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Fryar

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Hi All - I have a question about floculating yeast. I was reading Palmer's book, which suggests decreasing the temperature 2 degrees per day following the diacetyl rest until 10 degrees below fermentation temperature to avoid thermal shock of the yeast. My question is whether this is only applicable if fermentation is completed in the primary or if it is also applicable in the secondary?

My process has been to use a bucket as my primary and keeping the beer in the primary through the diacetyl rest and terminal gravity then racking to a secondary and cold crashing. I know there are pros and cons about secondary or not. I prefer to do the primary in a bucket since it is easy to clean, then move to a secondary to clarify and then kegging / carbing. With that in mind, I see three options, as follows:

1) keep in primary through diacetyl rest, rack to secondary, cold crash, then keg
2) keep in primary through diacetyl rest, decrease temp gradually to 55, rack to secondary, cold crash, then keg
3) keep in primary through diacetyl rest, rack to secondary, decrease temp gradually to 55, cold crash, then keg

I have generally employed option 1 above and have utilized option 2 above once. Not sure I could discern a difference, but didn't have samples from each batch to try side by side. With that said, I like the fact that option 1 doesn't require so much time to decrease the temperature, if it doesn't make a noticeable difference. It would seem that so much yeast has been left behind as you go from the primary to the secondary that thermal shock wouldn't be a concern.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thanks in advance.
 

RPh_Guy

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decreasing the temperature 2 degrees per day following the diacetyl rest until 10 degrees below fermentation temperature to avoid thermal shock of the yeast.
I call BS. Palmer gets all kinds of credit but he just makes up nonsense a lot of the time.

Thermal shock would be from lowering it more than 18°F per 5 minutes.
racking to a secondary and cold crashing.
Racking to a secondary vessel is not beneficial whatsoever. It increases oxidation and increases risk of contamination. There are zero pros.

Cold crash in the fermenter isn't really that great either, especially if you don't have a system to prevent sucking in air.

Hope this helps.
Welcome to HBT!
 

day_trippr

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I have no idea where Palmer was going with this. So...

4) Go through the diacetyl rest in primary, then ignore nonsensical input (who cares if the yeast are "shocked", you want them out of the picture, so send them to a cold hell as quickly as possible!), skip the secondary (as it's almost always going to be detrimental due to O2 exposure and if you're not racking on top of fruit or something there's zero reason to subject your beer to it) then rack to your keg.

This is exactly how I go about it.

There are only two recipes I bother with a secondary: a massive imperial chocolate stout where I don't want the pound of marinaded cocoa nibs to disappear in the trub; and a raspberry wheat that I'd rather not carry trub forward. For everything else, when the beer is done I crash TF out of it and keg...

Cheers!
 
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Fryar

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Thanks for the feedback. I am surprised that there are such strong opinions against going to a secondary. I have done it both ways and haven't had any issues with sanitization or oxidation after transferring to a secondary . While I haven't observed any negative impacts with the secondary, I do like freeing up my primaries for another brew while the prior batch crashes and clarifies in the secondary. So not too concerned with whether to go to a secondary or not, but it sounds like there isn't a concern about off flavors from yeast being cooled down too quickly. Maybe I will have to experiment by doing 5 gallons each way and see if I notice a difference.
 
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RPh_Guy

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I have done it both ways and haven't had any issues with sanitization or oxidation after transferring to a secondary
We're working toward (or already are) making world-class beer. With regard to oxidation (beer's enemy #1), the brewing process is only as strong as its weakest link. Therefore every part of the process becomes important when preventing oxygen exposure. If you have other weak links in your process, fixing one of them wouldn't make much difference in the end result.

I'm not trying to knock your beer or brewing process -- all that matters is whether you enjoy it as far as I'm concerned.

I do like freeing up my primaries for another brew while the prior batch crashes and clarifies in the secondary.
For those folks with near-optimized processes, it's common to turn around beers in less than a week, including lagers. Of course it does take some effort getting there, so it's not for everyone.
there isn't a concern about off flavors from yeast being cooled down too quickly.
Definitely not. It's all good with regard to cooling.
 
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Fryar

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Thanks RPH. Since I have 10 gallons in this batch, maybe I will do an experiment and keep half in the primary all the way to kegging and the other half to a secondary then keg.

