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Old 05-01-2013, 11:44 AM   #1
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Hey y'all, first time brewer and I'm 8 days into the secondary fermenter after a week in the primary and my batch has developed a ring of what appears to be a foamy substance. Is this normal or not? I'm worried I have something growing in there that shouldn't be!

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Old 05-01-2013, 11:49 AM   #2
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Don't give up on a batch of beer. There are hundreds of posts that sound just like yours.

If it smells okay, it is probably fine. If you drink it and there is something wrong with it, you should be fine since 10 million years of evolution has prepared you to digest just about anything! By the time you get to bottling/kegging, it will be obvious. Just remember that beer was made by people LONG before we understood germs.

MmmmMMMmmmbeer

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Old 05-01-2013, 12:07 PM   #3
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Sounds like there is still some fermenting going on. Eight days often is not enough time to have fully fermented, depending on a bunch of variables such as temperature,yeast, recipe.. Did the specific gravity stay the same (in the expected range) for at least three days? If it did the beer would have been done fermenting after only 5 days.

Beer that has fermented totally will still have CO2 in it that will bubble to the surface.

A picture would be great, but it sounds like everything is normal provided you made sure everything was clean and sanitized as you went along.

bosco

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Old 05-01-2013, 12:15 PM   #4
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Yeah, I'm leaving it in the secondary for 14 days so I'm still around a week from bottling, I haven't even checked the gravity, when I racked it to the secondary it was "clear" for like the first 6 days and then this foam appeared so that's kinda what made me wonder but yeah I've taken lots of time to properly sanitize the whole way...

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Old 05-01-2013, 04:39 PM   #5
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Sounds like the combination of CO2 off gassing and yeast rafts. 100% normal.

I bet it looks something like this:


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Old 05-01-2013, 05:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TopherM View Post
Sounds like the combination of CO2 off gassing and yeast rafts. 100% normal.

I bet it looks something like this:


Interesting . . . you appear to have your secondary not filled to the top. The dude (and boy was he a 'dude') at the LHBS suggested that I should make sure that when I moved the beer to the secondary, I should have it filled all the way to the neck. Something about minimizing the amount of air. So I ended up adding about a quart of boiled and cooled water since I didnt have enough beer. Now that I think about it, not sure it makes much sense -- if the beer is still outgassing, or even still fermenting, the CO2 should drive the air out.

Shrug. Its my first batch, Im not expecting perfection, just something tasty, a little extra water (~5%) wont kill anything, but if I dont need to do that next time, Id like to know.

To Bonnerhaus -- Mine has done the same thing. I figure its still fermenting a bit. (I also see a bit of yeast collecting at the bottom.) It tasted OK when I moved it to the secondary so Im not worried, but if something is wrong, at least you know youre not the only one.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:10 PM   #7
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Widsith, that was just a random image I pulled off Google. That is not the OP's beer. I'm fairly certain that the OP is just describing typical CO2 off-gassing, and wanted to illustrate what that looks like.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:51 PM   #8
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Fair enough, Im still curious if that is a reasonable fill level and if my LHBS steered me wrong by suggesting I need to fill the secondary to the neck to minimize air. Id prefer not to water down my next batch if I dont have to.

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Old 05-01-2013, 06:02 PM   #9
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Fair enough, Im still curious if that is a reasonable fill level and if my LHBS steered me wrong by suggesting I need to fill the secondary to the neck to minimize air. Id prefer not to water down my next batch if I dont have to.
Yes it is theoretically better to have less air in your secondary (that's why some people use a 6 gal carboy for primary and a 5 gallon one for secondary), but DO NOT water down your beer to fill up air space.

Back when I used to secondary (now I just do a long primary), I did it in a 6.5 gallon bucket with quite a bit of air space... never had any issues. The key is in racking the beer as gently as possible.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:03 PM   #10
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Hey guys, here's a pic of mine 9 days into secondary....it is definitely still fermenting!
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