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snipper_cr

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I am doing an extract/specialty brew that seems to have finished up fermenting. No activity in the airlock for about 2 days (total time since pitching 6).
Both in this situation and in general if using a secondary, should you just wait until fermentation stops (by evident of bubbles) or a set time, say, 7 days.

Thanks!
 

Dougan

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Both and pick the 'worst of'. Pick something like 7 days, and wait that long even if your fermentation appears to be done at 3. If it's still fermenting at 7, wait a bit before racking.

With your current batch I think you're fine to rack.
 

PatMac

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Take hydrometer readings and when it comes out with the same reading 2 or 3 days in a row you can rack.
 

Dougan

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Not something to be too terribly worried about either. Racking to a secondary too early won't ruin your beer. Bottling too early will.
 
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snipper_cr

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I know there is the whole secondary/long primary debate. Reason I am racking to secondary is recipe calls for it and also I need the primary for a recipe that will just use a long primary.

Dougan sort of mentioned it but if using a secondary, is there a too-soon or too-late time to rack secondary? Isn't the purpose of a secondary to get the beer off the trub to help clearify it?
 

llazy_llama

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The recipe instructions are worthless after the part where it says "and then pitch yeast." Most extract recipes are formulated for the beginner who wants to drink his beer ASAP. Take the Mr Beer instructions for example. 1 week in primary, 1 week in bottles, then drink! Woohoo, I was really hoping that my Dry Stout would taste like beer flavored club soda! ;)

There isn't really a point of no return in primary. There does come a time when autolysis is a threat, but 1-2 months isn't going to invite the big-A boogeyman as long as fermentation temperatures are reasonable.

You are correct that the only point of using a secondary is to get the beer off the trub to help it clear. The reason secondary isn't 100% necessary is that given a long enough time line (1 month-ish) the yeast will clean up after themselves, and all that sediment will settle into trub. In reality, a long secondary vs. a short primary and a moderate secondary are the same thing.
 

Dougan

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Dougan sort of mentioned it but if using a secondary, is there a too-soon or too-late time to rack secondary? Isn't the purpose of a secondary to get the beer off the trub to help clearify it?
Racking too early simply means you'll get fermentation in your secondary and it won't clear as well as it would if you had waited. But it's not like it's going to hurt your beer. As far as too late for secondary, I would argue you can wait as long as you want. However, that's kind of a debate, I'd search for autolysis and read up on it so you can make your own decision.

A popular method is 1-2-3 because 1 week is a minimum for the primary for anybody to be confident fermentation is done, it takes 2 weeks for a secondary to really clear anything, and 3 weeks minimum for bottle conditioning to do its thing. All three probably stand to benefit from some additional times.
 

homebrewer_99

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I know there is the whole secondary/long primary debate. Reason I am racking to secondary is recipe calls for it and also I need the primary for a recipe that will just use a long primary.

Dougan sort of mentioned it but if using a secondary, is there a too-soon or too-late time to rack secondary? Isn't the purpose of a secondary to get the beer off the trub to help clearify it?
The recipe only states what the original brew did...they're notes...don't rack until the brew is ready.

Unless you brewed under the same exact conditions your brew is different. Take readings. Without a reading you don't know if you have a stuck fermentation or not. With a SF your brew could only be partially fermented with a long way to go.

Secondaries are also for aging, blending and mellowing. ;)
 
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snipper_cr

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Alright now my n00bness is about to show. I am currently fermenting in a Ale Pail with the cap on. I thought that opening the top can be quite dangerous as it exposes the beer to oxygen. Obviously it would get exposed anyways when I rack to secondary. To get a reading, any suggestions?
 

double_e5

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Open the top and take your sample, making sure anything that comes in contact with the beer is sanitized. There is no high tech secret you've never heard about. You are not going to hurt anything.
 
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