Question about yeast fallout after racking to secondary

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DeafSmith

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I'm fermenting my third batch now and just racked to secondary yesterday. On the first two brews, I had some yeast settle to the bottom of the secondary carboy, but never this much. This is a significantly bigger beer than the first two, and I had a big yeast cake in primary (couple of inches, at least). I know I picked up a little of that at the end of racking, but left the great majority of it behind - yet within a few hours of racking, I had a big yeast cake in the secondary - it's now about an inch and a half thick - I assume it's almost all yeast because it's a nice clean white color.
This beer is a Porter - expected O.G. was 1.061, I measured 1.072 (maybe I didn't have the top-off water mixed in well enough?). I had it in primary for 26 days. Expected F.G. is 1.017 (has 8 oz. Malto Dextrin) - I measured the F.G. a week ago at 1.022; yesterday it was 1.021. I had originally planned to skip the secondary, but didn't due to the amount of trub and what appeared to be a fine "dust" of yeast clinging to the side walls of the 6 gallon B.B primary fermenter. I'm glad I went to secondary or I would have ended up with all that yeast in my bottling bucket. There was little sediment in my bottling bucket on my first two batches.

Anyway, what I want to know is:
1. is it normal to have that much yeast settle out right after racking to secondary?
2. if it is, then why do so many people here skip the secondary - seems like they would end up with a huge amount of sediment in their bottles/kegs?
 

histo320

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It is not uncommmon to get some sediment at the bottom of your secondary. I don't think it is normal to have that much but I've only used a secondary twice for flavoring.

People here skip secondaries becuase they don't see a need for them. When racking from primary into bottling bucket, you have to be careful not to suck up to much yeast. I do this by using a clamp on the siphon hose to keep it above the yeast cake. Even if you do rack some yeast, it usually settles down at the bottom of the bottling bucket and most of it doesn't get into the bottles.
 

ajf

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1. is it normal to have that much yeast settle out right after racking to secondary?
No, but then again, it isn't normal to brew with an OG of 1.072 (read more than 50% of beers have an OG lower than that).
2. if it is, then why do so many people here skip the secondary - seems like they would end up with a huge amount of sediment in their bottles/kegs?
See answer to 1.
You had a large amount of sediment in the primary that had settled out. Yopu admit that you picked up a certain amount of that sediment when transferring to the secondary. However, since the transfer, it hasn't had enough time to settle out and compact. Some of it is beginning to settle, but it hasn't compacted yet. My guess is that in a week or so, it will compact and you won't have 1.5" of yeast on the bottom of the fermenter.

I don't use a secondary for most of my beers, and I don't have the problem that you described, so it isn't an issue. Every time I've made a brew with an OG over 1.070 recently, I have used a secondary, but that was for dry hopping.

I also usually use highly flocculating yeasts which would minimise the problem.

-a.
 

HSM

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It is not uncommmon to get some sediment at the bottom of your secondary. I don't think it is normal to have that much but I've only used a secondary twice for flavoring.

People here skip secondaries becuase they don't see a need for them.
Please Histo320.. don't speak for everyone. I always use a secondary, and many others do, for the very reason this poster brings forth, to remove even more yeast and break from the beer.

While you might not see a need.. Keep the bad advice to to a minimum.
 

histo320

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Please Histo320.. don't speak for everyone. I always use a secondary, and many others do, for the very reason this poster brings forth, to remove even more yeast and break from the beer.

While you might not see a need.. Keep the bad advice to to a minimum.

Sorry, I wasn't speaking for everyone when I said, "People here skip secondaries becuase they don't see a need for them." I just mean that many of the people who DO NOT use secondaries don't see why you rack to a secondary when you can use other methods to clear your beer such as Gelatin.

I am not talking down on the people who use secondaries or saying that it is meaningless, I have used one but only for adding flavoring agents.

I do not think that saying "many people CHOOSE not to use secondaries" is bad advice, it is the TRUTH!
 
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DeafSmith

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Even if you do rack some yeast, it usually settles down at the bottom of the bottling bucket and most of it doesn't get into the bottles.
I use Revvy's dip tube (great idea, BTW) on the inside of the bucket when I bottle, so I get almost everything out of the bucket during bottling and need to avoid getting sediment into the bucket in the first place as much as possible.
 
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DeafSmith

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You had a large amount of sediment in the primary that had settled out. Yopu admit that you picked up a certain amount of that sediment when transferring to the secondary. However, since the transfer, it hasn't had enough time to settle out and compact. Some of it is beginning to settle, but it hasn't compacted yet. My guess is that in a week or so, it will compact and you won't have 1.5" of yeast on the bottom of the fermenter.



