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Secondary Fermentation

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I just finished my first batch using only a single fermentation. The beer is a lot cloudier than what I was hoping for, and I have been told that a secondary fermentation can help this. I haven't had much success looking up the details on secondary fermentation...although every board/site that I read, suggests it. Does anybody have any documents or advice on some of the details concerning this technique?
 

Janx

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Look around on these forums and there is a lot of discussion of secondaries. I recommend that you rack to a secondary fermenter a week or so after you start your ferment. It will definitely help with clarity.

However, clarity really is one of the bigger hurdles homebrewers have to overcome. a lot of the haze we get is often chill haze which can happen from hot side aeration and a number of other things that are difficult for the new homebrewer to control. All I'm saying is, don't be too disheartened if you can't get crystal clear beer like a brewery right off the bat. Those guys use filters to do that, and hazy beer can taste just as good. The haze has no effect on flavor.

Racking to a secondary will have an enormous positive effect on flavor, and will almost certainly help the clarity a great deal. Cheers! :D
 
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I am currently on my first batch in my new hobby. I have read the book by Charlie Papazian and his simple instructions in the first few chapters was that single stage fermentation was fine. Of course being anxious to get into the hobby, I have yet to read his entire book but went on with my first batch. During the first couple of days into the batch, I continually came across info on the web which strongly suggests secondary fermentation. There are many varying suggestions on when to begin this. What I picked up on was 'after the initial rage of ferementation'. The first day and a bit, the ferment lock poped every 3 seconds or so but on the third day it dropped significantly so I went to my secondary container for fermentation. After reading more, it seems this may be a little early but I also believe from reading on this that I will be o.k. (being that I did secondary at all vice not doing it). I think in the future just for simplicity of scheduling my brewing activities on the weekend, I will go to secondary after a week of primary fermentation.
My question (after all this typing) is, what is the primary goal of going to stage two? Is this clarity of beer, getting the beer off of the slurry of the primary fermenter to improve taste, or simply to free up equipment so that another batch can be brewed and in the works instead of tying up your primary fermenter? I believe I will go with one week for going from primary to secondary but if anyone has any strong opinions on this, please post with your reasoning :)

Thanks...
 

NUCC98

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DyerNeedOfBeer said:
My question (after all this typing) is, what is the primary goal of going to stage two? Is this clarity of beer, getting the beer off of the slurry of the primary fermenter to improve taste, or simply to free up equipment so that another batch can be brewed and in the works instead of tying up your primary fermenter? I believe I will go with one week for going from primary to secondary but if anyone has any strong opinions on this, please post with your reasoning :)
Thanks...
It's all of those things, I think. I get much clearer product after a week or 2 in the secondary. Like Janx said, though, it won't be crystal. No filters, afterall. I mean, none of my secondary brews had haze or particles floating around in them. Light could penetrate the glass it was served in, you could see through it, etc. But, not crystal. What really seemed to help my last batch clear up was cold-filtering. I moved my secondary in my attic for about a week in cold weather. It allows more junk to settle out.

Getting the beeer off the slurry helps reduce off-flavors, but I don't think those would work their way in in less than a week.
 

Janx

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I go to the secondary after a week for the same reason you say. I brew once a week and do all my brew chores that day. Plus, I re-use the yeast in my primary by putting the new batch onto it. So, it all works out to transfer after a week.

The purpose of a transfer to secondary is all of the things you mentioned. Clarity, flavor, making room in the primary so you can re-use the yeast or at least the fermenter space. It's one of those things that you'll want to do for a lot of reasons. Overall it makes your beer much much better.

Cheers! :D
 

bacochrane

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Janx said:
I go to the secondary after a week for the same reason you say. I brew once a week and do all my brew chores that day. Plus, I re-use the yeast in my primary by putting the new batch onto it. So, it all works out to transfer after a week.

The purpose of a transfer to secondary is all of the things you mentioned. Clarity, flavor, making room in the primary so you can re-use the yeast or at least the fermenter space. It's one of those things that you'll want to do for a lot of reasons. Overall it makes your beer much much better.

Cheers! :D
I transferred my beer after 5 days when the bubbles in the air lock went down to 1 every four minutes. I have then waited another few days and have noticed that the beer has become clear in the carboy except for the dry hopping that i did. I now have trub at the bottom and a portion of the dry hops at the top. I would like to rack the beer, but don't want hop remains in my bottles. how can I filter the fininshed wort without contaminating it? what kind of filter and how do i keep o2 out?
 

