First time using secondary

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MTate37

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My first IPA attempt (Midwest Ferocious IPA) will have been in primary for two weeks this Saturday. The recipe says to rack to secondary for dryhopping after seven to ten days. FG target is 1.112 to 1.118 and my last reading was 1.022. Should I go ahead and rack, or do I need to wait for two consecutive readings?

Has anyone brewed this kit? The first two gravity readings were very sweet and malty but the last one had great hop flavor. I can't wait to see what happens with more aroma and some carbonation.
 

inhousebrew

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1.022 is pretty high for an IPA. I'd wait it out another week, try swirling your carboy a couple times a day to get that yeast back in suspension if it fell out. No splashing, just light swirling to stir up the stuff on the bottom. Should help you drop a few points. You could also try bumping up the temp if you can get it somewhere warmer, that would also help it finish up.
 

ChessRockwell

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FG target is 1.112 to 1.118 and my last reading was 1.022. Should I go ahead and rack, or do I need to wait for two consecutive readings?
Your FG target definitely isn't 1.112 to 1.118 - I'm guessing this was your OG goal? Your FG being at 1.022 right now is probably about right if that was the case and your OG was that high (more of an IIPA?). Unless you meant 1.012 to 1.018 FG goal...

Either way, I'd do what the last poster suggested and if you've got the same reading a week from now, go ahead and rack to secondary.
 

highgravitybacon

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I don't know why, but when I used liquid malt extract, I could never get it to settle below about 1.018. So I quit using liquid and started using dried malt extract. Much more consistent performance. That doesn't help you I realize, and I'm not saying you messed up. Just sharing the grief with fermentations that don't cooperate. Did you perchance use liquid extract? This is my thesis so I need you to confirm it. This makes me feel better about myself.
 
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MTate37

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Your FG target definitely isn't 1.112 to 1.118 - I'm guessing this was your OG goal? Your FG being at 1.022 right now is probably about right if that was the case and your OG was that high (more of an IIPA?). Unless you meant 1.012 to 1.018 FG goal...
LOL...oops. That's a big typo. Seems like that would be a sticky, sweet, disgusting mess. SG target was 1.062 and FG target is between 1.012 to 1.018.
 
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MTate37

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I don't know why, but when I used liquid malt extract, I could never get it to settle below about 1.018. So I quit using liquid and started using dried malt extract. Much more consistent performance. That doesn't help you I realize, and I'm not saying you messed up. Just sharing the grief with fermentations that don't cooperate. Did you perchance use liquid extract? This is my thesis so I need you to confirm it. This makes me feel better about myself.
This is only my second batch, so unfortunately I can't confirm inconsistent performance of LME. I managed to hit the target FG of my first batch, and it looks like I'm in good shape on this one as well. This recipe called for 9.6 lbs of LME. Both containers were kept in fairly warm water while bringing my water up to temp and steeping my specialty grains, and I let them pour until they slowed to a drip. I am considering using DME or partial mash for my next batch. Having to hold a heavy container of LME over a pot while I slowly pour it in and stir at the same time is a PITA.

Do you find there is a difference in final color using DME? My first batch, a pale ale, is by no means pale in color. I didn't do a good job with the liquid addition as I had pieces of scorched extract from the bottom of the kettle floating around in the boil. There wasn't a lot but it was definitely there.
 

twistr25

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When are you adding the LME? I've been doing late to flame out additions and have had no issues with the scorching. Adding it earlier allows it to caramelize more and can give it a deeper color. I've had deeper steeping grains than the color of my LME, but I can tell it would be even darker if I added the LME at the beginning of the boil. Obviously important to make sure you remove your boil kettle completely off the heat too.
 

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Regarding your first post - I'd definitely give it another week or so at least. IF you're going to rack to secondary (there's a lot of debate around here as to whether or not that's really worthwhile, regardless of what your kit's instructions may tell you!), you should always wait for your beer to hit FG first.
 
