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A few more questions for the second batch...

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Doug

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Hey all,

I posted a bit ago about dry hopping. I threw in some pellet hops in my secondary on my second attempt at home brewing and was worried about how they are just sitting at the top. They are still there, but I guess that's not the end of the world.

I've been reading in other places that you should do the secondary in a carboy that is nearly full, so oxygen doesn't affect the beer. I'm actually using a 6 gallon carboy, and it's probably only filled to 4.5. Two questions here:

1) Should have I transferred more from the primary? I left about an inch of sludge. I hope I didn't leave too much yeast, now that I realize I need it? What's the guideline for how much to leave behind in this step?

2) Am I in trouble with all that space in my carboy? I saw it bubble about twice in the past week, meaning I'm not sure there was enough fermentation still happening to push out the O2 with CO2.

Also, while I'm at it, I'm about to bottle here. I've looked around, but I haven't been able to really be sure about how full to go on each of the bottles. How much space to people like to leave?

Again, this forum is the greatest thing I've discovered since discovering home brewing. Thanks for the help in advance.

- Doug
 

brewhead

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Also, while I'm at it, I'm about to bottle here. I've looked around, but I haven't been able to really be sure about how full to go on each of the bottles. How much space to people like to leave?
usually 1 to 1 1/2 inches from the top of the bottle depending on your bottle. i generally do 1 inch

1) Should have I transferred more from the primary? I left about an inch of sludge. I hope I didn't leave too much yeast, now that I realize I need it? What's the guideline for how much to leave behind in this step?
if all that was left was an inch - i'd say you got all you needed. suprisingly enough, 99.9% of the time there is enough suspended yeasties in the wort to continue any fermentation though - in the secondary there really won't be much at all if any. as far as a guideline - i siphon off down to about 1 to 1 1/2 inches. because what you want happening in the secondary is clarification rather than aggresive fermentation.

and i don't think you're gonna usually have enough fermentation action in the secondary to "push out" the O2.

some people dry hop in the primary because it interferes less with the clarification process in the secondary. others prefer dry hopping in the secondary because there is less vigorous fermentation in the secondary and the aroma and flavoring will infuse better in the secondary.
 

cbotrice

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I keg my beer so I don't have a use for the priming sugar that is in my true brew kits. I use about 1/2 cup of priming sugar and about 1 cup water boiled and added to my carboy (after it cools) then rack from primary to carboy and add the hop pellets I want to dry hop with. This gives it more than enough fermentation for co2 development in the carboy and uses up some of my extra sugar. At least that is what I have been doing, for what ever that is worth. MPW
 

Sasquatch

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Doug, my thoughts on your extra space are that it's okay if the fermentation is still pretty active ( racked my current batch after 5 days in primary, and it's still putting out quite a bit of C02, so I didn't top up the carboy). If your fermentation is closer to done, (check with hydrometer?) you might want to top things up for the reasons you've mentioned - I understand you should boil and cool the topping water to limit infection possibilities...

If you top up your carboy, you'll be adding something like 30%(rough est) more water, you're beer is going to be pretty weak, so be a bit careful there...

How long has your beer been going, in both primary and 2ndary?
 

brewhead

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not meaning to hijack the thread but why would you rack to a secondary before active fermentation was complete?
 

Sasquatch

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My understanding (as a guy who has now brewed a staggering 3 batches of beer) is that prolonged contact with the sediment from the initial fermentation has a negative effect on taste. The secondary concern is to get the beer racked before fermentation is totally complete because you want to drive CO2 out of the carboy or keg to keep things a) from oxidizing and b) from growing unwanted stuff

Which is to say my understanding of this racking business is that it isn't incredibly important exactly when you do it. The thing that really matters is making sure fermenting is totally complete so that when you bottle, you know how much CO2 is going to be made, and you won't blow your bottles up.

Hopefully some more experienced brewers will chime in here.
 
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Doug said:
Am I in trouble with all that space in my carboy?
Even though your lock is not bubbling, the slightest bit of CO2 will provide a thin layer of protection over the surface of the beer. Just transfering from primary to secondary stirs the beer enough to release the CO2 in sufficient quantities to perform this function.
 
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Doug

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Thanks again for the help.

This batch was in the primary for a little short of a week, and then in secondary now 10 days. I'll probably bottle tonight or sometime before mid-week. So, what's done is done as far as the O2 exposure. I'll give it a taste and follow up here. Anything bad that happened will probably be reflected in the pre-bottling taste I am guessing. There are bubbles on the top of the hops layer though, and even today I saw a few escape the lock, so I'm thinking I'm alright.

Ok, armed with new knowledge, it's time to get started on my next batch...

- Doug
 
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