Is My Beer Ready For Secondary Fermentation?

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bafinaire

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Hello everyone!

I’m on my first attempt at brewing using the Northern Brewer deluxe starter kit (block party amber ale). One week ago put my wort with yeast in a dark closet that has an average temperature around 70 degrees. I never noticed activity in my airlock but I think that is due to an imperfect seal in my lid.

This is what I see after one week. I never saw a krausen but looks like there may have been one that dissipated? I’m trying to decide if I had proper fermentation activity and if I should wait another week or if it is ready for the secondary fermantator.

I have attached a picture for review.

Thank you!

965F5BDF-C8DB-4326-A4CC-F9CECC7F72EE.jpeg
 
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Hello everyone!

I’m on my first attempt at brewing using the Northern Brewer deluxe starter kit (block party amber ale). One week ago put my wort with yeast in a dark closet that has an average temperature around 70 degrees. I never noticed activity in my airlock but I think that is due to an imperfect seal in my lid.

This is what I see after one week. I never saw a krausen but looks like there may have been one that dissipated? I’m trying to decide if I had proper fermentation activity and if I should wait another week or if it is ready for the secondary fermantator.

I have attached a picture for review.

Thank you!

View attachment 581306
Did you take any gravity readings beforehand?
 

Novacor

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Looks to me like your fermentation is going great. You are correct that the ring you see above the beer is where the krausen was before it fell. I would leave it alone for another week, and then bottle. Skip the secondary.
 

Tribe Fan

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That beer has definitely been fermenting. Take a gravity reading and compare it to the finished OG for that style. If it's close, wait a day, take another reading and repeat until you have the same readings two days in a row.

Technically, you can transfer to secondary anytime you want as long as you don't cold crash it and stop the fermentation process. Leaving it on the yeast cake will finish the primary fermentation faster though, so don't rush thinking you are ahead of schedule and will save time.

I rarely put mine in a secondary at all. The only mistake you need to worry about here is not doing readings and bottling a beer before it has completed fermentation.
 

mongoose33

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As @Novacor notes, the ring around the bucket above the beer is a krausen ring.

You have beer.

But you may, in the future, want to reduce the temperature at which the beer ferments. Unless you are doing a farmhouse or Saison, which are fermented warm, a typical ale fermentation temp homebrewers use is in the middle 60s. I typically aim for 64, but I have an Amber I do at 67.

Your ambient temp was 70, but yeast is exothermic, meaning it produces heat while fermentation proceeds. The fermenting wort can be 5-10 degrees higher than the ambient temperature.

You can easily mange this using a swamp cooler--get a turkey pan from the dollar store, put your bucket in it. Fill the turkey pan to near full, then drape an old t-shirt over it so that it dangles in the water. The water will wick up and through evaporation, help cool the fermenter. It'll pretty much offset the increase in temp from fermentation.

Here's an example:

swampcooler.jpg

Enjoy that beer--sure looks good in the bucket!
 

NGD

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Did you take any gravity readings beforehand?
The NB deluxe starter kit doesnt usually come with a hydrometer.

@bafinaire Congrats on your first batch! Your assumptions were likely correct about the seal. Looks like perfectly good beer in there. The other posters suggestions have the bases pretty well covered. Are you bottling or kegging?

The idea wether to secondary or not is a personal preference. You’ll find multi-page threads on the subject arguing pros and cons. Choose whats best for you.
 
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bafinaire

bafinaire

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Thank you for the confirmation and advice everyone. I’m glad to know I am on the right path.

@Tribe Fan I took a measurement. Currently I am at approximately 1.012. My sheet for this style says O.G. is 1.042. I am assuming I should keep letting it go?

At minimum, at everyone's advice I will let it sit another week. I am moving it to my basement where it is cooler. Probably in the low 60s. It won't hurt anything changing temperatiures like that, will it?

And @mongoose33 thank you for that photo to show what you were talking about. Great idea!

@NGD I plan on bottling my beer once it is ready. I am still kicking around the idea of doing the secondary fermentation or not. If all else is equal I might just do it since it was my wife that bought me this kit and I am sure she'd give me a hard time for skipping a step when she paid extra for the second ferment set ;)
 
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Tribe Fan

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The 1.042 OG is what the wort probably measured before you started fermentation. The specific gravity you are measuring is a measurement of the amount of sugar in the liquid, with plain water being 1.000.

The 1.012 current reading means that the beer has definitely fermented and is much lower in sugar than when you started. The yeast have converted it to alcohol.

If your beer (yes, you now have beer, congrats) were in a transparent container, what you would see at the bottom is about an inch of white gunk that is the yeast and byproducts that have settled in the container. There are still a lot of yeast suspended in the beer.

"Secondary" is moving that beer off of the gunk at the bottom of the bucket into a secondary container. The yeast that are suspended in the beer will continue to eat byproducts and will also further settle to the bottom of the secondary container. This is commonly referred to as "conditioning".

Many people choose not to move it to a secondary container and just leave it in the original or "primary". The yeast will continue to condition the beer and fall out. In fact they will continue to do this after it is bottled as well. That is why it is important to keep homebrewed bottled beer at temperatures at or below the fermentation temperatures.

Most importantly, you have beer. Be patient and it will continue to get better.
 

bendog15

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Don’t bother with secondary. After 2 weeks ish just bottle her up. You’ll be happy
 

eltorrente

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Like everyone said - don't do a secondary. In doing so, you will introduce your beer to oxygen and that's a bad thing. Your beer won't be fermenting and producing CO2 and won't be able to drive the oxygen away.
 
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bafinaire

bafinaire

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Again, thank you everyone for the advice. Once I am done in a few weeks I’ll post my results. At minimum I’m letting the beer sit another week in the primary and then I will decide on secondary versus straight into the bottles for conditioning. Because of my life schedule it might not be until the third week of August when I can finally enjoy some!
 
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bafinaire

bafinaire

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Hey guys. I just got don’t letting my beer bottle condition for two weeks after doing a primary fermentation for two weeks. I popped a couple bottles. Delicious. But the carbonation was slightly weak. I still got a good head on my center pour but there wasn’t a huge pop on my beer cap when I opened the beer.

Is this normal for yeast carbonated beer? Am I just use to forced CO2 bottles commercial beers? Or will my bottles get more pressure as time goes on? Or did I not manually cap my bottles good enough and need to go back through and double check them?
 

eltorrente

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Hey guys. I just got don’t letting my beer bottle condition for two weeks after doing a primary fermentation for two weeks. I popped a couple bottles. Delicious. But the carbonation was slightly weak. I still got a good head on my center pour but there wasn’t a huge pop on my beer cap when I opened the beer.

Is this normal for yeast carbonated beer? Am I just use to forced CO2 bottles commercial beers? Or will my bottles get more pressure as time goes on? Or did I not manually cap my bottles good enough and need to go back through and double check them?

Normally, 2 weeks is enough time to carbonate - but it could certainly take longer sometimes. I would wait another week and check it again. Make sure the bottles aren't stored in too cool of a place to allow the yeast to be active as possible.
 
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