compact more, meaning transfer to keg/bottles has a decreased chance of yeast. I agree personally (and this is 100% a personal issue, this debate rages on these forums constantly) to only secondary if you're doing 2 things, adding something like dry hops or fruit, or needing to bulk age a beer for longer due to it being a complex, or bigger beer. I used to secondary all my beer, and never had an issue, but its more work, and didn't change, in my opinion, the final beer in any way from not using a secondary. Do what you like. If you enjoy the transfer phase, and getting a bit less yeast cake/trub in the secondary pre bottle/keg, then by all means do so. Ultimately what is most important is that you enjoy the brewing process and get to drink awesome beer you made yourself RDWHAHB

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Old 12-28-2010, 05:56 PM   #5
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If you are going to use a secondary (really a bright tank), make sure you let your beer completely finish before racking to secondary. Moving beer mid-fermentation can result in stuck fermentation. The words secondary fermentation is a misnomer, it should be called a bright tank. No fermentation in secondary, just aging and clearing.

Bulk priming is the only way to go. Boil up your priming sugar, pour it into bottling bucket and rack beer onto it. You can gently mix with a sanitized spoon but no splashing.

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Old 12-28-2010, 06:10 PM   #6
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I have nothing to add to the question of when to secondary, other than I leave my beer in the primary for 3-4 weeks and have great clarity after.

The bulk priming question doesn't seem to have been addressed, so I will speak to that briefly.

When bulk priming for bottling usually one prepares a batch of priming solution, ~5 oz dextrose boiled in 1-2 cups water for 15 min. Allow to cool thoroughly and pour into the bottom of sanitized bottling bucket. Rack your beer on top of this solution, make sure the end of the siphon hose is below the level of the priming solution so the beer is not splashing violently against the side of the bucket when you rack it, you don't want to aerate/oxidize your beer at this point. The beer will gently whirlpool in the bucket and mix most of the priming solution in. Some people also stir gently with a sanitized spoon, or let the beer sit for 5-10 min. to allow for thorough mixing of the priming sugar into the beer. The beer is now primed and ready to bottle.

This is the most common method for bulk priming and, I imagine, is a hell of a lot easier than priming each bottle individually. It also allows for more consistency and precision in priming the beer and provides an easy way to modify the priming sugar amounts for style specific carbonation levels.

There are some good threads by Revvy on this topic, as well as stickies somewhere. Maybe in the Beginner's forum?

Hope this helps

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Old 12-28-2010, 06:40 PM   #7
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Thanks Guys! I really do want to use the secondary if for nothing but to help clear up the final product. I have had plenty home brews that have a **** ton of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. I think that this sediment not only looks bad (witch lets face it image is everything) but it also makes you want to avoid taking the last swallow that sits on top of it. The things I have read that say to rack out early are saying that when the yeast settles it starts to die and when it dies it releases bad flavors and such.

As for bulk priming I thought that it was the way to go, so thanks for the tips!

What are some of your methods on pitching yeast? I boiled a cup of watter and then covered it with foil until it got into the 70 degree range. I then added the yeast and let it sit till my brew hit 73 degrees and then I gently pored it in. 73 is room temp in my hose right now, seens how it is winter and a have an 8 month old son in the house. The big thing that had me worried, was that the yeast sat in the sterile watter for quite a while. Maybe an hour or two, it took a while to get the brew down to said 73 degrees. Fermentation took a little while to start, but within a couple of hours the air lock was going like a mo fo and come morning I had a mess to clean up. I then learned, after the fact about blow off tubes. so next time I will start with one.
Anyways I digress, do you think I let the yeast rehydrate to long if so will it affect the brew and how?

Thanks again!
P.S. If you didn't notice this is my first brew. I have noticed that everyone has there own way, I'm am just trying to find mine vicariously through you fine fellers.

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Old 12-28-2010, 07:01 PM   #8
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Other then the fruit adjunct additions another good reason for racking to a secondary fermenter is to help clear up the brew without tying up a primary fermenter for an extended amount of time. Leaving it in the primary for 3-4 weeks does result in a more rigid yeast cake that has less potential of getting stirred back into the beer. But if don't have a lot of 6+ gallon vessels, then racking to a secondary of smaller size allows you to reclaim your primary for another batch. When you rack from primary to secondary you are removing the beer from the less dense yeast cake. Once in the secondary another smaller yeast cake will form when you let it sit 7-14 days (I secondary for 14 days). The smaller the yeast cake the less likely you are going to accidently stir dormant yeast/particulates back into the beer which will end up in the final product; unless you filter there will always be yeast (and hops) in the beer. When you rack to a bottling bucket or keg you are again removing the beer from the potential of stirring dormant yeast/particulates back into your beer and aiding in the clarity of the final product. Even with cold crashing there will be less sediment to contend with.

