Should I rack my beer again?

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spacehog

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I'm new to making lagers so this question might sound stupid. I have already racked my beer to a carboy that I have in my fridge at 47 degrees. After about a week I've got at least an inch or more of sediment on the bottom. I'm wondering if I should rack my beer to a tertiary fermenter which I could easily do. I've got more carboys than I need so it wouldn't be a problem. However, I've never racked my beer to a tertiary fermenter and I've never even considered it. Usually I only leave my beer in the secondary for 2 weeks so it seems silly to rack again. I'm told that I should age the lager for at least 3 weeks though, so I'm wondering if I should rack it again to a tertiary fermenter. What are the pros and cons of doing this? Thanks in advance.

-Hog
 

TheJadedDog

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Just leave it alone. Every time you move your beer you risk contamination and oxidation. There is no need to move it more than once. I've left beers in secondary for 5+ months with no issues.
 
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spacehog

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I'm sorry but I'm not totally familiar with beer brewing terminology yet. What do you mean when you say SG? Do you mean the hydrometer reading? If so, my hydrometer reading was at 1.018 at the time I racked it from the primary. It was in the primary for about a week, and it has been in the secondary now for nearly a week. According to the recipe I'm following, the final hydrometer reading should end up at 1.008 give or take. Should I check it again now?
 

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No, that's fine! Yes, the sg (specific gravity) is the hydrometer reading. You aren't ready to lager yet- since it's still fermenting. Did you taste your sample? That's really important with lagers, since you may need to do a diacetyl rest. I assume you did not yet do a diacetyl rest? That's when the fermentation is about 75% done, you take it out and keep it at 68 degrees for about 24 hours.

Did you start your fermentation at 47 degrees, and rack to a secondary at 47 degrees?

If you explain the process from pitching the yeast (and temps) to now, along with the type of yeast you used, I can help more!
 
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spacehog

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Ok, I'll try to step you through it. Feel free to ask more quesitons if you wish. I started with the yeast pack at 72 degrees for a couple of hours. I pitched it into the wort at about 70 degrees and kept it in the primary at that temperature for a week. When I moved it to the secondary I tried a small ammount. It tasted alright when compared to other beers that I've tasted at that stage. It was still a tad sweet, but there was clearly some fermenting left to do. I put the secondary in a room at 60 degrees for a day, and then into a fridge at 47 degrees for about 5 days now. I was told that I should gradually adjust the temperature with a lager, so I did my best to ease the temperature down to 47 degrees. The book I have on brewing doesn't tell me too much about lagers and my friends know only slightly more than I do. That's why I'm here. I'm told that I should keep it at a low temperature for at least 3 weeks. I can see that the yeast is still somewhat active because when I look at the carboy I can periodically see a small bubble rise to the surface. The beer is already noticeable clearer. What should I do? Have I already made a mistake?
 
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spacehog

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I can't remember the exact number or anything but it was a Czech style lager yeast made by Wyeast. It said on the package that 47 degrees was the desired temperature. It also said that I should activate it by putting it in 70-75 degrees for a couple of hours. My local homebrew shop told me to keep it warm while it was in the primary so I did.
 

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Ok, well, your beer is going to be ok, but not a lager if you fermented it for a week at 70 degrees! You'll notice that it will be fruity and less crisp, like an ale. It should have been fermented at 47 degrees the entire time.

Right now, leave it alone and let it finish fermenting. Keep it at 47 degrees for at least another two weeks. Don't raise or lower the temperature until it's completely finished.

Lagers should be fermented at around 50 degrees until finished and can sometimes use a diacetyl rest before lagering. When you get ready to lager, you'll slowly lower the temperature (5 degrees per day) until you're at 34 degrees and keep it there for 4-8 weeks or so. But you don't even try to start the lagering until the fermentation is done.

Here's some really good information on lagers and how to ferment them: http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter10-2.html
 

homebrewer_99

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The main purpose of racking is to move your brew off the yeast and to allow it to clear.

If you've already done that once then chances are you racked too soon. The evidence is on the bottom of the carboy. ;)

If it was my beer I would rack again, but that's just me.
 

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homebrewer_99 said:
The main purpose of racking is to move your brew off the yeast and to allow it to clear.

If you've already done that once then chances are you racked too soon. The evidence is on the bottom of the carboy. ;)

If it was my beer I would rack again, but that's just me.
Bill has a point- you might need to rack again, but definitely NOT until the fermentation is finished!
 
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spacehog

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Ok sweet. Thanks for all of the help. I feel much more informed now.
 
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