To rack or not to rack, that is the question

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cmdrico7812

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So I need help determining if I should rack the Flanders Red I made to a secondary fermenter or not (see my post here for the recipe). In summary I brewed the Gilda PM recipe from the database using the Wyeast Lambic Blend yeast.

The beer has been in the primary (glass carboy) for about a month now and folks in the post I linked to in the paragraph above have suggested I rack to a secondary to avoid yeast autolysis. However, some on this forum in this post here have suggested that I leave in the primary for the entire aging process.

Could someone help shed some light on how I should handle the decision to rack to a secondary or not and how this would affect my beer? I've never done a sour before and am hoping for something with a sour level close to Grand Cru. Thanks so much for your help.
 

carnevoodoo

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Could someone help shed some light on how I should handle the decision to rack to a secondary or not and how this would affect my beer? I've never done a sour before and am hoping for something with a sour level close to Grand Cru. Thanks so much for your help.
I would rack to secondary. this is going to spend a good long time in there, and it is probably best to get it off the yeast. If a sour beer were a 6 month process, I'd be less concerned, but you're pushing the limits going much further. Sure, poeple have done it, but I wouldn't risk it.

As for it tasting like Grand Cru, do you mean Rodenbach? I think that's the most common sour grand cru around...
 
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cmdrico7812

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Yeah, Rodenbach's Grand Cru (sorry, should have mentioned that). Thanks for the advise. So there's one vote for racking. Other's agree?

In Rodenbach news, the distributor won't be distributing to the US until 2011 and my local bar, the Hopcat in Grand Rapids, MI, just ran out of the very last keg in the United States. So sad...so sad (all the more reason to make my own).
 

bull8042

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My opinion, which is JUST my opinion.... If I were going to condition much more that 4 -5 weeks, I would rack to secondary to get off the cake.
 
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cmdrico7812

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Well I racked my Flemish Sour to a five gallon secondary last night. I tasted a bit while doing so and it's good. The like a mixture of Rodenbach and Jolly Pumpkin's Rouge (without the sour of course since it's only been a month). The color was spot on too.
 

Saccharomyces

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Part of the souring process involves autolysis of the saccharomyces which feeds the other bugs, but there will still be plenty of (dead) yeast eventually in the secondary so I would have racked off of the primary cake as well. FWIW.
 

Schlenkerla

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I have a wild yeast that is going right now on a wheat beer. Sunday will make it two weeks. I basically have the same question as the OP.

1st Week - Slow steady activity - No krausen - Last for 5 days and then stopped.

2nd Week - No activity, then it took off like gang busters. 2 bubbles a second out the airlock. Thin brown-like krausen. lasted about 3-4 days. Now its idle.

Question: Should I let this sit for weeks 3-4 then rack over to a 2ndary? It has about 1" of yeast on the bottom of the carboy. Then what?
 

potatoe

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If i had 1" in the bottom of my secondary, I would pry rack to tertiary.
 

Schlenkerla

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If i had 1" in the bottom of my secondary, I would pry rack to tertiary.
I agree that it needs to racked to another vessel. Its in the primary. I understand these yeasts work pretty much at a snails pace. However this batch started out moderately slow then went gangbusters. I also understand that conditioning takes a good bit of time for these beers. (6 months -18 months). I'm just wondering if lambics need to stay on the yeast cake longer than today's conventional brewing methods.
 
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