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Old 05-03-2014, 01:27 AM   #1
May 2014
Morristown, NJ
Posts: 50
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I'm part way through my first home brew attempt, currently 9 days into secondary aiming to bottle up in another 8 days (I'm amazed I've been this patient). It's little low on volume but got my gravity as I wanted and the sample I tasted last night was pretty enjoyable so I'm happy enough.

Anyway during my initial giddiness I'd planned on doing another brew this weekend, then transfer that to the secondary when the first is bottled next weekend. My bottling bucket just so happens to double up as my primary so when remembering that having 2 containers full of different beers trying to switch which beer is in which container led to a palm face dint in my forehead.

So I still want to do some brewing this weekend so I can build up a pipeline which leaves me a couple of options of the priming and bottling process:

1) put the priming sugar (I'm tempted to use honey rather than corn sugar just so I can do a brew without "sugar") into the carboy and bottle from there.

2) Rack into my kettle for priming then bottle from there, the problem is this has my very dominant lazy gene kicking up a stink.

My issue with 1 is that I didn't recover any yeast from the primary (I whimped out when I realised I didn't have a clue what I was doing) and I was hoping to recover some from the secondary but I don't know if the priming sugar would do anything to the yeasts that would make them unsuitable for re-use?

Any problems with either solution?
Yorkshire Born and Bred, got drunk one time now seem to be living in New Jersey.

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Old 05-03-2014, 01:46 AM   #2
JimRausch's Avatar
Jan 2012
Ellsworth, Maine
Posts: 1,624
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So- you have 1 bottling bucket and one carboy, correct?
Best solution= go to your LHBS and pick up a bucket to use as your fermenter. While you're there, pickup two. Don't forget the airlocks.
Second best solution is to use the bottling bucket to bottle the 1st batch now, and use that carboy as your fermenter.
IMO when you use a bottling bucket as a fermenter you're asking for trouble- leakage through the spigot.
By the way- there's very seldom enough of a good yeast layer on the bottom of a secondary to make it worth harvesting.
And, sorry I'm being a Debbie-downer here: you are aware that honey is a sugar, right? Fructose and glucose. Guess what table sugar is- fructose and glucose, chemically joined. Corn sugar is glucose. So, all three work well, as long as you add a proper amount. Use a priming sugar calculator(Northern Brewer has a good one). Good luck!
Primary: Nova Scotia PA
Cold Conditioning: Batch87 Bock, December Marzen, Vienna Lager
Bottle conditioning: Ben's DoubleAlt, 1 G Cider, Peach wine, Dandelion wine
Drinking: Jim's Altbier, October Kolsch, Gunslinger Cranberry Graf, RIS, Redrum Rye, PBR 4.0, Clarence Stout, German Pilsner 'Wannabe', Jamaica Mon Ginger beer, Fruit/Moon series, Moose Maple Slobber, Batch 64 Bock, several others

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Old 05-03-2014, 01:47 AM   #3
Jan 2012
Berkley, Michigan
Posts: 1,331
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Well, a couple things.

Since you've already transferred that first batch to secondary, there probably isn't much yeast for you to recover and save. So, it might not be worth the trouble.

Also, if you pour your priming sugar into the carboy and bottle from there, you will likely leave behind at least a little bit of the sugar. Then, if you do get some yeast out of there and into a jar, there will be sugar for that yeast to eat. That means that if you seal up the jar, you could have a nice yeast explosion after a few days. It'll just build up pressure and most jars aren't built to hold in that kind of pressure. That means, you'd have to monitor it (open every 6-12 hours to release CO2) or put it in something with an airlock.

Another thought, if you dump in your priming sugar, you will have to stir it in a bit to avoid uneven priming/carbonation. So, either you will just stir up all the yeast into solution and end up with a ton of trub in your bottles (and even less left for you to recover and save). Or the sugar will be unevenly mixed, and you'll get some bottles that turn out flat from not getting any sugar and others will turn into gushers from getting too much sugar.

If I were you, I'd just bottle that first batch and then brew the second batch. You could get the new batch started and just be sure to transfer your first batch to the bottling bucket with the priming sugar to free up the non-bottling bucket for primary. It would just take a little planning and some awareness while you work, but it shouldn't be too difficult to get the timing right for it to work out. You'll just be busy the whole time. Just make sure you don't RDWHAHB until you are more than halfway through the process and you should be alright.

[Jim beat me to it, and it looks like he is giving you similar advice.]
Fermenting - BBD Sour; Oat No! (an Oat Wine); Signpost Old Ale; Chris' Tall Ale 2.0; SSB (Signpost Sour Blonde); County Western Bottled - NB Ares' Biere de Mars; Ol' Bitter Bastard; Chris' Tall Ale; 4 small batch sour blends - 1 w/ cherries and 1 w/ peaches; Back To School Porter w/cacao & vanilla; Signpost Creek Paint Cider; Signpost Oud Bruin; Land of Pils and Honey, Imp. Saison with Clover Honey; Ad Hoc Berliner Weisse Kegged - BBD WIPA (but I think it has chlorophenolics); Keg #2 is EMPTY!