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When are you adding the LME? I've been doing late to flame out additions and have had no issues with the scorching.
I really like this method with LME brews. I actually did the Ferocious extract beer a while ago, still have some that I'm drinking on. All of the LME went in at knockout. What I do is after the boil, remove kettle from the burner, add LME, stir and let stand for ~10 mins and cool. I've also taken to adding ~1/4 lb of corn sugar to my LME batches. Like others have stated, LME can be stubborn to ferment down to a good FG, the corn sugar helps this, it helps the beer dry out.
Also, if I do say so, the Ferocious IPA is a really good beer. Really nice hops flavor and aroma and a solid malt base to back it up. I'll definitely brew it again.
 

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As the previous poster noted, DEFINITELY take the pot off the burner (much easier with a gas stove than electric) when adding malt extract.

When I added mine, I poured the majority out, then ran my tap water until it was scalding hot and rinsed my LME bottle twice. Got every bit out! Not sure if it was a good idea or not. This was my first batch and I thought I was pretty cleaver to leave the boil volume short and count on this addition. It was like a pseudo-sparge!
 
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MTate37

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freisste said:
As the previous poster noted, DEFINITELY take the pot off the burner (much easier with a gas stove than electric) when adding malt extract.

When I added mine, I poured the majority out, then ran my tap water until it was scalding hot and rinsed my LME bottle twice. Got every bit out! Not sure if it was a good idea or not. This was my first batch and I thought I was pretty cleaver to leave the boil volume short and count on this addition. It was like a pseudo-sparge!
We do take it off the heat. I think we poured too fast and didn't stir fast enough the first time. Not sure what this second batch is going to look like yet. I was considering the late addition, but I was feeling a little too lazy to deal with figuring out the hop reductions. I may try the tap water rinse next time around. Seems like a good idea.
 
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MTate37

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When are you adding the LME? I've been doing late to flame out additions and have had no issues with the scorching. Adding it earlier allows it to caramelize more and can give it a deeper color. I've had deeper steeping grains than the color of my LME, but I can tell it would be even darker if I added the LME at the beginning of the boil. Obviously important to make sure you remove your boil kettle completely off the heat too.
I added the LME after steeping grains and bringing to a boil and taking kettle off the heat. As I mentioned in another reply I was considering trying the late extract addition but didn't feel like dealing with figuring out the hop reduction.

Regarding your first post - I'd definitely give it another week or so at least. IF you're going to rack to secondary (there's a lot of debate around here as to whether or not that's really worthwhile, regardless of what your kit's instructions may tell you!), you should always wait for your beer to hit FG first.
I'm definitely going to wait until I get two equal gravity readings. I've read a lot of the debate on whether or not to secondary and many seem to agree on secondary for dryhopping, so that's what I'll try for now. Since I'm new I figure I'll try as many different processes as I can to see what I like.

1.022 is pretty high for an IPA. I'd wait it out another week, try swirling your carboy a couple times a day to get that yeast back in suspension if it fell out. No splashing, just light swirling to stir up the stuff on the bottom. Should help you drop a few points. You could also try bumping up the temp if you can get it somewhere warmer, that would also help it finish up.
I was thinking about trying to bring up the temp, but was wondering if that would have any effect on the taste. I just took another gravity reading and the temp of the beer is 65 or 66. Is there a way to monitor fermenting temperature without checking temp when you take samples? I have a fermometer on my other scratched bucket, but I don't know that I trusted it on my first batch.
 

freisste

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MTate37 said:
As I mentioned in another reply I was considering trying the late extract addition but didn't feel like dealing with figuring out the hop reduction.
What do you mean "hop reduction"? Never heard the term before.

On the off chance that you were worried that you would get more out of your hops because there was less "stuff" in the wort (and therefore thought you would reduce hops so as to not overhop), don't worry. I don't think that is real.

If I am totally misunderstanding what you mean, ignore my last paragraph.
 
