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Old 10-06-2007, 12:38 AM   #1
shmevinator
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So I'm having one of those beginner's moments. I'm about 5 or 6 batches into my brewing career, thinking I'm getting how it works, and then I read through a few threads here and realize I'm missing something.

So this is about when to rack from primary to secondary. I thought that you rack from primary to secondary when the get over their initial excitement and the krausen falls, which so far has been anywhere from 3-5 days.

But now I've been reading about the 1-2-3 rule.

So how do you tell when it's time to rack from primary? Is the beer supposed to be at FG? Or a few points above? I think my confusion is that I thought some fermentation still occurred in secondary. Please set me straight!

 
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Old 10-06-2007, 12:51 AM   #2
Yooper
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Secondary fermenter is a misnomer- it's actually a clearing tank, or called a "bright tank" in breweries. I make wine, too, and in wine there really IS a secondary fermenter so I think we brewers just adopted the terminology.

The purpose of the clearing tank is just that- to allow the beer to clear and some of the yeast to fall out of suspension. You should move it there AFTER the fermentation is over. Sometimes it will drop a couple of points, but you can't count on it.

Beer can stay in the primary for a long time before the yeast starts to autolyze and cause off flavors, so a clearing tank isn't necessary. Still, I almost always use one. You should see the "gunk" that I have in the bottom of my carboy after I rack from the clearing tank. That is stuff that would have ended up in my bottles, if I hadn't had used the clearing tank.
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Old 10-06-2007, 12:53 AM   #3
sgbender
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the 1,2,3 rule has worked well for me

1wk primary
2wks secondary
3wks in the bottle

 
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Old 10-06-2007, 06:27 AM   #4
BlendieOfIndie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgbender
the 1,2,3 rule has worked well for me

1wk primary
2wks secondary
3wks in the bottle
nice! I hadn't heard of that yet. I love rules of thumb - just reassurance that your on track.

 
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Old 10-06-2007, 03:09 PM   #5
Got Trub?
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Just remember this is a "rule of thumb" and will work well for most "average" beers. If you are brewing bigger beers a longer primary fermentation will be needed as well as a longer conditioning period. For session beers (OG ~ 1.035)you can cut this down to 7-10 days total primary/secondary and then bottle. YMMV. As always taking FG readings is the gold standard - especially when you are starting out. With experience you will get to know your fermentation and can skip it.

 
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Old 10-06-2007, 05:42 PM   #6
shmevinator
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Got Trub?
Just remember this is a "rule of thumb" and will work well for most "average" beers. If you are brewing bigger beers a longer primary fermentation will be needed as well as a longer conditioning period. For session beers (OG ~ 1.035)you can cut this down to 7-10 days total primary/secondary and then bottle. YMMV. As always taking FG readings is the gold standard - especially when you are starting out. With experience you will get to know your fermentation and can skip it.
So just to be as clear as possible: I should measure the SG prior to racking to secondary and the reading should be at the expected FG?

 
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