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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Transfered to secondary too early - leave it?
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:21 PM   #1
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Default Transfered to secondary too early - leave it?

Hello to all,

I've had my first lager, a Czech style dark lager, going in primary for about 2 weeks at ~50 deg. F. The OG was 1.065 and I was using Wyeast Budvar which claims to have 71-75% attenuation so I should be expecting a FG of 1.016-1.020. The gravity got down below 1.020 and the bubbling was pretty slow so I transferred it to secondary reasoning (rationalizing?) that such a small amount of fermentation wouldn't produce much more yeast. I let it sit at RT for a couple of hours and, wouldn't you know it, the bubble rate picked up to about 1 bubble every 8 seconds. I stuck it back into the fridge and upped the temperature to 65 F and now 2 days later I've got about 1/8 to 1/4 inch of yeast at the bottom and it's still bubbling away. Gravity is down to 1.014. I've made up my mind to let it go for another week or so just to be sure everything is done.

My questions are the following

1) Are attenuations that unreliable (I've got 78% right now)?

2) When fermentation finally does stop should I rack back to another container for lagering so it doesn't sit on the yeast?

Any help would be greatly appreciated


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Old 02-28-2010, 11:25 PM   #2
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well first fermentation produces alcohol and CO2. yeast reproduction produces more yeast. the two things are related but not the same.

yes you racked to soon, your beer wasn't done fermenting. you should make sure fermentation is completely done before you rack a beer anywhere. typically for the last third of a lager fermentation you are supposed to up the temp 10F to help remove some off flavors. only when fermentation is over do you rack to a secondary to prevent autolysis and lager. if i where you i would wait for fermentation to finish completely, rack to another carboy, then lager.


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Old 03-01-2010, 11:29 PM   #3
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bubbles mean nothing. NEVER EVER use the airlock as any kind of gauge of 'is it done/should I rack it'.

Ever.

Hydrometer is the only way to do it.

Having said that, yes, leave it alone now for 2-3 weeks and it'll be ok.
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:31 PM   #4
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Your airlock is a great gauge. It gauges when it's time to take a hydrometer reading.
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Old 03-02-2010, 12:09 AM   #5
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I suspect everyone's done that.

Yah leave it until you see it sitting on top of a yeast cake that you just know has to be eliminated.
Then rack it off again.
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Old 03-02-2010, 12:13 AM   #6
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Well, lagers are a bit different than ales. I like to leave it in primary until it's about 75% done, and then do a diacetyl rest if needed. Allow it to finish fermentintg, then rack to secondary and begin lagering.

You can wait until it's done now, and I'm guessing you are sort of doing a diacetyl rest, since you have active yeast.

What I would do now is wait until it's completely finished, and then taste for diacetyl. ( A butter flavor, or even a "slick" mouthfeel). Then, if there is no diacetyl, rack it off of the yeast cake and begin lagering. If there is any hint of diacetyl, leave it on the yeast cake until it's gone.
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Old 03-02-2010, 05:53 AM   #7
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Thanks all,

I did taste the beer that I pulled off to take the gravity reading (I wasn't going to just pour it down the drain). I didn't notice any buttery flavor or slickness in my mouth but I did up the temp to about 65 F just to be sure. I probably won't get a chance to mess with it until the weekend now anyway. I was going to check it Friday afternoon/evening. If it reads the same Friday and Saturday should I rerack of should I wait a few days just to be sure?

Furthermore, does anyone have any input on how long to lager for? I've heard 3-4 weeks, I've heard 1 week per degree plato (16 weeks). I probably can't wait 4 months for the beer. Maybe 2.
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:22 PM   #8
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You're probably OK, but do the ramped warm up with the primary, then chill it to 35F, then rack to secondary for lagering.
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:25 PM   #9
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A good "rule" for lagers is a week of lagering for every 8-10 points of OG. So, for a 1.060 lager, 6-8 weeks is good.
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pivovar_Koucky View Post
My questions are the following

1) Are attenuations that unreliable (I've got 78% right now)?

2) When fermentation finally does stop should I rack back to another container for lagering so it doesn't sit on the yeast?

Any help would be greatly appreciated
1) The attenuation given by the yeast supplier is just a general guideline. Actual attenuation depends on the sugar composition of your wort. If you have more fermentables, naturally you will get a drier beer. Converse is also true.

2) Lagering is usually done in the secondary and not the primary. So, yes, you need to rack it to remove it from the yeast bed. I have heard of many cases of brewers just lagering in the primary with no problems though. Rational being autolysis and off flavors do not develop so quickly at lagering temperatures. So it is up to you. Maybe you can try splitting the batch into 2 and lager in different containers to see the difference.


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