Moving to secondary fermentor

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FlecksBrewHouse

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Alright... My OG gravity was 1.1. I'm expecting between 10 and 11 percent final abv.
I brewed this last Sunday and now it's Wednesday, a week and a few days later, and its still bubbling every 5 seconds.
Any rule of thumb about transferring to secondary fermentor? I'm planning on harvesting and washing the yeast for my next ale. Should I wait or is it good to have some fermentation in secondary?
 

Pratzie

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No, i'd wait to get it down and stable before u rack over to secondary. Have u taken a gravity reading? I don'tthink something with that high an OG would be finished in this amount of time, especially if its still bubbling that often.
 
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FlecksBrewHouse

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I was thinking that fermenting produces the co2 and pushes the oxygen out, keeping a more sterile environment. So in general, I was thinking it would be good to rack to secondary with a little fermentation left, to push air out.
If I wait till no bubbles, will there still be co2 filling air space?
 

Pratzie

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Yes there will be some off gassing, but as long as u sanitize the secondary vessel properly and use an airlock the way u would with a primary, u'll be fine. I dunno what kind of equipment u have but I like to designate my 6.5 gallon carboys for primary and 5 gallons for secondary so the headspace isn't an issue and I know that even with minimal off gassing in secondary, it'll still be good.
 
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FlecksBrewHouse

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Thanks. That is what I've been thinking. Just need patience and let it do what it's doing. Don't rush the cycle.
 

sweetcell

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+1 to needing to age this beast once it's done. i doubt it will be drinkable for at least 6 months if not 12.

also, re-using this yeast isn't a great idea. that yeast will be totally beaten up the 12% abv environment they've been hanging out in. cell walls will be weak, health will be low. this yeast should be retired after this batch.
 
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FlecksBrewHouse

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6-12 months? That's crazy. I was planning in putting in in a secondary for around 2 weeks then bottling. Is there a chart that shows how long a given beer should sit before refrigeration?
I appreciate the info. Ill probably pull a few bottles to drink and age the others.
 

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You should wait until all fermentation is done before transferring to secondary or you risk stalling the ferment. I'd suggest you leave this beer in the primary for some time to make sure it is done. The time frame I have in mind it 3 to 4 months. It's a big beer, the yeast will act pretty slowly trying to get the last few points of gravity down, and it will take some time to mature anyway. Then forget the secondary and if it is at FG, bottle it and wait for it to complete maturing.
 

SteveHeff

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Hi all. Wanted to throw my personal experience out there. I had a big beer sit in my primary for 3 weeks. After 10 days, I had very little airlock activity, but there was some intermittently, say every 10 seconds or so. I took a gravity reading then and compare it to the gravity reading I took 5 days later. My gravity dropped from 1.016 down to 1.012. I then took another gravity reading 5 days later and it was 1.011. I knew it was completely finished at that point. THAT is when I transferred to my secondary.

I didn't even consider washing the yeast. That long of a time frame coupled with such a high alcohol content doesn't make for happy asexual reproduction.

Since then, the beer has been sitting in my basement, at 67 degrees for the last 5 weeks. It was pretty sharp the first time I tasted it at transfer, but it is mellowing out nicely. It still has some maturing to do but I don't mind waiting. I'll probably bottle some time in late August, as long as it continues to get better. Then I'll let it age in the bottles for another 3-4 months before it's really drinkable.

But that's just what I do. I'll brew something else a bit lighter in the down time. Something that only takes a few weeks from grain to glass. Helps fill the fridge and my stomach with something new.

*Little tidbit of information: beer matures about 3X faster in a carboy than it does when bottled. I don't completely understand why, but if you want to age a beer in a carboy secondary, it's not a bad move. You'll have drinkable beer faster the longer you keep it in there.
 
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FlecksBrewHouse

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I didn't realize how much time these big beers need for not just fermentation but conditioning and aging. Makes sense. One thing I know is I need to get more fermenters.
My next batchsI'm brewing 5 gallons, but splitting them up into single gallon fermenters. That way I can use one as the control and add different things to others to see how they react. Trial and error. Look forward to experimenting with fruits, honey, peppers, etc.
Looking forward to lots of brewing.
Thanks for the advice everyone.
 

Brulosopher

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FlecksBrewHouse said:
I didn't realize how much time these big beers need for not just fermentation but conditioning and aging. Makes sense. One thing I know is I need to get more fermenters. My next batchsI'm brewing 5 gallons, but splitting them up into single gallon fermenters. That way I can use one as the control and add different things to others to see how they react. Trial and error. Look forward to experimenting with fruits, honey, peppers, etc. Looking forward to lots of brewing. Thanks for the advice everyone.
I highly recommend... http://morebeer.com/products/plastic-carboy-6-gallon.html?site_id=9
 

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I'm glad that I saw this thread. I'm getting ready to make a double ipa, first time making something high abv. Now that I've read this I plan to really take my time before bottling, then also try to be patient once it's bottled.

