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Old 04-02-2013, 12:07 AM   #1
Voodoogruv
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I'm a first time brewer with a partial grain/partial extract stout brew currently in the secondary. I went eight days in the primary and have been in the secondary for two weeks with plans to bottle this weekend after nearly three weeks in the secondary. I am still seeing some gurgling of my airlock and signs of active fermentation, although slow, are there. Should 8 put off bottling for a couple more weeks?

 
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:13 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voodoogruv View Post
I'm a first time brewer with a partial grain/partial extract stout brew currently in the secondary. I went eight days in the primary and have been in the secondary for two weeks with plans to bottle this weekend after nearly three weeks in the secondary. I am still seeing some gurgling of my airlock and signs of active fermentation, although slow, are there. Should 8 put off bottling for a couple more weeks?
The only way to know for sure is to take some hydrometer readings. Take a reading every day for 3 days, if the reading doesn't change you are good to bottle.
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:15 AM   #3
BlackGoat
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yes, airlock activity can mean a lot of things. You need to take gravity readings to know if its ready.

 
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:16 AM   #4
Cyclman
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+1 on readings. Probably is done, but not worth risking bottle bombs.

Congrats.
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:13 AM   #5
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If you'd prefer to not see the airlock bubbling, I have a bucket who's lid leaks a little so the airlock never bubbles. I use a hydrometer to tell if my beer is done or not, same as you should. Airlocks lie....a lot.

 
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:38 AM   #6
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Although I completely agree with other posters that you need to check your reading. I have concern about other issues. First of all, why are you using a secondary fermenter? It does not sound like you are aging the beer, therefore I would suggest that you not use a secondary. Generally speaking, the secondary may cause more harm than help at this stage. There is no problem keeping the beer in the primary for a solid month, in fact that is a lot better so the yeast can fully ferment the beer and clean up all the diacetyl and other random unwanting flavors. If you allow time, the yeast will settle to the bottom. I am assuming you are using a secondary to make a clearer, less sediment beer. This is not neccessary if you use a racking cane and pay attention towards the bottom so that you can pull it up when you begin to see sediment entering the beer.

Second, 8 days in the primary may not be enough time. Even if you do not see action in the airlock and your F.G. is where you want it to be, the yeast still needs time to finish every step. Trust me, great beer is worth the time.

 
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:53 AM   #7
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I agree with Pierre. I use a secondary for age and extra clarification. My fermentation can go as so, of course varies.

Primary 3 weeks
Secondary 2 weeks
Bottle/Keg 2 + weeks

 
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:56 AM   #8
Voodoogruv
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Thanks for the great tips. I think next batch I will keep it in the primary longer so that the time spent in the secondary is purely a conditioning phase(I prefer non-cloudy beer). I guess the major thing I am asking is will it harm the beer at all to sit in the secondary for a couple more weeks? Even if my grav readings are stable for three days?

 
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voodoogruv View Post
Thanks for the great tips. I think next batch I will keep it in the primary longer so that the time spent in the secondary is purely a conditioning phase(I prefer non-cloudy beer). I guess the major thing I am asking is will it harm the beer at all to sit in the secondary for a couple more weeks? Even if my grav readings are stable for three days?
No, it won't hurt the beer.

If you are seeking clearer beer, use whirlfloc @ 10 minutes and cold crash @ 38*F three days before bottling. That will clear it up rather nicely. I just bottled a chocolate stout 9 days ago straight out of the primary (where it had been 3 weeks) that turned out very clear that way. No need for a secondary.

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Old 04-02-2013, 04:23 AM   #10
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No, it will not harm the beer to sit in the secondary for a couple more weeks. As long as you have a properly working air-lock and your beer fills up most of the secondary fermenter, you can keep the beer in there for quite some time (I say this because of oxidation problems. The less empty space in the secondary, the less oxygen in the fermenter). In fact, it is adviseable to age barleywines and other higher gravity beers in the secondary for months on end. Of course at that stage, you need to add new yeast before bottling. But in your case, the yeast will last no problem in the secondary for a couple of weeks.

Age it for around 2 more weeks and then carbonate as usual. I have also had good results letting the beer condition for a few weeks after you carbonate as well. Patience while brewing is a hard thing, something I have yet to master. Let me know how it turns out.

 
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