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MTate37

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freisste said:
What do you mean "hop reduction"? Never heard the term before.

On the off chance that you were worried that you would get more out of your hops because there was less "stuff" in the wort (and therefore thought you would reduce hops so as to not overhop), don't worry. I don't think that is real.

If I am totally misunderstanding what you mean, ignore my last paragraph.
When reading about the late malt addition technique I read that you would get better hop efficiency with the late addition, so you should reduce the hops accordingly. I read this on the Midwest Supplies site, but was also told by Midwest Supplies live chat that I probably wouldn't notice much of a difference between adding the extract early or late. Whether or not this is true I don't know as I've only done two batches. As much as I enjoy the hops I wonder if overhopping is even possible.
 

freisste

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First things first: I am very new to homebrewing.

That being said, I have done a ton of reading. I heard of the idea that you get better hop efficiency with a lower specific gravity. I also copied a formula into an excel spreadsheet to calculate IBU based on boil time and hop efficiency. That formula takes into account boil specific gravity.

Shortly after I finished my IBU calculator, I read that recently it has been shown that gravity has very little effect. I think someone on here actually talked with Palmer (the guy who wrote "How to Brew") who said they got it wrong.

At this point, I believe it to be a long-believed myth. Speaking personally, I'm going to do late additions from now on. Worst case gravity does make a difference. To me, hops is too good to be overused. :)
 

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When reading about the late malt addition technique I read that you would get better hop efficiency with the late addition, so you should reduce the hops accordingly. I read this on the Midwest Supplies site, but was also told by Midwest Supplies live chat that I probably wouldn't notice much of a difference between adding the extract early or late. Whether or not this is true I don't know as I've only done two batches. As much as I enjoy the hops I wonder if overhopping is even possible.
No, you will NOT have any problem with using the recipe as written and adding the extract late. It used to be thought that wort gravity affected hops utilization, but that has been disproven.

One of the things to consider is that IPAs are hard to make as it is as a partial boil, to get enough bittering. The reason is this- there is a limit to the amount of hops oils that can isomerize in wort before being saturated. That is believed by most brewing gurus to be +/- 100 IBUs. That's a lot, so that's not a problem.

But say you are boiling 2.5 gallons of wort in a small pot. That means that the absolute maximum that wort can have is 100 IBUs (and most likely less). So, if you had 2.5 gallons of 100 IBU wort, and added 2.5 gallons of water (0 IBUs), that means that the maximum you'd get is 50 IBUs anyway, in a best-case scenario. In other words, you almost can not get enough IBUs for an IPA anyway in a partial boil so don't worry about reducing any hops!

IBU calculators are helpful, but not 100% accurate. Even a beer like Pliny the Elder that calculates to something like 250 IBUs has been tested, and it's more like 80 IBUs in reality!

When adding the extract late, it keeps the wort from tasting "caramelized" and darkening, improving the color and taste of the beer and making it more like the all-grain equivalent. Adding the extract at the end of the boil helps have a less "cooked extract" taste in the beer. It doesn't impact hops utilization in any meaningful way.
 
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MTate37

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Thanks Yooper! I will definitely use the late addition next time.
 
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Coming from experience with doing the late and/or knockout additions, I can say that I've never noticed an increase in hoppiness from it. Even when I've has no extract in the boil. What I have noticed, like Yooper mentioned, is that it eliminates that extract flavor you get from caramelized extract. LME especially, but DME too, will caramelize in a boil more than the wort created in a mash. Even if you're über careful not to scorch it, the boil itself will caramelize it and speed up Maillard (sp?) reactions.
 
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MTate37

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So Saturday will make three weeks that this beer has been in primary. I'll check gravity today and again on Saturday. Assuming that the readings are the same I plan to rack to secondary for dryhopping.
Would there be any benefit to staying in primary longer to let the yeast clean up, or will whatever yeast is in suspension continue to clean up in secondary?
 
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