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Secondary Fermentation

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SilvaRizla

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Hello,

I have just started another brew after quite a while, and was wondering how much difference a secondary fermentation makes?

I bought a begginers kit from http://www.art-of-brewing.co.uk which is just single staged, ferment/keg.

If I were to do a secondary fermentation, how would I go about doing it, and can it just be done in another food grade fermenting bin?

Thanks

Silva
 

Doug

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I've only done 4 batches myself, but I've been doing secondary since the second. As far as I can tell, there seems to be two reasons for using a secondary - removing an extra layer of sludge to clear the beer, and getting the beer off the yeast cake. Apparently the yeast will impart off flavors in the beer after it starts eating itself.

There is a lot of debate over how much the second issue is actually a concern if it is only a matter of a couple of weeks, but I can definitely say that using a secondary will clear the beer a bit.

Also, as to what to use: a lot of people say using glass at this stage is better. You are probably fine using the same type of container as your primary. It is more important for it to be especially air tight though, as the fermentation is mainly finished and not putting out a lot of gas to keep the bad stuff pushed out.

There are my junior member answers. They are subject to peer review until I do at least a dozen more batches myself.

- doug
 
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SilvaRizla

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ok, how do I do it though? Just transfer the beer on its own? Do I need to add finings at this stage?
 

Doug

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Not too complicated - here is what I have been doing, largely due to the advice found on this forum:

About an hour before, I move my carboy to something off the ground. This helps gravity do its work when I rack. I let it sit so it can settle back down from the move.

While it's settling, I sanitize my secondary carboy, airlock, racking tubes, and autosiphon. Then it's just a matter of racking from one carboy to the other. Although apparently it is very important not to aerate your beer too much at this point. Just let the tube submerge itself in the secondary and I would think that would do the trick. It will swirl a bit as it fills, but that should be fine.

You'll lose a bit of beer at the bottom of the primary, but you also lose a lot of the sludge, and that's the point. Keep the racking cane in one place as to not kick anything up.

Does that answer your questions?

- doug
 

cowain

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I believe the reason that most people use glass at this stage is because the fermentation is slowly considerably and the glass carboys taper to a small hole at the top instead of remaining the same size like the buckets do. This allows a smaller head space for air to affect the flavors of the beer. Also, the buckets generally provide a lot of room for the krausen and glass carboys are usually just the right size.
 

AHammer16

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The secondary helps reduce the sludge and contact with the yeast "cake" at the bottom of the vessel.
I believe glass is preferred because it is non porrus and doesn't hold on to comaninants like a scratched up plastic bucket.
if you get a racking cane make sure it has a stand off on the bottom of it to keep from drawing from the yeast layer. Oh yeah, and dont start the siphon with you mouth directly on the hose, it will introduce bacteria from your mouth into the brew.
 
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SilvaRizla

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Whats a racking cane? I have a tap on my bin so don't need to syphon, although I will if I buy a carboy so I'll take note

Thanks everyone
 

vtfan99

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SilvaRizla said:
Whats a racking cane? I have a tap on my bin so don't need to syphon, although I will if I buy a carboy so I'll take note

Thanks everyone

Racking cane is a hard plastic/stainless steel tube that has a device on the end causing the tube to sit about an inch or so off the bottom of the carboy/bucket. It helps you siphon from the vessel without getting a lot of trub in the siphon. If you have a tap on your bucket, you wouldn't need this as you can attach hose to the tap and proceed that way.
 

bikebryan

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vtfan99 said:
Racking cane is a hard plastic/stainless steel tube that has a device on the end causing the tube to sit about an inch or so off the bottom of the carboy/bucket. It helps you siphon from the vessel without getting a lot of trub in the siphon. If you have a tap on your bucket, you wouldn't need this as you can attach hose to the tap and proceed that way.
Close, but not quite right.....

A racking cane is a hard plastic/stainless steel tube, 'tis true. It has a bend at the top and angles down a bit; you attach transfer tubing to this. The bend at the top, with the down angle, allows the siphon action to continue once started.

However, not all racking canes have the anti-trub tips on them. If that tip is missing, you still have a racking cane!
 

brewhead

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ok, how do I do it though? Just transfer the beer on its own?
]
Whats a racking cane? I have a tap on my bin so don't need to syphon


you need to siphon for two reasons - one: the siphoning process produces less splash than using your spigot to xfer. two: siphoning with a racking cane allows you to leave the yeast cake behind.

using a secondary in your process will produce clearer, mellowed beer in my experience. i started out with a primary and a secondary so i know no other way. i will secondary even the darkest of my beers. for the 15 or twenty minutes it takes i think it makes better beer.

secondary carboy: $20
racking cane and tubing: $15
better beer: priceless
 

vtfan99

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bikebryan said:
Close, but not quite right.....

A racking cane is a hard plastic/stainless steel tube, 'tis true. It has a bend at the top and angles down a bit; you attach transfer tubing to this. The bend at the top, with the down angle, allows the siphon action to continue once started.

However, not all racking canes have the anti-trub tips on them. If that tip is missing, you still have a racking cane!

Getting a little picky aren't we? In that regard, not all racking canes have a bend at the top. Some are simply a straight tube.
 

bikebryan

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vtfan99 said:
Getting a little picky aren't we? In that regard, not all racking canes have a bend at the top. Some are simply a straight tube.
OK, you've got me there - but every racking cane I've seen for sale has the bend, whereas most I've seen don't automatically include the anti-sediment tip.
 
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