On what I think may be a related note: a few weeks ago I bottled a dunkelweizen from a BB kit. OG was dead on per instructions at 1.053 and I had it in primary for 4 weeks before bottling. We were getting ready to go away on vacation so I got everything ready to bottle and the FG was only down to 1.024, should have been down to around 1.014. I hadn't noticed any airlock activity for a couple of weeks. Did I rush it? After 2 wks in the bottle it tasted decent but a little sweet. Should I have let it stay in the fermenter longer until it got down to the correct gravity?
 

RomanRider

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Bump, for my question about the dunkelweizen gravity.

Also, this beer is tasty so far but imo it could use a little more carbonation. I did not use the full package of priming sugar that came with the kit, I used about 3/4 cup plus a tablespoon. Maybe not enough sugar? I'm letting it age in the basement, temps have been around 68-72f.

Thanks,
Bob
 

sweetcell

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I'm getting ready to make a double ipa, first time making something high abv. Now that I've read this I plan to really take my time before bottling, then also try to be patient once it's bottled.
DIPA/IIPA are the exception to the "let big beers age" rule. you want to give them enough time to ferment out completely, but you don't want to age them longer than necessary. the hop flavor and hop aroma (especially the dry-hop) will fade relatively quickly. the huge amount of hops in the beer should mask most hot alcohols and other signs of an un-aged big beer. DIPA/IIPA are best fresh.

On what I think may be a related note: a few weeks ago I bottled a dunkelweizen from a BB kit. OG was dead on per instructions at 1.053 and I had it in primary for 4 weeks before bottling. We were getting ready to go away on vacation so I got everything ready to bottle and the FG was only down to 1.024, should have been down to around 1.014. I hadn't noticed any airlock activity for a couple of weeks. Did I rush it? After 2 wks in the bottle it tasted decent but a little sweet. Should I have let it stay in the fermenter longer until it got down to the correct gravity?
you fermentation was not complete... you had a stuck fermentation. 4 weeks is plenty of time for a 1.053 to ferment out, so more time is unlikely to have changed things. there are a lot of reasons why a fermentation might become stuck: unhealthy or insufficient yeast, kept too cold, fluctuating temps, etc. we would need to know more about your process to figure out why your yeast stopped short of getting the job done.

1.053 --> 1.024 = 55% attenuation, you want to get above 70% (1.014 would have been 74% (calculator).
 

RomanRider

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DIPA/IIPA are the exception to the "let big beers age" rule. you want to give them enough time to ferment out completely, but you don't want to age them longer than necessary. the hop flavor and hop aroma (especially the dry-hop) will fade relatively quickly. the huge amount of hops in the beer should mask most hot alcohols and other signs of an un-aged big beer. DIPA/IIPA are best fresh.


you fermentation was not complete... you had a stuck fermentation. 4 weeks is plenty of time for a 1.053 to ferment out, so more time is unlikely to have changed things. there are a lot of reasons why a fermentation might become stuck: unhealthy or insufficient yeast, kept too cold, fluctuating temps, etc. we would need to know more about your process to figure out why your yeast stopped short of getting the job done.

1.053 --> 1.024 = 55% attenuation, you want to get above 70% (1.014 would have been 74% (calculator).
Thanks for the advice about the DIPA, and that is good news, I will get to enjoy it sooner!

I don't have temperature records on my dunkelweizen fermentation other than that I pitched the single dry yeast packet at around 70f per the kit instructions, I did not hydrate it first. After sprinkling the dry yeast on and stirring things up good I put the lid on the bucket, added the airlock and set it on my basement floor without touching it until bottling day. Temps were likely around 66-67f at the beginning and as warmer weather rolled in it may have risen to about 70-72f, then could have dropped back down a couple degrees with our air conditioning on. I suppose I should record temperatures a couple of times a day during fermentation. Thanks for your answer.
 

sweetcell

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based on everything that i've read & heard, the proper way to handle dry yeast is to rehydrate by pouring on to warm water, letting it rest on the surface (don't mix) for 15 mins, then gently mixing and giving it another 15 mins, then pitching. pouring directly on to the wort is bad, Jamil Z claims that this can kill up to half the yeast (i tend to trust him in these matters - the man knows yeast). mixing immediately was another negative, you want to let them rehydrate at their own pace on the surface. i think yeast treatment is your most likely culprit. your temps sound fine, slightly rising through fermentation is good, but the up & down caused by AC isn't ideal.

don't forget to dry-hop the snot outta that DIPA :mug:
 

RomanRider

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Thanks again. This is my 5th or 6th batch using a bb kit and always have just sprinkled the dry yeast over the wort and stirred it in, not saying it is correct but that's what the directions in the kit say to do. Last weekend's cream ale I decided to hydrate first, so far so good. I stirred out into the warm water right away though.

