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Old 10-01-2007, 06:18 PM   #1
kriso77
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Default Secondary Fermentation Questions

I purchased a home brew kit over the weekend that consisted of a plastic fermentation bucket and a glass carboy. The fermentation bucket also doubles as a bottling bucket since it has a spigot on the bottom.

My girlfriend and I brewed our first batch (Bavarian Wheat) yesterday, using a "beginner's beer kit". Overall, everything went well. I checked it today and the fermentation seems well under way. Even though it went well, I'm very new to home brewing so the questions are starting to rack up.

The instructions that came with the kit say to move the the wort from the primary fermentor to the carboy after 3 days. Is there anything I should be aware/cautious of in doing this? I was just going to gently move the primary to the kitchen and ciphon the wort into the carboy and let it sit for another 10 - 12 days. I am concerned about removing the air lock and letting oxygen hit the wort when I transfer it.

I am hearing some conflicting info. Some have told me to just let it sit for 2 weeks in the primaryfermentor/bottling bucket and forget about the carboy. I guess I'm confused as to when/if I should use the carboy as a secondary fermentor.

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Old 10-01-2007, 06:34 PM   #2
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The directions are good for most beers. The reasons for using a secondary are to clear the beer and for bulk conditioning. Since you are making a wheat you don't want the beer to clear so a secondary would not be as helpful in this case. My suggestion is to leave it for 2 weeks and bottle.

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Old 10-01-2007, 06:38 PM   #3
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If you are going from extract then you may have a clear beer but most wheats are cloudy.

For this brew I'd leave in primary for 2 weeks then bottle.

3 days is too early for any beer to go from primary to secondary.

A general rule of thumb for most normal beers is 1 2 3

1 week primary
2 weeks secondary
3 weeks in bottle to carb.

It gets better after that.

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Old 10-01-2007, 06:47 PM   #4
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Is it ok to bottle right from the primary fermentor since this doubles as the bottling bucket?

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Old 10-01-2007, 06:51 PM   #5
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Nope.......

You need to rack it off the trub and mix the priming sugar.
What you should of done is use you secondary fermenter for primary. (Hind sight)

I would rack to secondary(sanitised)

Clean and sanitise the primary then re-rack into it and use that for bottling.

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Old 10-01-2007, 07:20 PM   #6
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Thanks for your help. I will plan on moving from the primary to the secondary in a week and bottling 2 weeks after that. If only I could drink it now!!!

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Old 10-01-2007, 09:38 PM   #7
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I would only add: get another bucket without the spigot and use it for primary, the carboy for secondary, and the spigot bucket for bottling.

the spigot is too hard to sanitize on the inside when the bucket's already full of beer...easier to remove it when empty, clean, sanitize and reinstall. or clean, reinstall, then sanitize the bucket and let it drain thru the spigot to sanitize.

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Old 10-04-2007, 07:29 AM   #8
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What do you guys think of this: My opinion is to rack to a secondary when fermentation slows down. If you wait until it stops completely, then there will be oxygen sitting on top of your wort in the secondary. If a little fermentation is still happening, then the oxygen is pushed out and CO2 sits on top of it until the next time you open it. Just try to keep as much trub and krausen in the primary as possible when you make the move. Since you're racking back to a bottling bucket, the little bit of yeast that enters the secondary will have settled out long before the move to the bottling bucket. When you think it's time to make that move, use a little fining agent of your choice (I'll be using super-kleer in a few weeks myself)and wait a day. I feel this keeps the beer infection free the whole time, no oxygen damage, and gets it clear as a bell. Cheers!

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Old 10-04-2007, 12:40 PM   #9
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I'm a big believer in racking from the primary only when fermentation is finished. You'll still kick up alot of co2 that's in suspension to help protect your beer from oxygen and if you rack quietly without splashing you'll have almost no risk of oxidation.

If you rack before it's finished, you can stall or halt fermentation and have way more yeast trub in the secondary. The secondary really is a misnomer- it's a clearing tank or a "bright tank". It isn't for fermentation. Sometimes it does drop a couple of sg points but I wouldn't count on it.

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Old 10-04-2007, 04:47 PM   #10
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Wait til its finished. Racking unfinished beer off the yeast stresses the yeast, causing them to have to re-populate to finish fermentation, and depending on available nutrients, they may produce some off flavors, regardless of the fermentation temperature.

Secondary 'fermentation' is a misnomer. almost no fermentation occurs in secondary. its a clearing phase for the beer to drop yeast from suspension prior to bottling.

about the only time when you want to 'try' to get fermentation to happen in secondary is when primary finishes, but is a few points short of the expected final gravity, and other methods like bucket swirling don't help.
the mixing and slight aeration when racking to secondary can rouse the yeast up enough to finish a few more points so the beer isn't overly sweet or thick compared to its true style guidelines.

but 99% of the time, your primary will be 100% finished a few days before you rack to secondary.

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