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Old 01-11-2011, 06:23 PM   #1
Apoxbrew
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Default Should Fermment Finish Before Secondary?

Does one want fermentation to be completed in the primary prior to racking to a secondary for dry-hoping?

Just wondering if I need to bother with a SG reading before racking to my secondary on Saturday which is the 2-Week mark.

Plan would be to leave in secondary for at least two weeks and until FG is reached.

Thanks for the info!

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Old 01-11-2011, 06:26 PM   #2
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For dry hoping? Yes.

Bother with a reading? No.

I would leave it where it is for a third week, rack to 'secondary' and dry hop for a week.

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Old 01-11-2011, 06:42 PM   #3
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i would leave it where it is for a third week, rack to 'secondary' and dry hop for a week.
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:46 PM   #4
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There is some method, I cant remember the name, where you rack the beer during active fermenation to a second vessel. Supposedly, it doesnt have any ill effects, but in the case of the OP, I wouldn't move it either. Let it reach terminal gravity in the primary vessel then bottle it about a week later

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Old 01-11-2011, 06:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BendBrewer View Post
For dry hoping? Yes.

Bother with a reading? No.

I would leave it where it is for a third week, rack to 'secondary' and dry hop for a week.
Could you explain why? My beers have alway been done fermenting by 2 weeks anyway, but why would a third week be needed prior to dry hopping in a secondary?
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:55 PM   #6
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Could you explain why? My beers have alway been done fermenting by 2 weeks anyway, but why would a third week be needed prior to dry hopping in a secondary?
That extra week allows the yeast to clean up the byproducts and off flavors they left behind during fermentation. Will clear up nicely too
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:55 PM   #7
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I could try to explain it or could direct you to a number of Revvy's posts or I could just suggest that you try it and notice the difference yourself.

For dry hopping purposes you want the fermentation to be complete as active fermentation drives off some of that wonderful aroma that you are trying to achieve with the dry hops. Whatever you smell coming out of your air lock during active fermentation is leaving your beer.

As you yeast are cleaning up after fermentation has completed, they aren't producing the large amount of Co2 that drives the aroma out. 1 week for the dry hops is plenty.

Yes, the yeast are done fermenting but they aren't done doing what they do after 2 weeks.

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Old 01-11-2011, 06:56 PM   #8
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just cuz its done actively fermenting, doesnt mean the yeast are done working. the extra week will help clean up the beer more than it would in the secondary. if you're not harvesting the yeast, you can just toss the hops into the primary now and be done in a week

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Old 01-11-2011, 07:07 PM   #9
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just cuz its done actively fermenting, doesnt mean the yeast are done working. the extra week will help clean up the beer more than it would in the secondary. if you're not harvesting the yeast, you can just toss the hops into the primary now and be done in a week
Thanks for the great replies. I haven't planned on using a secondary at all because as a busy working father and husband I am trying to keep simplicity maxed while keeping quality up as much as possible.


So this was going to be my next question. What is the point of the secondary at all? It sounds like 1st week for active fermentation, second week to complete, near complete fermentation, 3rd week for clean up then bottle if not dry hopping or toss in the hops in if dry hopping. I always thought the concept was sitting too long on trub lead to off flavors so that is why folks used a secondary as soon as the airlock was down to like one bubble per minute or less or something like that.
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:16 PM   #10
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I always thought the concept was sitting too long on trub lead to off flavors so that is why folks used a secondary as soon as the airlock was down to like one bubble per minute or less or something like that.
That is the irrational fear among home brewers but in all actuality, a month isn't going to do anything. Heck some will say 5 months won't.

If simplicity is something you're interested in, by all means, don't rack your beer to secondary. I would still let it sit a total of 3 weeks before dry hopping it for a week. Just toss the hops into the Primary when you are ready and bottle a week later.

I do rack to a 'secondary' as I think it gives me a clearer beer when I do but that could all be in my head. A great number of home brewers do not bother with a secondary at all.
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