first time using secondary

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FSBrewer

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Here I am eight years and 20 batches later, still posting in the beginner's forum! :)

I only have one 6.5 gal carboy and wanted to start a second batch one week after the previous, so I figured I'd free up my 6.5 gal by racking that first batch to secondary (in my 5 gal carboy), which I have never done before. Before transferring it, I still saw some bubbles on the top of the wort, occasionally popping, indicating it is still active. Now that it's in secondary, it looks perfectly flat (although it's only been 3-4 hours). Was the yeast on the bottom of the first carboy what was powering the ferment? Should I pitch more yeast? In all likelihood I'll just let it go and see what happens, but wanted to see what advice the collective experience here can offer.

Thanks!
 

friarsmith

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The yeast dissolved in the beer is producing the CO2 and much of it is now in your secondary carboy, which is ok, because it should keep working (but at a much slower rate). The trub on the bottom is composed of inactive yeast, hops/grain particles and proteins that have dropped out of the beer.

Visible signs and taste are decent indicators, but it would be a good idea to check the gravity with a hydrometer. That's the most accurate way to determine the progress of fermentation.
 

Double_D

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The yeast dissolved in the beer is producing the CO2 and much of it is now in your secondary carboy, which is ok, because it should keep working (but at a much slower rate). The trub on the bottom is composed of inactive yeast, hops/grain particles and proteins that have dropped out of the beer.

Visible signs and taste are decent indicators, but it would be a good idea to check the gravity with a hydrometer. That's the most accurate way to determine the progress of fermentation.
Yeast doesn't disolve in wort. Co2 does. You would have knocked plenty of that out of suspension so your wort would look flat after a transfer.

Bubbles on the top of the wort or in the airlock aren't a good indicator of active fermentation. As has already been said, your hydrometer is though. I like to take a gravity reading so I know whats going on with my wort pre transfer it's not done you could just transfer some yeast from primary to secondary, for peace of mind.
 

friarsmith

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"Dissolved" was a poor choice of words. There is likely some yeast present in the wort that you transferred, but you'll not see as much activity in your beer from this point on, so break out the hydrometer.
 
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There is no doubt yeast still in suspension In the wort you transferred to secondary. This is almost certainly always the case. If not, how would you ever be able to bottle carb or keg condition your beer by adding sugar?
Usually any activity (bubbling) you see in secondary is the wort degassing. Again, not a problem.
I agree that you should measure your SG w/a hydrometer to confirm that fermentation is completed. Usually 7-10 days in secondary will insure this.
BTW-I almost always secondary which I know is less popular. It's the way I was taught as a beginner and has yielded many good beers in a variety of styles.
Being older, I'm also more patient and willing to wait longer for a better final outcome.
 
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