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Old 02-22-2012, 02:03 PM   #1
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Default Should I wait?

I've completed one brew, which turned out deliciously good. That was about a month of two ago, and it's gone now. Which makes me sad. So I started a second brew. This time it's a porter ( source ) . It seems to have stopped fermentation, or at least slowed down to the point of being unnoticeable.

My question is, should I let it sit in my fermenting bucket for a while? Or should I rack it to a secondary and then let it sit for a while? After my first brew I read a lot on the interwebs and it seems everyone has their own opinion about this. I was planning on waiting until Friday after work to prime it and bottle it, then let it sit and condition for a week or two.

What do you guys think I should do?
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:24 AM   #2
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Everyone certainly does have their own opinion.... heres mine: You dont HAVE to do anything. You dont even have to homebrew, you can buy it from the store. That being said, you dont have to transfer your beer from the primary fermenter to a secondary, but it allows the beer to not remain in contact with dead yeast and trub which is found on the bottom of the primary fermenter. You dont have to use a hydrometer, but if you do, you will know if you hit your target OG, if the beer is at its FG (done fermenting), and if you take multiple reading through out the fermentation process, how fast it is fermenting, or more importantly, if it is still fermenting. When to transfer is a tricky question. I prefer to transfer when the vigorous fermentation had ceased, usually about 4-5 days after pitching. This does not mean the beer is done fermenting though, but you wouldnt know it unless you used a hydrometer. I transfer at this time to get the beer off the dead yeast and trub, as well as rouse the healthy yeast to ensure it ferments all the way down to the gravity it is supposed to be at. Yeast can be lazy sometimes, and go dormant before it finishes the job. By racking before terminal gravity, CO2 will still be created in the secondary fermenter, blowing off any oxygen in the fermenter. It is ok to leave the beer on dormant yeast for a while, but eventually the yeast will degrade because it is sitting in its own waste (alcohol). This process is called yeast autolysis. To sum things up, you dont have to do anything, but sometimes the more you do, the higher chance you have to make a better tasting beer by removing the possibilities of off flavors. It all depends on how in depth you want to get, how much time and money you want to spend, and ultimately..... how good do you want that beer to taste.

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Old 02-26-2012, 05:59 AM   #3
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I think myself and many other people on this board would agree that a secondary is completely unnecessary unless you enjoy cleaning buckets. When I started brewing I almost always did a secondary with my beer. After doing some research and trying it for myself, I find that I really can't tell the difference between a beer that was in secondary and one that wasn't. The yeast will do there job just fine if provided with the proper amount of yeast at the correct temperature. dying yeast creating off flavors just doesn't happen.

I think the more important question is did you measure your starting gravity and how long has the beer been fermenting? Also, what is the gravity at currently?

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Old 02-26-2012, 06:28 AM   #4
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do what feels best for your personality. i.e. some of us can't resist checking and re-checking, testing gravity, sniffing and smelling, counting bubbles and racking to secondary. Some of us are content to let it sit and check the FG after a many weeks. I know it is going to drive me crazy letting a belg. trip. sit in a secondary for more than 6 months but will try to resist the urge to poke and prod it anyway. Maybe my tampering will cause an infection or it might just satisfy my animal curiosity and make an unforgetable surprise who knows. Nobody will die and life goes on. If you get a great beer, whoooot whoot, if not, what is next? Lesson learned. And remember, pitch lots of yeasts---- that really really does make a definite diff. IMHO

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Old 02-26-2012, 07:52 AM   #5
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If you haven't checked your gravity, do it. I've had beers finish out in 1/2 the time I expected-- I thought they were stuck until I checked, and it turned out they were practically done.

Whatever you do, make sure it's done fermenting before you bottle it, by checking the OG a couple days before and then on the day of.

Most of us agree that there's no shame in leaving your beer in the primary for up to a month, if you can stand to wait. Pitching more yeast probably won't help at this point (it might have at the beginning, but not now). Secondary wouldn't be my route because you are getting rid of most of your yeast in the process. You can go from primary to bottling, no secondary, with this beer. You could consider rousing the yeast by gently swirling the bucket.

This used to happen to me before I started oxygenating it like crazy (shaking) before pitching yeast. It'd always finish out, but would just take longer in the primary.

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Old 02-28-2012, 04:44 PM   #6
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Great information in these replies. Thank you!

This is a second brew from a kit, and I have hit the upper range for FG specified in the kit. The fermentation appears to have stopped and I have primed and bottled it. I decided against a secondary fermenter, it seems an unnecessary risk of infection when I could just bottle it and wait for it to age and carbonate. More information is definitely better though, if it leads me to making a better brew.

Thank you all
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