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Old 05-10-2011, 07:51 PM   #1
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Default When to Transfer from Primary to Secondary?

Hey guys - just recently joined the forum but have already got some great advice on my first home brew. I had read some other threads to try and find an answer, but my situation is a bit different so I thought I'd start my own thread. I'm brewing a Baron's Pale Ale kit that I started last Friday May 6. It's been fermenting for 4 days now. The kid suggests transferring to a secondary between 3-6 days, but I was going to do it on the 7th day. I've been reading that most people wait much longer (usually 2-3 weeks?), but I'm not sure if this is the right decision for me for a few reasons.

- Unfortunately I don't have a hydrometer, so I don't have any readings to go off. I will definitely be investing in one for my next batch
- I'm not sure how great the seal is on my primary fermenting bucket. It is a food grade ~40 L bucket, with a lid and a tiny hole in the middle for an airlock (which fits quite tight), but not big enough for a bung. I'm seeing no activity in the airlock, and the seal around the edges seems a bit loose to me, so I'm just a bit worried it's not quite as safe and sealed as it should be.

My two questions would be...

1) What is the advantage of waiting an extra week or two as far as the beer goes?

2) Given my situation with my primary fermentation bucket, should I wait it out or rack it within the next couple of days to prevent possible harm to the beer? Or is it already too late?

Thanks, looking forward to your responses.

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Old 05-10-2011, 07:55 PM   #2
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1) the yeast will finish the fermentation process AND clean up the by-products of that process after doing so.

2) I would wait at least 3 weeks total. If you really want to move it to a 'secondary' vessel after that, knock yourself out.

3) To Worry is against the rules.

4) Throw those kit instructions away.

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Old 05-10-2011, 08:13 PM   #3
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1) the yeast will finish the fermentation process AND clean up the by-products of that process after doing so.

2) I would wait at least 3 weeks total. If you really want to move it to a 'secondary' vessel after that, knock yourself out.

3) To Worry is against the rules.

4) Throw those kit instructions away.
This is what I do, too. Three weeks in the primary then it goes to bottle or keg. Secondary is useful for oaking, adding fruit or dry hopping, stuff like that though.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:21 PM   #4
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I wouldn't worry about the bucket either; many people do completely open fermentations and never have any problems. Plus, by now any damage that would have been done probably would have happened (if it was going to, which is very unlikely IMO). + 1 to letting it sit in the bucket for three or four weeks and then bottling. Also, you should get a hydrometer as soon as you can, it will be your best guide for when to move to secondary and/or bottle. Welcome to the addiction!

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Old 05-10-2011, 08:24 PM   #5
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I look for the krausen layer to sink into the beer and all active signs of fermentation to go away to determine when my primary fermentation has completed. When I see that this has happened I'll gently rock my fermenters from side to side several times to rouse the yeast back into suspension, this usually causes more krausen to form over the next few days and is an indication that the fermentation was not completely finished before rousing.

Of course another way to tell if the primary fermentation is complete is to use a hydrometer to check if you've hit your targeted final gravity. If you have the same reading for 2 days or more and you hit the final gravity you're done. If the final gravity is still too high try rousing the yeast to see if sparks more fermentation.

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Old 05-10-2011, 08:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BendBrewer View Post
1) the yeast will finish the fermentation process AND clean up the by-products of that process after doing so.

2) I would wait at least 3 weeks total. If you really want to move it to a 'secondary' vessel after that, knock yourself out.

3) To Worry is against the rules.

4) Throw those kit instructions away.
what he said
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:18 PM   #7
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When in doubt give it another week.

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Old 05-10-2011, 09:28 PM   #8
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When in doubt give it another week.
Agreed, and walking away from the beer and forgetting about it gets easier after a few batches, at least it has for me.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:30 PM   #9
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Agreed, and walking away from the beer and forgetting about it gets easier after a few batches, at least it has for me.
Start another 'hobby' that takes even longer and waiting for your beer to finish is nothing.........
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BendBrewer

Start another 'hobby' that takes even longer and waiting for your beer to finish is nothing.........
like mead making.
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