To rack or not to rack...

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spbrhs07

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When I first started brewing I always racked to a secondary after 1 week in the primary then kegged after 2 weeks in secondary. I had one batch that was neglected and spent 7 weeks in secondary. The beer was fantastic but the hop flavor was drastically changed. I started looking into why this was the case and found that racking to secondary causes oxidation so I decided to try not racking. My last 2 batches turned out great. I just left in primary for 3 weeks then kegged. However the beer looks like mud. The first 10 or so glasses even had yeast floaties... Currently I have a Belgian saison that has been in primary for 7 days. I'd like to rack for clarity, but don't want to compromise the hop flavors. Any thoughts or suggestions?
 

vNmd

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I think there will probably be a lot for and against secondary. Personally I don't any more. I do cold crash the primary before kegging though which seems to do very well for clarity. I usually leave ale's in primary for two weeks. Cold crash for a couple three days and keg. Lagers I let go about 3 weeks before cold crashing and then kegging. I am not sure about the hop flavour changing though just from secondary.
 

Flakk

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Cold crash and a gelatin addition will clear up most beers very well, better than racking to a secondary. Your mud beer is probably caused by yeast still in suspension when you kegged that settled out after some time in the fridge.
 

tagz

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+1 don't rack, use whirlfloc, cold crash (if you can), add gelatin.
 
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spbrhs07

spbrhs07

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I've read a little bit about gelatin. Is it true hat it can be added directly to the keg? And then just toss out the first 1 or 2 glasses?
 

Flakk

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Yep, though I prefer to add to the cold crashed fermenter a few days before kegging.
 

Hello

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Right now, I only do secondary if I plan on leaving the beer for a long time. I'm doing a quad which I racked to secondary today over cherries and will add oak. It will sit there for a good 3 months. Then I'll rack to a keg until I'm going to serve it in December. I don't secondary at all otherwise. I dry hop and I'll even add fruit in primary if I plan to drink sooner rather than later.
 

peterj

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When I first started brewing I always racked to a secondary after 1 week in the primary then kegged after 2 weeks in secondary. I had one batch that was neglected and spent 7 weeks in secondary. The beer was fantastic but the hop flavor was drastically changed. I started looking into why this was the case and found that racking to secondary causes oxidation so I decided to try not racking. My last 2 batches turned out great. I just left in primary for 3 weeks then kegged. However the beer looks like mud. The first 10 or so glasses even had yeast floaties... Currently I have a Belgian saison that has been in primary for 7 days. I'd like to rack for clarity, but don't want to compromise the hop flavors. Any thoughts or suggestions?
I'm not sure why your primary only beers would be cloudier than the ones you put in secondaries? The yeast and trub is going to settle out at the same rate whether you change the container it's in or not. Are you mixing the trub up a bunch or putting the siphon into the trub when you rack out of your primary or something?

Also, the change in hop flavor might not necessarily be from oxidation. Hop flavor fades rather quickly in all beers, and I would expect the hop flavor to be pretty different after an extra 5 weeks in the secondary.
 

bobbrews

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Racking for clarity purposes alone is not justifiable.

You should only rack to a secondary vessel for secondary fermentation or extended aging.
 
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spbrhs07

spbrhs07

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I'm not sure why your primary only beers would be cloudier than the ones you put in secondaries? The yeast and trub is going to settle out at the same rate whether you change the container it's in or not. Are you mixing the trub up a bunch or putting the siphon into the trub when you rack out of your primary or something?

Also, the change in hop flavor might not necessarily be from oxidation. Hop flavor fades rather quickly in all beers, and I would expect the hop flavor to be pretty different after an extra 5 weeks in the secondary.
I think trub is just getting mixed up too much. I think what i'm going to do is try gelatin with my saison. I'll keg it, let it chill for a day or two, then add gelatin and let it sit for three days before pouring off the gunk at the bottom. Now, would it hurt to carbonate while letting the gelatin do its work? and would there be any point in leaving it in primary any longer than a week?
 
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