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Secondary fermenter question

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moarbacon

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First batch so bear with me. Brewing a partial mash pale ale. The instructions I was given told me to leave it my primary (plastic bucket) for seven days. So then I racked it to my glass carboy and it's started foaming out of my airlock for maybe ten hours. Any ideas on what happened and will it affect any final outcome?
 

JLem

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Moving the beer can cause CO2 to off-gas. Also, your fermentation may not have been done. Given the carboy was smaller (I assume), it is not too surprising that you had some blow off. Everything sounds fine though - no need to worry.

On a side note though...a lot of folks, me included, skip the secondary step. 90% or more of the time it is completely unnecessary and may actually be detrimental to your beer. In the future, try just letting the beer ride it out in the primary for 2-3 weeks and then bottle. I only use a secondary if I am bulk aging for a while (i.e. months) or want to add fruit or oak.
 

jester5120

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could be a number of things that caused that but nothing to worry about.
 

homebrewdad

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First batch so bear with me. Brewing a partial mash pale ale. The instructions I was given told me to leave it my primary (plastic bucket) for seven days. So then I racked it to my glass carboy and it's started foaming out of my airlock for maybe ten hours. Any ideas on what happened and will it affect any final outcome?
What happened is that fermentation was not done in seven days. If you don't have a hydrometer, you need to buy one. Next time, check your gravity reading once you think fermentation might be done; when you have the same reading for three days in a row, you know that fermentation is done.

That being said, you'll usually get better beer if you leave it for a while after fermentation is done; this allows the yeast to clean up after themselves. You'll see a LOT of vets here mention three weeks in prrimary as a great rule of thumb.

I doubt you'll have any true bad effects from your experience, but next time, ignore the directions and be more patient, and your experience will be better.
 

pjj2ba

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Yes, it was racked too early. I suspect you were fermenting a bit on the cool side - which is often a good thing. You just need to wait longer before transfering.

Now as to the leaving it in primary for longer, this is something experience and your taste preferences will help you decide. Many folks like the flavors they get from leaving their beers on the yeast cake longer. I do not like them, and prefer the flavors I get when I move my beer off the yeast cake once fermentation is complete (I brew mostly lighter beer styles). The yeast that are in suspension are the ones that do any "cleaning up" that might be necessary, not those in the yeast cake.

There was a nice write up in BYO magazine where they compared long primary versus secondary. All of the testers agreed the beers had some subtle differences to them. However half preferred the flavors from one method, and half preferred the other. Let your taste buds guide you to which you prefer.
 

BamaRooster

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on a side note though...a lot of folks, me included, skip the secondary step. 90% or more of the time it is completely unnecessary and may actually be detrimental to your beer. In the future, try just letting the beer ride it out in the primary for 2-3 weeks and then bottle. I only use a secondary if i am bulk aging for a while (i.e. Months) or want to add fruit or oak.
+1
 

nimo23

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Moving the beer can cause CO2 to off-gas. Also, your fermentation may not have been done. Given the carboy was smaller (I assume), it is not too surprising that you had some blow off. Everything sounds fine though - no need to worry.

On a side note though...a lot of folks, me included, skip the secondary step. 90% or more of the time it is completely unnecessary and may actually be detrimental to your beer. In the future, try just letting the beer ride it out in the primary for 2-3 weeks and then bottle. I only use a secondary if I am bulk aging for a while (i.e. months) or want to add fruit or oak.
What about when dry hopping? Can I just add my dry hops directly into the primary fermenter?
 

JLem

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nimo23 said:
What about when dry hopping? Can I just add my dry hops directly into the primary fermenter?
You can do either. I don't do a lot if dry hopping but when I do I throw them right into the primary. Dry hopping in secondary is probably more common however - or at least it has been since racking to secondary has also been a common practice. Now that more people are skipping the secondary, dry hopping in primary has become more common.
 

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