Janx

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I wouldn't bother with a filter. All filtering solutions that I have tried on a homebrewer level have been an enormous hassle with little benefit.

I would let it sit longer in the secondary. Your hops (pellets?) will probably settle out if you give it another week or so. Your beer will definitely be better if you let it sit a week or two.

It sounds like it's only been a little over a week since you brewed it. It's too early to bottle IMO. I like to have at least 3 weeks on a beer before kegging or bottling. Don't worry about the trub in the secondary. It's probably not much, and it's just yeast falling out. It won't hurt a thing.

Another suggestion I would make is to switch to whole hops, at least for dry hopping. Whole hops are much easier to keep out of your fermenters/bottles/whatever than are pellets.
 

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bacochrane said:
I transferred my beer after 5 days when the bubbles in the air lock went down to 1 every four minutes. I have then waited another few days and have noticed that the beer has become clear in the carboy except for the dry hopping that i did. I now have trub at the bottom and a portion of the dry hops at the top. I would like to rack the beer, but don't want hop remains in my bottles. how can I filter the fininshed wort without contaminating it? what kind of filter and how do i keep o2 out?
I asked that question today to my HBS because I will be doing dry hopping next week. At Janx's advise to not shake the carboy to settle the floating hops, the HBS said to sanitize a rubberband and hops bag and put it over the siphon when transferring to the bottling bucket. I'll give it a whirl and see what happens.
 

Janx

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Yep, that's a good idea. You can use a Chore Boy or similar scrubby steel wool pad (without soap added to it ;)) for the filter also and it works well in my experience.
 

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Janx.....I'm curious as to how you sanitize your primary with the yeast slurry still sitting in it? Do you remove it, sanitize, then replace it, or what?

I'm sure I'm not the first to ask. I just haven't run across your answer yet. :)
 

rightwingnut

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I've read enough of his posts on this that I feel I know the answer. You don't have to sanitize it, as long as you're careful for the whole process. Everything should already be good to go, and the resulting fermentation will be vigorous enough to out-compete any bacteria...
 

Janx

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Yep, rack one beer out of the primary. Chill your wort right into it. It'll be fermenting before you turn around.

I do have a narrow-necked demijohn for a primary, and I'm sure that helps minimize exposure. If you have a bucket or something, leave the lid over it as much as possible. Minimize exposure of your yeast to the elements. And don't try to re-use the yeast in this way too many times. I do 4 batches usually if everything has been nice and clean.

Good sanitation, as always, is key to success doing this trick.
 

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A long time...many batches. :D

So let's say your initial yeast cost you $7. The second time you use it both batches divide that price, so you've only paid $3.50 each batch.

Four batches = $1.75

Seven batches = $1.00

Then you can always remove some of the yeast and bottle it for later.

Now that's economizing! :D
 

Rhoobarb

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I use this method and I've even let the 'empty-except-for-the-yeast-cake' carboy sit with an airlock on it for up to a week before racking a new beer onto it. No sanitizing - nothing. As long as you are as careful about your sanitation as you normally would for any other brewing chore, you'll be fine.

I usually go 3-4 bathces before changing out yeasts. And I usually work up from lighter to darker and/or lighter to heavier hopping.
 

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I use this method and I've even let the 'empty-except-for-the-yeast-cake' carboy sit with an airlock on it for up to a week before racking a new beer onto it. No sanitizing - nothing. As long as you are as careful about your sanitation as you normally would for any other brewing chore, you'll be fine.

I usually go 3-4 bathces before changing out yeasts. And I usually work up from lighter to darker and/or lighter to heavier hopping.
So you can reuse the yeast cake? you just mix it back up with the new wort when u add it to the carboy?
 

bmick

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So you can reuse the yeast cake? you just mix it back up with the new wort when u add it to the carboy?
Sir, did you just bump a 6 year old thread?

Ha, you can reuse the cake just like that, but make sure the cake you are racking onto was from a pretty neutral beer (e.g. APA, Blonde, etc)
 

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haha, i didnt even notice the date but yes i did! alright ill have to look at it im brewing a red ale right now.
 

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