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Old 08-05-2011, 01:50 AM   #1
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Default Secondary question

After you transfer to a secondary, what happens from there? Is there more fermentation that goes on as well as settling, or is there just settling?

Do we want tot siphon the sludge at the bottom of the primary (is there an acronym for that stuff?)

We did a London Porter, and it fermented at a higher temperature (70-72F), bubbling rapidly for the first few days and then petering off. When we opened it to transfer, there was no head; again, is this normal?

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Old 08-05-2011, 02:21 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Paradigm View Post
After you transfer to a secondary, what happens from there? Is there more fermentation that goes on as well as settling, or is there just settling?

Do we want tot siphon the sludge at the bottom of the primary (is there an acronym for that stuff?)

We did a London Porter, and it fermented at a higher temperature (70-72F), bubbling rapidly for the first few days and then petering off. When we opened it to transfer, there was no head; again, is this normal?
Secondary is not needed, kinda frowned upon actually...Secondary is basicly to get a clearer beer. Once primary fermentation is complete one would secondary it to leave the setament/cake behind. Putting it in a secondary drops all the yeasties that were transfered from primary into secondary thus getting a clearer beer. Did it once and will never do it again, ya can get the same results by adding irish moss or whrilfloc 15 min before flame out and get the same results. I also cold crash for 3 days after 1 month primary and what that does is drop all the yeasties to the bottom of the primary, rack shortly after and bot a bing, clear beer....

Yeah, dont transfer the setament/cake from primary to seconday or your just basicly wasting sanitiser....Like i said, will never secondary again....
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:01 AM   #3
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I remember when I was looking at secondary vs. staying in the primary that it is a matter of philosophy to some extent. As long as you are using something to encourage the beer to clear, like poislb indicated, then there doesn't appear to be a need for a secondary. However, I will say that when I did bottle, racking over to a secondary was only because I ended up with less yeast in the bottling bucket to let settle out. YMMV. On the plus side, without a secondary, you have less crap to clean and can spend more time drinking. Or maybe that is just me.

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Old 08-05-2011, 04:40 AM   #4
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My clearest beer to date is one that I have done has been without a secondary. The best trick I've found is to cold crash your beer for a couple of days. Clears it up in no time!

Also, using a whirlpool after the boil will give you less trub transferring over to the fermenter resulting in clearer beer.

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Old 08-05-2011, 04:59 AM   #5
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To answer your first questions there is some things going on after the main fermentation ends. There are by products that where produced during fermentation, and there are a lot of them that must be cleaned up. When the yeast are done eating the majority of them will clump up to try and survive ruff conditions they for see (i.e. lack of food). They huddle together and fall to the bottom of the fermenter. There are however a lot of yeast still in the beer cleaning up the waste left behind by the others. This all varies with how healthy your fermentation was. If you have a lot of old yeast they will stress out more, and produce more unwanted products. If your temperature was to high they will stress out, not enough yeast being pitched will also contribute.

To answer your question these cells that are still in suspension in secondary and are still doing work on your beer. It is the belief of many brewers that it is better to leave the beer on top of the cake so more yeast can help clean up. Regardless beer that has been pulled off of the yeast cake is still very much alive. (I no longer secondary beer)

Your london porter that fermented at 70 to 72 degrees should be fine, in the future try and bring the temperature down some more. Remember though the ambient temperature was at 70 the yeast eating is an exothermic reaction, producing a lot of heat. This will also give you off flavors, don't sweat it now just age it a bit longer and it will be fine.

Your last question regarding the head after fermentation being gone, is normal. During active fermentation the yeast produces a krausen, which rises and then falls back into the beer after the initial fermentation is done. All normal and good to go. Try and get a carboy or a better bottle so you can see what is going on! I assume you are using a bucket?

Please let me know if I missed something.

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Old 08-05-2011, 05:51 AM   #6
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So... you guys don't secondary your brews? It's not necessary?

(seems to be the consensus of the thread...)

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Old 08-05-2011, 06:28 AM   #7
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um not to thead jack...but whats a "cold crash", you refering to a quick chilling after boiling?

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Old 08-05-2011, 06:57 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dillinja666
um not to thead jack...but whats a "cold crash", you refering to a quick chilling after boiling?
Cold crash is the practice of taking beer that's already been fermented, and chilling (near freezing, if possible) for a fairly short period before transferring to bottles or kegs (or even another vessel). This basically forces the vast majority of the yeast to drop out of suspension, so that when you DO end up transferring the beer, it's very clear.
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Old 08-05-2011, 01:50 PM   #9
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. Try and get a carboy or a better bottle so you can see what is going on! I assume you are using a bucket?

Please let me know if I missed something.

We primaried in a bucket, and secondaried in a glass carboy, can we primary in the glass carboy? If that's the case, we might do two batches asap so we can have 10 gallons of beer ready for the school year and give us a few months of no brewing while we settle into classes.
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Old 08-05-2011, 02:00 PM   #10
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Here's some reading for you. This has ALL been pretty much well covered in detail on here, including an explination of the conditioning processes that happen.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/second-ferm-racking-128440/#post1438252

This covers the "no secondary" thing pretty well http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/new-221066/#post2591728

Using a secondary vessel, and "secondary fermentation" are really two separate things. Secondary fermentation is a natural part of the life cycle of the yeast and the fermentation process, is unescapable, and happens automatically, and usually happens in the vessel you pitched the yeast into. I.e., the primary.

Secondary fermentation occurs while the yeast is still in solution immediately after the conversion of sugars to alcohol. During that time there is tons of proteins and partially digested sugars in solution in addition to the waste products of the yeast, plus any esters and fusel they create while they ferment. During secondary fermentation the yeast will clean up these esters, and the fusels, and reabsorb a lot of their waste products.

That's what we are referring to when we say "the yeast will clean up after itself."

One of the big ones that the yeast will clean up if given time is Diacetyl- Professor beer explains it well.

Quote:

http://www.professorbeer.com/articles/diacetyl.html

Three pathways lead to the creation of diacetyl. The first is through normal yeast metabolism. Brewer’s yeast form a precursor called alpha acetolactate (AAL), which is tasteless. This compound is converted to diacetyl as the beer ages. The reaction that changes AAL to diacetyl is accelerated by high temperature. At cool temperatures it will still occur, but more slowly.

Modern brewing practice dictates that beer be aged on live yeast until the vast majority of AAL is converted into diacetyl. Brewer’s yeast, while unable to metabolize AAL, will readily absorb and break down diacetyl into relatively flavorless compounds. By giving the beer enough contact time with the active yeast, the brewer can eliminate the diacetyl. It generally takes only about two weeks of aging an ale to assure that it will have no buttery flavors.
I cover more of that here, as well.
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