New Brewer: Secondary Fermentation in Bottle Bucket like an idiot

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ODRagnSLAYr

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Hey all. My first brew, it's a simple Pale Ale. Made some little mistakes with timing when making the wort, but overall things went fairly well. Hit a FG of 1.013 for about 36 hours, so decided I wanted get the beer a little clearer and try moving it to a secondary fermentor. I've since read all the advice on this forum and elsewhere about how, mostly, useless that is except in certain scenarios.

Problem: I used my bottling bucket as the secondary. Now reading more about aeration and oxygenation, I'm worried about how I'm going to bottle this beer without introducing more oxygen, or whether this is even something I should care about.

Question: I only just did this yesterday, should I
a) just get the priming sugar in it today and bottle asap
b) let it sit a few days, and then transfer back to the primary fermentor, clean and sanitize the bottle bucket and move it back and bottle
c) go out and buy another bottling bucket, and rack the beer into that bucket for bottling after it's been sitting for a few days

Thanks for your help. It's been fun so far, but it's the nerve racking feeling of omg, did I just ruin or make something pretty awful after waiting weeks for it to be done...
 

RM-MN

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How long was the beer in the primary fermenter? Did you check that it had reached final gravity before you moved it to secondary?

If it was at or near final gravity I would probably add some sugar so the yeast would get active again, scavenging oxygen and producing CO2 to drive off what it didn't scavenge. In a few days (3 to5 would be a guess) the sugar would be gone. Heat up a pint or so of water and weigh your priming sugar, stirring it into this hot water (doesn't need to boil, 160F would be plenty), then pour this sugar water into the bucket and proceed to bottle.
 
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ODRagnSLAYr

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It was in the primary fermentor for 8 days. I had a tilt 2 in the fermentor, and at day 6 it hit 1.013 and sort of sat there. I assumed that meant I hit final gravity. Was I incorrect in that assumption?

If it was at or near final gravity I would probably add some sugar so the yeast would get active again, scavenging oxygen and producing CO2 to drive off what it didn't scavenge. In a few days (3 to5 would be a guess) the sugar would be gon
Are you saying I should try and trigger the yeast to restart fermentation and then in a few days just dump the priming sugar water into the bucket and bottle? If so, I have follow up questions :)

1) How much sugar would I need to add?
2) if the yeast starts to eat that sugar, is it going to have an effect on my overall carbonation when I go an bottle it?
3) how do you add the priming sugar solution to the bucket without kicking up a ton of air and ensuring that priming sugar is evenly distributed?
4) if I bottle from this"secondary fermentor", am I defeating the purpose of what I was originally trying to do, clear it up?

Thanks!
 

Miraculix

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It was in the primary fermentor for 8 days. I had a tilt 2 in the fermentor, and at day 6 it hit 1.013 and sort of sat there. I assumed that meant I hit final gravity. Was I incorrect in that assumption?


Are you saying I should try and trigger the yeast to restart fermentation and then in a few days just dump the priming sugar water into the bucket and bottle? If so, I have follow up questions :)

1) How much sugar would I need to add?
2) if the yeast starts to eat that sugar, is it going to have an effect on my overall carbonation when I go an bottle it?
3) how do you add the priming sugar solution to the bucket without kicking up a ton of air and ensuring that priming sugar is evenly distributed?
4) if I bottle from this"secondary fermentor", am I defeating the purpose of what I was originally trying to do, clear it up?

Thanks!
Bottle it and call it a day. The bottling sugar will also lead the yeast to consume the o2 available. Leave little headspace, 5mm to further lower oxidation.

Don't do stupid stuff again and enjoy your beer in three weeks.

Btw. You don't need a bottling bucket. Just a little funnel and some sugar, dose every bottle on it's own. I use a little spoon that keeps the correct amount of sugar for my preferred carbonation. Check with a scale.
 

lumpher

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I always let mine go for about 2 weeks primary. Depending on temp, 8 days may not be enough. As far as the 1.013 goes, what was OG? 1.013 could very well be finished. Either way, I'd just let it sit in the secondary for another week, then bottle. The sediment, if any, will settle in the bottles. Just pour them into a glass nice and slow, and don't kick up the yeast in the bottom.
If you decide to add more sugar while it's in the fermenter and let it sit for 3-4 days, and I wouldn't, the yeast will eat the sugar, being it's just a simple sugar, and not complex, and won't affect bottling carbonation.
 

RM-MN

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It was in the primary fermentor for 8 days. I had a tilt 2 in the fermentor, and at day 6 it hit 1.013 and sort of sat there. I assumed that meant I hit final gravity. Was I incorrect in that assumption?

When I started brewing the instructions said to bottle in a week...so I did. No problem except for the excessive trub in every bottle.

1) How much sugar would I need to add?

Not much, I'd probably guess at 1/8 to 1/4 cup.

2) if the yeast starts to eat that sugar, is it going to have an effect on my overall carbonation when I go an bottle it?

Remember that you hit final gravity by day 8 or earlier and your yeast had to propagate to a decent level to do that and eat sugars that it doesn't really like to. You'll be adding a small amount of sugar to a fermenter with billions of yeast cells already and the sugar you add will be easy for them to digest. It will happen quickly. That's where the 3 to 5 days I mentioned come into play.

3) how do you add the priming sugar solution to the bucket without kicking up a ton of air and ensuring that priming sugar is evenly distributed?