I also usually use highly flocculating yeasts which would minimise the problem.

-a.

I suspect you're probably right about it packing down - there couldn't possibly be that much yeast in there.

As for the highly floculating yeasts, I did use some WLP001 which I had collected and washed from the secondary of my last brew. Seems like I heard somewhere that taking yeast from the secondary selects for the less highly floculating yeast, so maybe that's part of the reason for having so much still in suspension after almost 4 weeks?
 

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Different strokes for different folks. I brew more than a keg can hold so I never touch the cake when racking. I rarely secondary but incrementally cold crash every batch, then use a keg as a conditioning vessel. I have never used gelatin. Once transferred to the serving keg I have beautiful clear beer from the first pour to the last. Incremental cold crashing removes 99% of the sediment, the rest is left in the conditioning keg. If you are going to use the cake to ferment your next batch always use the primary cake for the following reasons, better health, higher cell count, and still active.
 

BierMuncher

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I'm fermenting my third batch now and just racked to secondary yesterday. On the first two brews, I had some yeast settle to the bottom of the secondary carboy, but never this much. This is a significantly bigger beer than the first two, and I had a big yeast cake in primary (couple of inches, at least). I know I picked up a little of that at the end of racking, but left the great majority of it behind - yet within a few hours of racking, I had a big yeast cake in the secondary - it's now about an inch and a half thick - I assume it's almost all yeast because it's a nice clean white color.
This beer is a Porter - expected O.G. was 1.061, I measured 1.072 (maybe I didn't have the top-off water mixed in well enough?). I had it in primary for 26 days. Expected F.G. is 1.017 (has 8 oz. Malto Dextrin) - I measured the F.G. a week ago at 1.022; yesterday it was 1.021. I had originally planned to skip the secondary, but didn't due to the amount of trub and what appeared to be a fine "dust" of yeast clinging to the side walls of the 6 gallon B.B primary fermenter. I'm glad I went to secondary or I would have ended up with all that yeast in my bottling bucket. There was little sediment in my bottling bucket on my first two batches.

Anyway, what I want to know is:
1. is it normal to have that much yeast settle out right after racking to secondary?
2. if it is, then why do so many people here skip the secondary - seems like they would end up with a huge amount of sediment in their bottles/kegs?
First hand testimony that moving beer to a secondary does indeed promote accelerated yeast clearing.

The fundamentals of passive filtration through sedimentation insist that when you move a liquid from a high concentration environment to a low concentration environment...the desired effect of sedimentation (falling out) is inevitable.

+1,000,000,000 to HB99, I secondary everything....PERIOD.
 
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I stopped secondaries out of convenience when I moved to kegs, but when and if I bottle batches in the future, I'll definitely go back to the secondaries because I, too, saw how much freakin' yeast falls out that I don't want in my bottles.

Or maybe I'll just crash cool for a month.
 
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DeafSmith

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First hand testimony that moving beer to a secondary does indeed promote accelerated yeast clearing.

The fundamentals of passive filtration through sedimentation insist that when you move a liquid from a high concentration environment to a low concentration environment...the desired effect of sedimentation (falling out) is inevitable.

+1,000,000,000 to HB99, I secondary everything....PERIOD.
I've never heard of passive filtration through sedimentation, but would this be something like the equilibrium between a liquid and its vapor - equal amounts of liquid vaporizing and condensing? So, in the primary I had equal amounts of yeast coming into suspension off of the cake as were settling out onto the cake. Then when I racked, leaving the cake behind, the settling rate was greater until a new cake was established, which allowed a new equilibrium condition (at a lower concentration) to be reached?
 

ChshreCat

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Also, I noticed in my BB that the yeast that settles to the bottom will be higher up on the sides due to the slope than they are across the rest of the bottom. So, it looks like there's a huge deep layer in there, and then when you rack off it's a lot less than it seems.

That's exactly what happened with my first batch. There was yeast over an inch up the sides of my secondary, but when I racked it off it was just a thing dusting that was stuck to the sides.
 

homebrewer_99

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+1,000,000,000 to HB99, I secondary everything....PERIOD.
I wish they were dollars....:rockin::ban:

The secondary is about more than just yeast (sediment) falling out. It's used mainly for clearing and bulk conditioning. I have plenty of brews in the pipeline and have learned (and preach) that fermentation is a natural process that CAN NOT be altered...(so why fight it...)...I'm in no hurry...

Like Orson Wells said...I shall serve (or was it drink) no wine before its time...OK, I do sample along the way, but I don't bottle/keg early just because I am in a hurry. :mug: :D
 
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