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Old 09-05-2012, 04:10 AM   #1
FishOn69
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So I brewed my first extract batch 2 weeks ago. It was an Irish Red Ale with a OG of 1.042 and left it in primary for 7 days. I then racked to secondary at 1.012. I ended up not being happy with alcohol % so I added some brown sugar(raising gravity to 1.016 and was hoping for yeast to kick back up.

1. Are the yeast all dead because the sugar has not decreased and there are no signs of fermentation

2. When you rack to secondary does the yeast all die because of lack of sugar? and if so, how is sugar turned into carbonation during bottling.

Should I add small amounts of sugar in secondary to keep yeast alive periodically?

Today, I added 3lbs of frozen cherry to carboy to hopefully make a cherry irish red ale. Should I pitch new yeast to lower the remaining sugar?

I don't want any bottles bursting after bottling since the gravity is currently at 1.017+3lbs of sugar from frozen cherries.


Note-I will be moving to tertiary carboy for conditioning. Also I originally was only going to add cherry extract but decided to add frozen cherries and extract.

Sorry about all the questions. I've been researching a lot and have yet to find some answers. Like most first timers, I seem to be overthinking everything.

Cheers,
Dave


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Old 09-05-2012, 04:21 AM   #2
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I think typically a secondary vessel is the death of primary fermentation because you rack the beer away from the mass of yeast in the primary fermentor. There's enough yeast in suspension to carbonate after being sealed in a small bottle, but not really enough to make an appreciable difference in alcohol or gravity in a secondary. This is why most "secondaries" are not really for fermenting further but for conditioning the beer or clarifying it. My guess is you'd have to experiment with additional yeast to kick it back into gear, especially now that a bunch of fruit sugar is in the wort as well. I'm not sure what to expect due to the cherries, so hopefully someone will be able to comment on that and give you a firmer idea as to when it's safe to bottle. If you don't add more yeast and let it sit in this secondary for another week at least, it should be safe then. If you do add more yeast, then let it ferment for at least a couple or three weeks before you bottle.


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Old 09-05-2012, 04:23 AM   #3
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No the yeast aren't dead. Since racking to secondary there are just alot less of them. If your going to add sugar to increase alcohol you would want ti do that in primary do there are more yeast available. Also keep in mind adding raw sugar will thin the beer out as it will finish drier.
You should be ok it will just take longer ti get the job done. Sorry I can't recall what the other questions are. Someone else will come by I'm sure with a more knowledgable answer.
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:47 AM   #4
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Answers are in bold.

1. Are the yeast all dead because the sugar has not decreased and there are no signs of fermentation. No. But the other poster is right. You took the beer away from the majority of the yeast that is most capable of fermenting the type of sugar that you added. Give it time and it will become reduced, although the amount of time that it takes may not be worth it to you, because you can just make another batch. Most likey the yeast are in a anaerobic growth phase and are getting to producing enough yeast cells to ferement the rest of the batch. I doubt that, because when yeast are done fermenting they excrete a toxin that dosen't allow for other yeast, bacteria, etc., to take over their habitat (i.e. beer).

2. When you rack to secondary does the yeast all die because of lack of sugar? and if so, how is sugar turned into carbonation during bottling. Die is the wrong word for it. Floccualation is the word you're looking for. When the yeast have done all that they can do for your beer, they will find their way to the bottom of your carboy/bucket. When you're bottle conditioning, there is a minimal amount of yeast left in suspension (even if your beer is crystal clear to the naked eye) that will produce enough CO2 to carbontate your beer. It's a second fermentation in the bottle...it just happens to be a lot smaller and more controlled. This happens to fall, partially, into an advanced topic as to yeast. What is the order in which yeast fermet sugar. When bottle conditioning the brewer adds the simplest form of sugar, sucrose, to the bottles, which just happens to be the eastiest form of sugar for the yeast to metabolize.

Should I add small amounts of sugar in secondary to keep yeast alive periodically? No. See answer above. Do not add more simple sugars.

Today, I added 3lbs of frozen cherry to carboy to hopefully make a cherry irish red ale. Should I pitch new yeast to lower the remaining sugar? Adding more yeast isn't a bad idea. The yeast you used to ferment this batch has probably, or is in the process of, giving up on this batch. If you have a friend that knows how to make starters, this would be the time to bribe him with good beer. He/she's is going to need to tell you how to make a starter. Then, when that starter is at high krausen (probably at about the 12 hour mark), you're going to want to pitch that starter onto your beer. That starter of healthy yeast, at high krausen (i.e. actively fermenting), will take care of MOST of the sugar/cherry sugar left in your batch.

I don't want any bottles bursting after bottling since the gravity is currently at 1.017+3lbs of sugar from frozen cherries. See my answer above, or you will have cherry beer all over your ceilings.


Note-I will be moving to tertiary carboy for conditioning. Also I originally was only going to add cherry extract but decided to add frozen cherries and extract.Primary is perfect for most beers. In the case of this beer, in which you added an additional flavoring, secondary would be the most you'd want to go. Anything more than that and you'd want to do it in the keg or bottling bucket. Most of the brewers here don't even bother with secondary. Let your beer sit in primary for at least 14 days, and then either keg/bottle or move to secondary for additional flavoring.

There were some mistakes, but we've all made them. Keep making beer. As with all things that are worth doing, you need to learn from your mistakes and keep trying new things. You will get better.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:39 PM   #5
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Or you could go get a wyeast irish ale smack pack, once it swells up pitch it. I think you may be doing too much for a new brewer. Get the process down on a few easier brews first. If you make bad beer you may give up, don't. There is so much to learn, this is a great hobby, but take it one vrew at a time in steps. NASA didn't go to the moon on it's first launch.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:57 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the help. This weekend I'll be making some hard cider from nearby farms!
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:30 PM   #7
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You know, it's not too late to add some hop tea and turn it into an IPA.

Seriously though, you need to take the long view. A year from now, you will have made a dozen (more or less) batches. Do your experimenting IN BETWEEN batches (by picking the recipe you want), and LEAVE THE RECIPE ALONE while it's in process.

Right now, you've got a batch that is a Frankenstein monster of three different beers: an Irish Red; a higher-gravity Irish Red; and a Cherry something-or-other. If it doesn't turn out the way you like, you won't know what went wrong.

Keep it to one batch at a time. Cheers!
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:53 PM   #8
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Frazier, I think your right and I just need to be more patient.

The beer is bubbling every 35 seconds or so, I'm thinking about leaving it without pitching new yeast. Looks like the old yeast "woke up".

Do you guys think the yeast is handling the sugar or is it just oxygen bubbling out from the frozen cherries and from dropping them in?

Does it make sense to add the yeast?
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:54 PM   #9
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You can leave it as is. Take gravity readings though, so you know if it's the yeast getting back to work or CO2 getting knocked out of solution from the cherries.


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