My beers have been very good - no real complaints, but if I can further improve them, I will take it.
 

Miraculix

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Thanks RPH. Since I have 10 gallons in this batch, maybe I will do an experiment and keep half in the primary all the way to kegging and the other half to a secondary then keg.

My beers have been very good - no real complaints, but if I can further improve them, I will take it.
Don't. If you empty it half way, the lost volume will be filled with air and this air means oxygen.

No need for experiments, the no secondary if not absolutely necessary question has been solved already.
 

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One vote for a slow ramp down, but only for lagers.
Reasoning: Part of the lagering process is that the yeast are able to clean up their byproducts over time because they are active (albeit at a very slow pace) even at lagering temps ( per Kunze). Slowly ramping temps down allows them to adjust to decreasing temps without just dropping out of suspension due to being shocked into dormancy.
THat said, if your goal is just to clear the beer through rapid flocculation, then drop the hammer on them and go cold immediately.
 
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Fryar

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Don't. If you empty it half way, the lost volume will be filled with air and this air means oxygen.

Two separate primaries, so it would be a complete transfer of one, not half of one. Haven't experienced any issues with oxidation transferring the full
Don't. If you empty it half way, the lost volume will be filled with air and this air means oxygen.

No need for experiments, the no secondary if not absolutely necessary question has been solved already.
Two separate primaries - 5 gallons each, so would be a complete transfer of one primary, not half of a transfer. Haven't had any issues with oxidation doing a complete transfer thus far.
 
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Fryar

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One vote for a slow ramp down, but only for lagers.
Reasoning: Part of the lagering process is that the yeast are able to clean up their byproducts over time because they are active (albeit at a very slow pace) even at lagering temps ( per Kunze). Slowly ramping temps down allows them to adjust to decreasing temps without just dropping out of suspension due to being shocked into dormancy.
THat said, if your goal is just to clear the beer through rapid flocculation, then drop the hammer on them and go cold immediately.
Already doing a diacetyl rest, so yeast cleanup done in this case. Really more about clearing the beer and exploring the thermal shock considerations. Haven't observed any indications of thermal shock previously, but generally rack to a secondary before crashing, so wasn't sure if that mitigated thermal shock or if I should still gradually cool. Sounds like consensus is crash away regardless of in the primary or secondary.
 
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Fryar

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For those that don't use a secondary, do you use gelatin during cold crashing? If so, does the gelatin settle out during yeast washing if you harvest the yeast?
 

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For those that don't use a secondary, do you use gelatin during cold crashing? If so, does the gelatin settle out during yeast washing if you harvest the yeast?
I harvest happy yeast from my starter to save for later batches.

I ferment under low pressure in a kegmenter. I jump from the gas port of the kegmenter to the liquid port of my serving keg, and have a spunding valve set to vent at low pressure on the gas port of the serving keg. Fermentation purges O2 out of the serving keg.

When fermentation is done (can be checked without opening by hooking up a picnic tap) I disconnect the serving keg, hit the kegmenter with 30psi CO2 and cold crash for 2-3+ days. This gives a head start to carbonation.

Then I release pressure in the serving keg, hook it back up to the kegmenter, and transfer with CO2. I start low PSI and ramp up to 20psi or so. (You can tare your serving keg on a scale and then watch the weight to see where you are in the transfer.)

I haven't done gelatin in a while, but when I do I do it in the full serving keg. Open quickly, add the hot gelatin water, close it up and purge 13+ times at 30psi. The small headspace of the full corny means you aren't using up all your gas to get rid of the O2 introduced.

I use the Clear Beer floating dip tubes in everything, they are spendy but work really well.
 

Cavpilot2000

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Gelatin is unnecessary unless you are in a real hurry. Good process, cold storage (lagering, yes, even for ales), and a Clear Beer floating dip tube will net you crystal bright beer in only a few weeks.
Exhibit A: Spunded German Pilsner lagering for 24 days.
Again, this is spunded, so when it went into the very keg I drew this pint from, it had actively fermenting yeast in it. And most of the visual cloudiness you see is condensation on the glass (it is storing at 30 degrees F).
It is almost ready for prime time. Maybe another week of lagering.
Pils.jpg
 
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