Pour the sugar and water solution as carefully as you can and stir it slowly with a big spoon. This isn't a perfect solution...but neither was using a bucket for secondary.

4) if I bottle from this"secondary fermentor", am I defeating the purpose of what I was originally trying to do, clear it up?

It will clear up in the bottles.

Bottle it and call it a day. The bottling sugar will also lead the yeast to consume the o2 available. Leave little headspace, 5mm to further lower oxidation.

This is probably the best suggestion. I didn't mention it earlier because I didn't know how long the beer was in the primary or if it still needed some time to reach final gravity. Since you had already reached 1.013, the beer is pretty likely to be done.
 
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ODRagnSLAYr

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You guys are awesome. Glad I joined after lurking for a while. OG was 1.050, so I think we got to FG. Sounds like it's either just bottle it now and get it over with, or let it sit, add the sugar, and bottle it. In either case, it'll be a little "dirty" and that's just part of the learning curve.

Don't do stupid stuff again and enjoy your beer in three weeks.
😂👍
 

RM-MN

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You guys are awesome. Glad I joined after lurking for a while. OG was 1.050, so I think we got to FG. Sounds like it's either just bottle it now and get it over with, or let it sit, add the sugar, and bottle it. In either case, it'll be a little "dirty" and that's just part of the learning curve.


😂👍

Be patient while the beer is in the bottle. Time will tend to let thing settle out there and with a careful pour you can leave them behind in the bottom of the bottle.

Anectdote: I made a wheat beer with plenty of haze in it like I was told it should have but I was slow to drink it all as I had several varieties to choose from. Well before I finished the batch the beer had become crystal clear. That can happen with your beer too. I will tell people that wait 3 weeks after bottling and your beer will be better. Longer can help too.
 

Miraculix

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You guys are awesome. Glad I joined after lurking for a while. OG was 1.050, so I think we got to FG. Sounds like it's either just bottle it now and get it over with, or let it sit, add the sugar, and bottle it. In either case, it'll be a little "dirty" and that's just part of the learning curve.


😂👍
That's the spirit!
 

Rish

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You could just leave it in the bottling bucket for a few more days, then as Miraculous said, add sugar to each bottle then fill from the bucket. I use 3/4 teaspoon of table sugar per bottle. You could also buy some carbonation drops, but they're more expensive and don't work any better. Happy brewing!
 

bwible

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If the object of a secondary, or a “settling tank” as it is called by many breweries who use one, is to drop out sediment resulting in a clearer beer - then using your bottling bucket for your secondary doesn’t make sense. When you add your bottling sugar to the batch and stir in it, you are just going to re-distribute everything at bottling that settled out. The only way to avoid doing that would be to individually prime each bottle with an accurately measured super tiny amount of sugar at bottling. A process that is super laborious and often imprecise.

Yes, don’t do that. Either don’t secondary or “settle” your beers, or if you’re going to (some people do) then get one of the appropriate size carboys. They make them now that are not glass, and I’d go with one of those. Better Bottle if those are still around, Fermonster, etc.
 

RM-MN

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If the object of a secondary, or a “settling tank” as it is called by many breweries who use one, is to drop out sediment resulting in a clearer beer - then using your bottling bucket for your secondary doesn’t make sense. When you add your bottling sugar to the batch and stir in it, you are just going to re-distribute everything at bottling that settled out. The only way to avoid doing that would be to individually prime each bottle with an accurately measured super tiny amount of sugar at bottling. A process that is super laborious and often imprecise.

Yes, don’t do that. Either don’t secondary or “settle” your beers, or if you’re going to (some people do) then get one of the appropriate size carboys. They make them now that are not glass, and I’d go with one of those. Better Bottle if those are still around, Fermonster, etc.

This isn't necessarily completely true. By bottling time the yeast has clumped up to settle out and while stirring will re-suspend some of the yeast it will quickly settle to the bottom again unless you stir vigorously enough to break them apart which at the same time will oxidize the beer.
 

Miraculix

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If the object of a secondary, or a “settling tank” as it is called by many breweries who use one, is to drop out sediment resulting in a clearer beer - then using your bottling bucket for your secondary doesn’t make sense. When you add your bottling sugar to the batch and stir in it, you are just going to re-distribute everything at bottling that settled out. The only way to avoid doing that would be to individually prime each bottle with an accurately measured super tiny amount of sugar at bottling. A process that is super laborious and often imprecise.

Yes, don’t do that. Either don’t secondary or “settle” your beers, or if you’re going to (some people do) then get one of the appropriate size carboys. They make them now that are not glass, and I’d go with one of those. Better Bottle if those are still around, Fermonster, etc.

You just need to measure the amount you want per bottle which should be between 2g and 4g (don't know what's at tiny amount for you), find a spoon that takes that amount, use a small funnel and fill one spoon into each bottle. If you want 3g, then you might have some bottles with 2.8g and some with 3.2g, a person with ocd might not like it but in reality it doesn't matter. It's probably still more precise than trying to mix two liquids with different densities in a bucket without stirring in too hard because of oxygen.

Takes me about ten minutes to prepare the bottles for a 20l batch when priming reach bottle separately.

As a plus, no additional bucket to sanitise before and clean afterwards, no preparation of sugar solution necessary, no extra oxygen ingress. I think time wise it should actually be quicker to prime each bottle separately.
 
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