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Five one gallon secondaries from five gallon primary

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Joesf35

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I brewed five gallons of a wheat beer using a wheat extract, 1 lb munich malt, 1 lb crystal malt, 60 minute tettnang hops, and 10 minute hallertau. It is fermenting at 73 because that is as cold as my wife can take it. Once it is done in primary in two weeks it will be split into five little carboys. I would like some feedback on what I was planning to do with the five secondaries. (the post boil wort was bitter with a lower sg than expected).

1. Rack 1 gal onto 6 oz sweet cherry puree.
2. Rack 1 gal onto 16 oz sweet cherry puree.
3. Rack 1 gal onto 6 oz generic honey.
4. Rack 1 gal onto 1 oz saaz hops.
5. Rack 1 gal onto a peeled blood orange and zest from peel.

Sound good?
 

Seven

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My suggestions are:
  • Research the proper way to use honey because it is not sterile. Honey contains yeast/organisms that can get into your beer unless it has been properly prepared... yet boiling will quickly drive off the flavors of honey.
  • Try using different yeasts for each small batch. Different yeasts will produce different results.

I'm interested in doing something similar to this some day. What type of carboys are you using for these 5 small batches?
 
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Joesf35

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Seven said:
My suggestions are:

[*]Research the proper way to use honey because it is not sterile. Honey contains yeast/organisms that can get into your beer unless it has been properly prepared... yet boiling will quickly drive off the flavors of honey.
I had read on one thread that honey, like hops, was sterile and ok to use this way. I will research some more, I don't want to ruin an entire gallon.

Seven said:
[*]Try using different yeasts for each small batch. Different yeasts will produce different results.
I was thinking about that initially but I pitched a wheat yeast into the primary, won't that carry over into all of the secondaries?

Seven said:
I'm interested in doing something similar to this some day. What type of carboys are you using for these 5 small batches?
Little 1 gallon glass carboys that I have from wine making. (I am going to have to dump my tangerine wine to free one up, that stuff burns the throat anyway).
 

Seven

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I had read on one thread that honey, like hops, was sterile and ok to use this way. I will research some more, I don't want to ruin an entire gallon.



I was thinking about that initially but I pitched a wheat yeast into the primary, won't that carry over into all of the secondaries?



Little 1 gallon glass carboys that I have from wine making. (I am going to have to dump my tangerine wine to free one up, that stuff burns the throat anyway).
Sorry... I missed that you already pitched the wheat yeast to the entire batch. Maybe experiment with different yeasts for future batches.

I got the information about honey not being sterile from the book "Designing Great Beers" by Ray Daniels. I'm still working through this book but so far it's a very good resource for understanding more in-depth brewing and recipe design.

Have fun.
 

SilentAutumn

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1 oz hops to dry hop 1 gallon beer? That's going to be very hoppy. Not sure what you're going for, but you might want to scale that back a bit.

Please keep us posted on how these turn out. Very interesting.
 
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Joesf35

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SilentAutumn said:
1 oz hops to dry hop 1 gallon beer? That's going to be very hoppy. Not sure what you're going for, but you might want to scale that back a bit.

Please keep us posted on how these turn out. Very interesting.
You are right. I will scale back to 0.25 oz, don't want it to taste like flowers. I will post back in a few weeks with some precarbed tastings.
 
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Joesf35

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Ok. Today I racked into the five one gallon carboys. I doubled up the honey to 12 oz. I didn't sanitize the honey in any way, I have my fingers crossed that the alcohol content of the wheat beer, ( which smelled very citrusy and delicious), is enough to control the bacteria in the honey.

I only had a little over half a gallon left for the fifth carboy, (lots of trub), it was the dry hopped batch. I still went with 0.25 oz of hops.

Now four of the five carboys are bubbling through the airlock except the one with 6oz of cherry puree. (It was the first gallon I racked).
Why would only one not be fermenting?
 

EarlyBirdBrew

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Very interesting experiment, would love to get regular updates. On my second batch I split my honey kolsch into two and did half over fresh Texas peaches. On a current batch of Baltic porter I am going to split it and do half over oak cubes. I love being able to taste and compare. My only suggestion to you would have been to leave one carboy just the standard wheat. Also just because the one isn't bubbling does not mean it isn't fermenting. Airlocks are not a good way to judge fermentation.

Good luck and keep us updated.
 
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Joesf35

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I was thinking about leaving one as the baseline, and maybe the dry hopped batch will be closest.

This morning the carboy with 16 (17) oz of cherry puree was krausening out of the airlock, all the rest were foaming up to the airlock except for the blood orange and the dry hopped. So I had to remove the airlock and replace it with tubing.

The OG was 1.037-1.038, the SG at racking was 1.01. This beer isn't very alcoholic, but the fruit/honey sugars should raise the alcohol content. Does anyone know of some good literature on how to calc that? I didnt take any gravity readings of the one gallon mixtures.
 
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Joesf35

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Wanted to bottle this weekend but the honey wheat is still fermenting. I think the sg might go below one at this rate! I guess some of the info on this forum may be legit with the honey mead and honey beer tips, and the lack of mouth feel if you ferment incorrectly with honey.
Also the blood oranges in the orange wheat sank a few days ago and must have released some more sugar so now that is fermenting again.