The biggest complaint about racking to the secondary is the potential to contaminate or oxidize the beer but if done properly e.g. not splashing the heck out of the beer, the beer will be fine. Purging a fermenter with C02 also helps. I stopped using buckets and switched to carboys and better bottles because of the smaller opening on top so the C02 will sit on the beer while I rack and the C02 purged into the secondary will remain there, for the most part because of the narrower opening while the beer siphons into it.

David

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I'd go with the 2". You can always stir the wort with a sanitized spoon if your worried about hot/cold spots. You will be hitting the 6+" with everything...ask Ron Jeremy!
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:36 PM   #9
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4 to 5 bubbles per minute???

How could you possibly tell how far along your fermentation is by such an indicator as that???????

That's like rolling a pair of dice and using that to determine the time of day.

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Old 12-28-2010, 07:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Primo View Post
Thanks Guys! I really do want to use the secondary if for nothing but to help clear up the final product. I have had plenty home brews that have a **** ton of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. I think that this sediment not only looks bad (witch lets face it image is everything) but it also makes you want to avoid taking the last swallow that sits on top of it. The things I have read that say to rack out early are saying that when the yeast settles it starts to die and when it dies it releases bad flavors and such.

As for bulk priming I thought that it was the way to go, so thanks for the tips!

What are some of your methods on pitching yeast? I boiled a cup of watter and then covered it with foil until it got into the 70 degree range. I then added the yeast and let it sit till my brew hit 73 degrees and then I gently pored it in. 73 is room temp in my hose right now, seens how it is winter and a have an 8 month old son in the house. The big thing that had me worried, was that the yeast sat in the sterile watter for quite a while. Maybe an hour or two, it took a while to get the brew down to said 73 degrees. Fermentation took a little while to start, but within a couple of hours the air lock was going like a mo fo and come morning I had a mess to clean up. I then learned, after the fact about blow off tubes. so next time I will start with one.
Anyways I digress, do you think I let the yeast rehydrate to long if so will it affect the brew and how?

Thanks again!
P.S. If you didn't notice this is my first brew. I have noticed that everyone has there own way, I'm am just trying to find mine vicariously through you fine fellers.
In regards to your first point I would point out that any time you bottle condition you will have sediment on the bottom of the bottles, the yeast eat the sugar and produce the CO2 that carbonates your beer. If you filter out the yeast before bottling you will not have carbonated beer. Unless you keg and force carb, but that is another thing altogether.

If you pour the beer slowly and stop when the yeast starts to come out (pouring to the shoulder) you will only leave about 1/4" of beer behind, not that great a loss.

And just like in bulk aging, the longer your beer sits in the bottle, the tighter the yeast cake will get.

Which brings me to your second point regarding the secondary. It sounds like you are referring to yeast autolysis, this has been determined to be not much of an issue by many of the heavy hitters in the home brewing community, including Palmer, Papazian, and Jamial, if you search the forum you will find extensive threads on this topic. But in a nut shell autolysis is a concern for commercial brewers because their fermentation conditions are some what different from that of a home brewer, greater pressures on the yeast, higher temps in the yeast cake, etc...

Plenty of people leave their beer in the primary for months and report no problems, quite the opposite, they say it's some of the best beer they have made.
I would like to try leaving a beer in primary for 3 months to see what happens, but I drink it too damn fast!

Seriously, do some forum searches for threads like primary/secondary, long primary vs secondary or something along those lines. Or look for Revvy's posts and blogs, he has written a lot on this topic here.

The best way to find out for yourself is to try it both ways and see I guess, but I really like the long primary, I don't risk interrupting my fermentation, oxidizing my beer, contaminating it with an extra process step, and (most importantly) I am inherently LAZY and it is so much easier to just leave it.

If you want clarity, cold crash after a 4 week primary, you'll be able to read through it! If clarity is not so important to you, don't cold crash and you can still read through it! Although you might have some chill haze until it warms up a little...

I think your yeast handling was fine, but many of the dry ale and lager yeasts don't even require rehydration. I usually dry pitch my safale yeasts and they haven't let me down yet. Wine yeasts are different and can require rehydration and nutrients to minimize lag time.

My 2 cents
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