My first time using a secondary.

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jonbomb

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I made an awesome recipe from the recipe database last thursday. I know most people on the forums only go with a primary now. I figured I would at least try this once. The owner of my LHBS told me he usually will ferment a beer for 5 or 6 days then just rack it over to secondary. Now from what I read on HBT that is normally true. I went ahead and racked the beer last night over to secondary and now after thinking about it I never took a gravity reading.

If my beer was not fully finished fermenting How bad could that effect the final product?? I used the fermentis safale s-04 yeast. I read that its a beast of a yeast and usually finished fermentation pretty quickly.
 

BlackJackBrews

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I don't think you have anything to worry about. I would say the worst case scenario is a small level of oxidization. I always rack to secondary at 6 days. Not saying that's how it should be done or anything, obviously gravity readings are a good idea, but I've never had ANY issues.
 

mlyday

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There will still be some yeast left in your wort, but I really would have left it for at least two weeks. Before you transfer it you should check the gravity and make sure its stable for 3 days before moving it. I would check the gravity from the secondary now, and see if its close to where it should be. If it is then dont worry. If not you could always add some more yeast.
 

jsweet

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If you racked it before primary fermentation was finished, you could potentially get a stuck fermentation. But you probably didn't. You heard right about S-04, that stuff is crazy. Unless you have it stored at like 50F, or it was a high gravity beer (>1.060 OG) or something like that, I can't imagine it wasn't done after 5 days. It's always possible, and always better to check, but I wouldn't worry too much, especially if a gravity reading right now is fairly close to the target FG in the recipe.
 

Changeduser123

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Was the fermentation very active at one point, before you transfered to secondary ?
Usually it will be very active for about 3 days after pitching, with a nice krausen at the top. Then things will calm down (it does not mean nothing happens, just the yeast are doing something else), and the krausen will fall.

If you transfered after this, you will be fine.
 

Tall_Yotie

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As you seem aware, you never want to rack your beer if the brew is not fully fermented.

can you take a hydrometer reading now? Did you take an OG reading? If the brew was not finished fermenting and you stop the fermentation prematurely then you will end up with sweeter beer with less alcohol, and thus the tastes that come with.

The yeast isn't the only factor for when fermentation is done. If your temperature is low then you will have a slower fermentation.

Take a reading now, see if you are at or near your expected FG.
 

Tall_Yotie

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I don't think you have anything to worry about. I would say the worst case scenario is a small level of oxidization. I always rack to secondary at 6 days. Not saying that's how it should be done or anything, obviously gravity readings are a good idea, but I've never had ANY issues.
For oxidation, that is the risk of racking to a secondary, not the risk of racking too early. And usually for a standard strength beer with a strong yeast 6 days is enough. I am a bit obsessive about testing my brews (I am a Test Engineer, so it comes naturally) so I always check the gravity before transferring.
 
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Don't know whether that's necessarily true; I would guess a huge number still use a secondary. They just don't talk much about it for fear of getting browbeaten.
Nice. Nothin wrong with going into secondary if youre clean and careful. Only worry is oxidation. That said, I prefer to dry hop in the secondary, so I use the secondary quite often. Although I think it's a good idea to leave the brew on the yeast in primary for two weeks or so to let the yeast clean up it's nasties before going to secondary for whatever reason.
 
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jonbomb

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Was the fermentation very active at one point, before you transfered to secondary ?
Usually it will be very active for about 3 days after pitching, with a nice krausen at the top. Then things will calm down (it does not mean nothing happens, just the yeast are doing something else), and the krausen will fall.

If you transfered after this, you will be fine.
I did transfer after the krausen dropped. I also was fermenting at a higher temperature. Also, I plan on taking a reading when I get home to see what the gravity is.
 

osagedr

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Nice. Nothin wrong with going into secondary if youre clean and careful. Only worry is oxidation. That said, I prefer to dry hop in the secondary, so I use the secondary quite often. Although I think it's a good idea to leave the brew on the yeast in primary for two weeks or so to let the yeast clean up it's nasties before going to secondary for whatever reason.
I now flood my secondaries with CO2 before transferring, but that's probably overkill. CO2 is cheap though so why not. I have a lot of secondaries and only a few primaries is my biggest reason for using one, but even so my beers get anywhere from 2-5 weeks in the primary.
 
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