Is it ok to leave the other beers, that are finished, on their trub for a month after fermentation?
 
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Joesf35

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Bottled today. Used priming sugar with a little honey in the honey wheat because I ran out of priming sugar.

Precarb tastings..., All of the beers need more malt in my opinion, not enough sweetness in this recipe.
The honey wheat tasted like a sparkling wheat beer (little bubbles), and should be pretty good if I don't get bottle bombs from it (couldn't wait any longer to bottle and the slow fermentation and no trub worries me).
The light cherry wheat tasted good, can't wait to taste again when carbed.
The heavy cherry wheat got bottled untasted because the trub was worth about three beers and I didn't want to dip into the rest. Smelled like the puree which could be good or bad.
The orange wheat was bitter and had a lot of astrigency, either because the wheat beer base didn't have enough sweetness to balance it and the oranges didn't add much, or because the little bit of orange pith released some unpleasant tastes, (made my tongue curl up).
The dry hopped wheat beer tasted good, can't wait to taste it carbed. The hop pellets made a mess of the beer though.

Going to open a couple in two weeks to see where the carbonation is at.
 
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Joesf35

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Thewife and I tried all the beers last night and today.

The lightly cherried wheat is delicious. Nice subtle cherry flavor with a stronger cherry aroma. And it has the nice wheat base flavor.

The heavy cherry wheat tastes less like cherry and is slightly watery. It is still good but it also has a sudzy/soapy kind of taste, hopefully a few more weeks of bottle conditioning will work that out.

The honey wheat is good, not carbed yet while the others are so carbed I am worried about bottle bombs. The beer is definitely more watery than I would like but I got a nice buzz after only one pint. The honey flavor is subtle but it is there. Kind of a champagne thing going on with this one...

The orange wheat is frigging amazing. I can't wait to try more after some additional bottle conditioning. The orange flavor goes perfect with the wheat. This one had blood orange slices and zest from the peel. Man is it good.

Only have a few of the dry hopped so I am going to let those condition some more.

Before I develop any final verdicts I am going to wait a few weeks. But if I could change anything it would probably be to add something that would give it some mouth feel and maybe some sweetness. These are all relatively dry beers even with the fruity secondaries. For the most part they are all very refreshing and drinkable with the exception of the double cherry that has a sudzy/soapy thing going on.
 

brewit2it

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Thewife and I tried all the beers last night and today.

The lightly cherried wheat is delicious. Nice subtle cherry flavor with a stronger cherry aroma. And it has the nice wheat base flavor.

The heavy cherry wheat tastes less like cherry and is slightly watery. It is still good but it also has a sudzy/soapy kind of taste, hopefully a few more weeks of bottle conditioning will work that out.

The honey wheat is good, not carbed yet while the others are so carbed I am worried about bottle bombs. The beer is definitely more watery than I would like but I got a nice buzz after only one pint. The honey flavor is subtle but it is there. Kind of a champagne thing going on with this one...

The orange wheat is frigging amazing. I can't wait to try more after some additional bottle conditioning. The orange flavor goes perfect with the wheat. This one had blood orange slices and zest from the peel. Man is it good.

Only have a few of the dry hopped so I am going to let those condition some more.

Before I develop any final verdicts I am going to wait a few weeks. But if I could change anything it would probably be to add something that would give it some mouth feel and maybe some sweetness. These are all relatively dry beers even with the fruity secondaries. For the most part they are all very refreshing and drinkable with the exception of the double cherry that has a sudzy/soapy thing going on.
Glad you are enjoying the experiment. Next time you might just want to try a blue moon clone for all 5 gallons. Delicious wheat with subtle orange flavor, full mouth feel (from the flaked oats) and much easier to make with no need for a seconday even.
 
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Joesf35

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brewit2it said:
Glad you are enjoying the experiment. Next time you might just want to try a blue moon clone for all 5 gallons. Delicious wheat with subtle orange flavor, full mouth feel (from the flaked oats) and much easier to make with no need for a seconday even.
Yeah, it was as pain to handle and clean all of the small carboys.
 
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Joesf35

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Final post on this experiment. What started off as delicious beer has turned to gut wrenching, literally, beer. The taste is going south, the texture has turned to water, and the bubbling just keeps going.
The long period of bubbling in my secondaries must have been caused by a gusher infection and not a slow fermentation....
Either my bucket or auto siphon if infected, I guess.
The dry hopped batch is the only one that doesn't appear infected. I wonder if the hops killed the bacteria?
 

mximus11

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How did you carb the batches? Was this a kit then you split the sugar in fifths? I'm not really sure how to calculate it otherwise. I would really like to try this.
 

mlg5039

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Bummer dude.

Don't get discouraged though, these things can happen.

Mike
 
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Joesf35

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mximus11 said:
How did you carb the batches? Was this a kit then you split the sugar in fifths? I'm not really sure how to calculate it otherwise. I would really like to try this.
I split into fifths. And used a beer calculator app.
 

PolishStout

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But if I could change anything it would probably be to add something that would give it some mouth feel and maybe some sweetness. These are all relatively dry beers even with the fruity secondaries. For the most part they are all very refreshing and drinkable with the exception of the double cherry that has a sudzy/soapy thing going on.

maltodextrin!
 
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