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Old 08-04-2011, 01:58 PM   #1
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Default Transporting fermenting beer (in secondary) by car

This weekend (August 7), I plan to start my X-mas brew, a bourbon barrel porter. The thing is, I am moving in mid September. Only about an hour away. By that time, it is possible that the beer will still be fermenting and not yet bottle conditioning. It would be in a secondary.

I've read some threads that imply others have moved fermenting beer by car without issues (i.e. RDWHAHB):
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/transporting-fermenting-beer-247024/
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/transporting-fermenting-beer-help-189637/
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/transport-primary-fermenter-car-during-fermentation-184436/

But the comments in those threads suggest that the best time to transport is during active primary fermentation. With my schedule, the move would be well into the secondary fermentation.

I don't have time to wait until after the move to do the brew, because everything I've read about this beer (which I need for the holidays) says that the longer it sits, the better it gets.

My options are to (1) carefully move the fermenter (covered from light, air conditioning blasting, kept as unstirred as possible by the car), or (2) potentially cut the secondary fermentation a little short and bottle early (3 weeks in primary, probably 2 in secondary).

I'm leaning towards the latter because it isn't really that short for a secondary fermentation. What I'm really concerned about is trying to fit a bottling session in while the house is in chaos and I'm about to move. If I don't find the time to bottle, will I mess up the beer by transporting during secondary fermentation?



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Old 08-06-2011, 01:05 PM   #2
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I'd bottle before i left.... but ya gotta do what ya gotta do



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Old 08-06-2011, 08:02 PM   #3
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Dude, your beer is probably done "fermenting" within 3-4 days. Beyond that, I really dont think it's going to hurt your beer to move it. Especially if you have it off the yeast cake in secondary. By that point, it's no different than putting it in a keg and aging in a keg. The beer gets sloshed around when you do this too. You'll be fine.

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Old 08-06-2011, 08:23 PM   #4
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Fermenting should be finished BEFORE it's in a secondary. Fermentation is usually done within 4-7 days of yeast pitch.

I wouldn't move a beer in secondary. All that sloshing is pretty much going to oxygentate the beer. Oxygen + fermented beer = liquid cardboard.

I agree with Shafferpilot, I would bottle it before you move them. That way they're in a sealed, air tight, environment.You can still let them condition.

A secondary is NOT like a keg. It's not an airtight environment.

The only time it is truly safe to move a beer not in a keg or bottles is within the first 24-48 hours after yeast pitch. Before fermentation has really taken off. That way the yeast will use any of the oxygen that gets in there during the fermentation process.

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Old 08-06-2011, 10:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Fermenting should be finished BEFORE it's in a secondary. Fermentation is usually done within 4-7 days of yeast pitch.

I wouldn't move a beer in secondary. All that sloshing is pretty much going to oxygentate the beer. Oxygen + fermented beer = liquid cardboard.

I agree with Shafferpilot, I would bottle it before you move them. That way they're in a sealed, air tight, environment.You can still let them condition.

A secondary is NOT like a keg. It's not an airtight environment.

The only time it is truly safe to move a beer not in a keg or bottles is within the first 24-48 hours after yeast pitch. Before fermentation has really taken off. That way the yeast will use any of the oxygen that gets in there during the fermentation process.
+1
I would bottle and then transport. That way, you don't have to worry at all, and you can just store it in your basement or someplace cool at your new house and forget about it for a few months. Like the others have said, if you need to give it the full 2 weeks in secondary due to adding flavors (bourbon, vanilla bean, etc.), then maybe you can just transfer it to secondary a little early to give it more time on those flavors.
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:41 PM   #6
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I would get a keg and at least a pocket charger (and gas side QD) to transport the brew. I would also leave it in primary as long as possible (i.e. until it's actually ready) and then rack to the keg. You can age it in there for as long as you like. Plus, displacing the oxygen with pure CO2 means you can transport it safely.

I keg/bottle my brews where I ferment them, which is not where I live (stupid LL)... I bring the kegs home after filling with brew, but leave the bottles at the brew location. I do purge the keg of air/oxygen before transporting them. Even though my drive is only about 30 minutes, there's some typical New England roads between the two locations. So, better to have CO2 in the keg, than atmospheric air.

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Old 08-07-2011, 12:36 AM   #7
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Before I start yapping stuff I know nothing about, let it be said that I am a nooooobie who is making a first batch of beer currently. But I have made many wines. Is your secodary in a glass carboy? If so, you could place saran wrap or something like a bag into the neck of the carboy and fill it with air/water,etc to effectively raise the fluid level up the neck of the carboy, then cork the secondary with a bung stopper until you get where you're going. The liquid being up in the neck will stop the sloshing effect for the most part.
Then when you get to your new place, take it out and re-airlock it.

Just a thought,
B.

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Old 08-07-2011, 12:46 AM   #8
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Is it in secondary being aged to be on wood or something? If not, then 3 or 4 weeks in primary, then bottle it. From the info you've given, I don't see any reason to secondary at all. If you were absolutely set on secondary, then 2 weeks is definitely enough to clear the beer.

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Old 08-07-2011, 01:20 AM   #9
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Not to hijack the thread or anything, but I've got a similar problem. I move back to school (about a 2 hour drive) in two weeks and my stout will have been in the primary for 3 weeks at this point. I can't bottle because they are already full and I'm going to be kegging when I get to school. Since its still in the primary should I be fine as long as I let it sit for a number of hours to let everything resettle before kegging?

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Old 08-07-2011, 03:31 AM   #10
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Default why not just wait?

If I were you and really worried about it, I would just wait to brew. But if you can't, then everyone else is right, unless you have a super high O.G., all fermentation will be done in a few days.



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