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Old 05-03-2014, 01:48 AM   #4
Sep 2012
Posts: 119
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Uhh... you've had your beer in the carboy clarifying and now you are considering adding sugar (or whatever) and stirring it in?

You really have to give the beer a good stir after you add the sugar. If you did that in the carboy, you'd destroy all your good efforts at clarifying.

Basically racking the beer out of the carboy for bottling is an important step in and of itself.

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Old 05-03-2014, 02:55 AM   #5
Mar 2010
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The right answer is, go and get an additional fermenter.

But ......... if that is not practical, here is a suggestion:

- rack your first beer back into the bottling bucket. Add priming sugar when you are ready, stir, and bottle from there.

- use your secondary as the primary for the second batch. Just make sure you rig up a blow-off.

- contrary to what others have said, I think you will get plenty of yeast from secondary for a new batch. I've done it a number of times. There are many good reasons why this is not a practice to use on a continuing basus, but will not have any issues for the occasional batch.

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Old 05-03-2014, 03:04 AM   #6
May 2014
Morristown, NJ
Posts: 50
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Thanks for all the advice.

Yes JimRausch my kit came with with a bottling bucket (If memory serves the kit advertised it as a fermenting bucket) and carboy, thankfully I had no problems with leaking on that first brew. I'm aware that it's all just sugar, hence the double quotes around the word "sugar".

Seems like the solution is to rack the beer into something else, I guess that's all part of the learning curve, I'll try to get to the LHBS to get another fermenting bucket tomorrow, otherwise I'll make do with it going back in the kettle.
Yorkshire Born and Bred, got drunk one time now seem to be living in New Jersey.

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Old 05-03-2014, 03:33 AM   #7
Puddlethumper's Avatar
Feb 2013
San Joaquin Valley, California
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Originally Posted by GotDrunkThenLost View Post
I'll try to get to the LHBS to get another fermenting bucket tomorrow, otherwise I'll make do with it going back in the kettle.
The only things that distinguish a "bottling bucket" from a "fermenting bucket" are the presence of a spigot in the bottom you can use for ease of bottling, a tight fitting lid and an airlock. So if you want to rack your beer to your brew kettle and siphon it from there to the bottles, go for it. No problem. Just be sure to use the NB priming sugar calculator or something similar, boil the water and dissolve the proper amount of sugar, and stir it in with a sanitized spoon or whisk.

All good beers have 4 things in common:

1. A good recipe closely followed
2. Good ingredients
3. Good sanitation
4. Excellent temperature control


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Old 05-03-2014, 05:14 AM   #8
Mar 2012
Memphis, Tennessee
Posts: 539
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Just a few additional points that came to mind when reading though the thread:

1) Honey works fine for priming but I have heard from a number of people that it can be a little tricky to dose correctly. Corn sugar or table sugar is much more predictable.

2) You *can* harvest yeast from secondary but I wouldn't do it for two reasons. First, you will be selecting for the less flocculant and generally less desirable yeast (the good stuff got left behind in the primary). The second reason is simply that this is your first batch. Sanitation is very important when harvesting yeast and any slip-up at any stage can lead to an infected second batch. Unless you are very confident about your sanitation, I would hold off for a few more batches. Also, are you using a liquid yeast for your first batch? If you are using dry yeast then there isn't really any reason to harvest since it's so cheap (in my opinion at least).
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Old 05-03-2014, 06:25 AM   #9
Aug 2012
Carson City, Nv
Posts: 2,601
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Personally, I'm too cheap to buy carboys, but I really hate to siphon, actually. I once went through the "I am fermenting in the wrong container". I currently own all buckets, and all buckets have spigots. That way, it doesn't matter which bucket I use for anything. Ever since I converted my freezer into a temperature controlled fermenter, when the fermentation is done, I drop the temperature to 32* F and cold crash until beer is clear. I didn't see you mention if you were all grain/pm or extract.
I crash my BK as low as possible, and then pour through a 4 layer strainer into my primary. There is always a little "silt" that gets through, but the vast majority of the trub produces it's own filter in the strainer. I now lose less than 1 quart going from the brew kettle into the fermenter. I used to lose almost a gallon. With that said, there is very little lees in the bottom of the primary, and very easy to cold crash, once again, leaving very little beer behind.
Primary: 3 gal. apple skin wine, 5 gal Grad Cider part Trois
Freezer: Graduation Cider Part Deux .
Conditioning Room: Graduation Cider Parts One and Deux
In process currently: 4 gallons of Ice Cider fermenting at 55* F

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