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Clearing in Secondary?

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rocketman768

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So, the brewing book I have says that the beer will get substantially clearer in the secondary, and that is how you know when to bottle it. It has been 2 weeks since I put it in the secondary, and it is not much clearer than when I put it except for the fact that about a day or two after I put it in, a little yeast and crap settled to the bottom. The OG was 1.051 and it is fairly dark even though I just used amber LME. I don't really want to open it to get samples out, so do you think if I wait another week it might get a lot clearer and will let me know it's time to bottle?
 

avidhomebrewer

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I wouldn't solely rely on when the beer clears that it is time to bottle. Go with what your hydrometer says.
 
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rocketman768

rocketman768

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Are you saying that it will clear? Are you saying the hydrometer might say it's time to bottle when the beer hasn't cleared?

Is it ok to just sanitize the hydrometer and drop it into the beer and leave it?
 

ohiobrewtus

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As a general rule, it's time to bottle after 2 weeks in secondary. I've left brews in secondary as long as 8 weeks before (waiting for an open tap to keg them to) and they turned out great.

Bottom line, IMO, is that the longer you can stand to leave a brew the better. You're unlikely to do any damage to it by letting it sit in secondary.
 

eschatz

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yeah, you dont want to use clearness as an indicator of bottling. your hydrometer has all the answers. or if you're like me then just let it sit for a couple of weeks and then bottle and drink. since your OG is right in the middle for an ale then you probably wont need to worry. if your OG was alot higher then you'd need to take more time or take hydro readings. bottom line, if you want to be sure then take successive hydro readings to know when its stopped. otherwise, just be lazy like me and wait a couple of weeks. patience is the hardest skill in homebrewing to learn.
 

Professor Frink

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What kind of beer is it? Clearing doesn't necessarily mean lightening in color. If you used amber LME and added it at the beginning of the boil, then it'll probably be lighter in color. By clearing in the secondary, you get the yeast to come out of solution, especially high floculating yeast.
 

Reno Homebrewer

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LMEs tend to get darker when boiling less than 5 gallons too. As far as will your beer get clearer, that depends on a lot of factors. Did you get a good rolling boil to produce a good hot break? Did you cool the wort quickly to get a nice cold break? Did you add finings when you racked it to your secondary?
 
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rocketman768

rocketman768

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Reno Homebrewer said:
LMEs tend to get darker when boiling less than 5 gallons too. As far as will your beer get clearer, that depends on a lot of factors. Did you get a good rolling boil to produce a good hot break? Did you cool the wort quickly to get a nice cold break? Did you add finings when you racked it to your secondary?
I'm not sure about the hot break. I had to keep watching the wort the entire time because it kept wanting to leap out of the pot. I'd read that after 20 minutes of boiling that the foam would settle down, but that wasn't the case for me. However, I did cool the wort really quickly by freezing 1 gallon of spring water and pouring the wort over it when I transferred it to the primary. I didn't add anything when I transferred it to the secondary.
 

david_42

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Beer appears much darker in bulk than in a glass.

The clearing process can make the beer look darker, because the yeast and small particles reflect more light. When they settle, more of the light goes through the beer.

After two weeks, it should be ready to bottle.
 

riored4v

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eschatz said:
yeah, you dont want to use clearness as an indicator of bottling. your hydrometer has all the answers. or if you're like me then just let it sit for a couple of weeks and then bottle and drink. since your OG is right in the middle for an ale then you probably wont need to worry. if your OG was alot higher then you'd need to take more time or take hydro readings. bottom line, if you want to be sure then take successive hydro readings to know when its stopped. otherwise, just be lazy like me and wait a couple of weeks. patience is the hardest skill in homebrewing to learn.

just curious, but if you were to hit the FG before racking to a secondary, would you still need to check gravity to see when it's done?

I just racked my brew into secondary, and it already hit its FG after being in the primary for a hair over a week. I'd prefer to not and try to expose the beer to anything undesirable by taking excess reading.
 

paranode

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It's not really necessary to keep taking readings if you know you've hit your final gravity. The secondary is mainly meant to let a lot of the yeast in suspension fall out as well as to simply bulk age the beer which causes it to taste better. If you really want it clear you can crash-cool it overnight in a fridge before you bottle or keg. Although with bottling I don't know whether that's recommended because it will get most of the yeast out of suspension and you still need some to carb the bottles.
 

riored4v

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paranode said:
It's not really necessary to keep taking readings if you know you've hit your final gravity. The secondary is mainly meant to let a lot of the yeast in suspension fall out as well as to simply bulk age the beer which causes it to taste better. If you really want it clear you can crash-cool it overnight in a fridge before you bottle or keg. Although with bottling I don't know whether that's recommended because it will get most of the yeast out of suspension and you still need some to carb the bottles.

thanks.. thats what i was hoping/figured i would hear. i'm just using it to clear the beer a bit, plus to make room for batch #2.
 
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rocketman768

rocketman768

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david_42 said:
Beer appears much darker in bulk than in a glass.

The clearing process can make the beer look darker, because the yeast and small particles reflect more light. When they settle, more of the light goes through the beer.

After two weeks, it should be ready to bottle.
Thanks for the advice. I went ahead and bottled it today, and boy was it clear! I was expecting it to be cloudy since I thought it still would have some suspended yeast in it. It ended up looking ruby red like an Irish Red. Tasted good too. It was pretty much what I was hoping for except I will add more aroma hops at the very end of the boil next time.

I hope it carbonates since it was so clear...makes me wonder if the yeast can do the job.
 

sak3358

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I had the same appearance when in secondary with a Munich Helles. I was expecting a blond color, but it appeared amber in the secondary. I just racked it this weekend into kegs and took my final hydrometer readings. It appeared as a golden blond when removed from the secondary.....just as I wanted it to appear. Had to sample it, and it was EXCELLENT, nice flavor and mellow finish.....not too hoppy. Another 4-5 weeks in the keg, a little forced carb and I'll be ready. Brewing another batch this weekend......what a wonderful hobby.
 
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