Still krausen... Should I rack into secondary?

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bismarckbrew

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I just brewed my first batch on Saturday. I've been trying to read as soak up as much information as possible, but I have a question I was unable to find a good answer to. Let me back up for a second. I read this article:
Brewium.com: Home Brewing Article: On Two Stage Fermentation
It's a pretty convincing article which talks about the importance of racking at 80-90% attenuation, quite a bit earlier than most suggest. My airlock is bubbling in the 15-20 second mark, but I still have krausen.

Is anyone using this technique, if so, can you give me an answer?

Thank you helpful brewers!
 

Revvy

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No...krausen is an indication that fermentation is still happening. Leave it till it's done..in fact thinking about racking to secondary when it's been only inprimry for 5 days is not good either...you will find that leaving it on the yeast for awhile benefits your beer...rather than rusing it off.

Many of us leave our beers in primary for 3-4 weeks...95% of mine I don't touch for a month...we have found it makes our beer taste better..

If you insist on secondarting wait til it's been in primary for a week, take a grav reading...then take another on the 10th day, if they are the same then rack...but honestly, when I DO secondary, I leave my beers inprimary for 14 days, then rack for another two weeks..

This is NOT making koolaid, you are dealing with a living micro-organism, and they are in charge...it's their time-table, not any book's or kit instructions..they are the bosses. Let them do their jobs and they will provide you with tasty beer..

Don't rush!
 

david_42

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Lots of good opinions there. No data.

I stopped using a secondary years ago and my beers are better for it.
 

Revvy

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I subscribe to Palmer's let the yeast clean up after itself idea.

From How to Brew;
Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermentor for a total of 2-3 weeks (instead of just the one week most canned kits recommend), will provide time for the conditioning reactions and improve the beer. This extra time will also let more sediment settle out before bottling, resulting in a clearer beer and easier pouring. And, three weeks in the primary fermentor is usually not enough time for off-flavors to occur....

...The fermentation of malt sugars into beer is a complicated biochemical process. It is more than just the conversion of sugar to alcohol, which can be regarded as the primary activity. Total fermentation is better defined as three phases, the Adaptation or Lagtime phase, the Primary or Attenuative phase and a Secondary or Conditioning phase. The yeast do not end Phase 2 before beginning Phase 3, the processes occur in parallel, but the conditioning processes occur more slowly. As the majority of simple sugars are consumed, more and more of the yeast will transition to eating the larger, more complex sugars and early yeast by-products. This is why beer (and wine) improves with age to a degree, as long as they are on the yeast. Beer that has been filtered or pasteurized will not benefit from aging.



The conditioning process is a function of the yeast. The vigorous, primary stage is over, the majority of the wort sugars have been converted to alcohol, and a lot of the yeast are going dormant; but there is still yeast activity. During the earlier phases, many different compounds were produced by the yeast in addition to ethanol and CO2, e.g., acetaldehyde, esters, amino acids, ketones- diacetyl, pentanedione, dimethyl sulfide, etc. Once the easy food is gone, the yeast start re-processing these by-products. Diacetyl and pentanedione are two ketones that have buttery and honey-like flavors. These compounds are considered flaws when present in large amounts and can cause flavor stability problems during storage. Acetaldehyde is an aldehyde that has a pronounced green apple smell and taste. It is an intermediate compound in the production of ethanol. The yeast reduce these compounds during the later stages of fermentation.

The yeast also produce an array of fusel alcohols during primary fermentation in addition to ethanol. Fusels are higher molecular weight alcohols that often give harsh solvent-like tastes to beer. During secondary fermentation, the yeast convert these alcohols to more pleasant tasting fruity esters. Warmer temperatures encourage ester production.....
This is NOT about secondary vessels, it's about the secondary phase of fermentation....the clean up phase. People often confuse the two. I firmly believe that it is negated by rushing a beer from primary to secondary too soon...and it comes from a "fear the yeast" mentality from over 30 years ago, when there were limited amounts of yeast availbale, and it was usually hard crappy already weakened cakes.
 
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bismarckbrew

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I’ve read How To Brew already. I should do it twice, it’s that good. I appreciate everyone’s comments and suggestions! The article I referenced in the original post is very convincing, so I’m going to give the information a shot. Who knows, maybe I switch later.
 
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