Yeah, the dipa is going to have loads of my recently picked centennial hops added all the way thru, plus dry hop!
 

sweetcell

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Thanks again. This is my 5th or 6th batch using a bb kit and always have just sprinkled the dry yeast over the wort and stirred it in, not saying it is correct but that's what the directions in the kit say to do.
most instructions for homebrewers are written to highlight ease and effortlessness. shops, yeast makers, equipment producers seem worried about scaring people away... "make as minimal and easy as possible and still have them make beer - they're figure the right way later. don't chase away people with long instructions".

on Brew Strong, Jamil tells the story of dry yeast manufacturers that tell homebrewers to just sprinkle the yeast directly on the wort. they then turn around and sell the exact same stuff to professional brewers and tell them they must rehydrate... wtf? it's kind of insulting (at least for those of us who know what we're doing... but it probably does serve new brewers well - they don't make the best beer, but they do make a beer).

all that to say that sometimes, the instructions you get aren't the best. they're meant for the lowest common denominator. luckily there are alternate sources, like HBT, that will help you get to the next level.
 
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FlecksBrewHouse

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Great post. Learning stuff.
Glad to all who have contributed.

I'm still letting my brew, that had an OG of 1.1, sit. Cooked on July 14, getting close to a month in fermenter. I see how it needs to condition and takes a lot longer. Still very cloudy but has cleared up a lot. Bubble here and there, randomly. I'm going to let it sit for another month or til it looks like its clearer up.
Last gravity reading was 1.021 about 5 days ago. It's still doing stuff. I added some hops for dry hop. I'll probably add some more in a couple weeks. Looking for a lot of aroma and hop flavored.

Hope it turns out great
Only time will tell.
 

Brulosopher

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FlecksBrewHouse said:
Great post. Learning stuff. Glad to all who have contributed. I'm still letting my brew, that had an OG of 1.1, sit. Cooked on July 14, getting close to a month in fermenter. I see how it needs to condition and takes a lot longer. Still very cloudy but has cleared up a lot. Bubble here and there, randomly. I'm going to let it sit for another month or til it looks like its clearer up. Last gravity reading was 1.021 about 5 days ago. It's still doing stuff. I added some hops for dry hop. I'll probably add some more in a couple weeks. Looking for a lot of aroma and hop flavored. Hope it turns out great Only time will tell.
Be careful with long dry hop times, they will lend a grassy/vegetal aroma and flavor to an otherwise good beer.
 
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FlecksBrewHouse

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I bottled it today. Still had gravity of 1.021. Hoped it was going to drop more.
Ill wait 2 weeks and probably start opening a bottle a week to see how it goes.

Taste good, sweet, like I'd expect from high gravity. I added about 3 ounces of hops for dry hop but never get/got the aroma I want. Maybe after it carbonates. If not, I will add the dry hops closer to time of bottling next time.

Sound good?
Appreciate all the comments on here.
 
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FlecksBrewHouse

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I bottled today. Tasted sweet as I would expect from high gravity. Still sitting at 1.021.
Will let sit for a couple weeks then open a bottle every week to check progress.

Don't have the aroma I was going for. Used about 3-4 oz hops in dry hop. Wait for carbonation. Maybe dry hop closer to bottling next time.

Sound right? Appreciate the comments.
 

sweetcell

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I bottled today. Tasted sweet as I would expect from high gravity. Still sitting at 1.021.
1.100 --> 1.021 = 79% attenuation, 10.5% ABV... congrats, you hit your target! that's a rather impressive outcome for such a big beer.

Don't have the aroma I was going for. Used about 3-4 oz hops in dry hop. Wait for carbonation. Maybe dry hop closer to bottling next time.
how long did you dry-hop for this time?
 
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FlecksBrewHouse

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I dry hopped nine days before bottling. I was under impression that dry hopping in fermentor at any time would be good, but heard that it could cause vegetation tastes and aroma so its not good to do, to far before bottling.
I've got a brew of Russian Rivers Bling Pig brewing right now. I added an extra ounce of hops during 15 minutes left of boil to hopefully add to aroma. I'm going to plan on dry hopping 5 days before bottling.
I want that aroma that when you put your nose in the glass, it bites your nose a little. I'm thinking the closer to bottling that I dry hop, the more bite I will have.
 
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