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To wait or not to wait ... racking to secondary

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LeapingLamb

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Hi all,

This is my first post on this forum but I've gained a lot of knowledge from just reading the articles and forum posts. This forum has become my go to brewing resource :).

So far I have brewed and bottled:
- Octoberfest
- Honey Wheat
- 2x hefeweizen carbonated with krausen and decocted (a little overcarbed but delicious)
- a decoction cream ale carbonated using wyeast 3068 hefeweizen yeast and krausen form the cream ale (man is that ever delicious, tastes like a hefeweizen but not really) if anyone wants the recipe for taht one let me know and I'll post it
- currently i am fermenting a belgian wit (I like wheat a lot :p)

So here is my question. I was allowed to brew another batch as the weather will be turning (I just brewed this past weekend). I am ready to rack my belgian wit to my secondary carboy.

Now I am thinking about making a Wheat wine and since I am cheap I figured I could just use the belgian wit that is currently fermenting i.e. rack the wheat wine onto the yeast cake.

Now here is my question:
should I leave the belgian wit in the primary until I am ready to add the wheat wine
or
should I rack the belgian wit to the secondary and save the sludge in jars? I need a 2L started for the wheat wine so I would have to find a lot of jars and the fridge is already pretty full.

Since the belgian wit has only been fermenting for 3 days is it going to be fine if I leave it until the weekend (another 4 days) or should it come off the yeast cake sooner rather than later?

If you guys have any input on this let me know.

Cheers
 

slomo

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I would leave the wit yeast in the primary until your ready to rack the wheat wine onto it. Although I am not to sure that the wit yeast will be able to completely ferment the wine. What is the alcohol tolerance of the yeast that you are using?
 

BigFloyd

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Since the belgian wit has only been fermenting for 3 days is it going to be fine if I leave it until the weekend (another 4 days) or should it come off the yeast cake sooner rather than later?
You really ought to wait until the wit is done fermenting (which it isn't at 3 days) before racking to a secondary. Take a gravity reading to find out.

You can put the new wort atop the yeast cake from the wit if you leave a thin layer of beer and do so within a few hours. You'll want to remove about 75% of that cake to avoid over-pitching plus make sure that you thoroughly aerate the new wort as the yeast will need some dissolved oxygen to properly begin the second ferment.
 
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LeapingLamb

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Thanks for the input :). The wit yeast I am using supposedly has an alcohol tolerance of 11-12% so I dont think it will have a big issue with the wine. The recipe I've formulated is as following:

14 lbs white wheat malt
7 lbs 2 row
0.5 lbs munich malt
0.5 lbs honey malt

1oz magnum 60 min
1oz halltertau traditional (aa 6.9%) 30 mins

single infusion full body 156F for 60 mins

Estimated OG 1.106
est. IBU 40
est ABV% 10.1%

I've been checking the wit and it is fairly constant. I pitched it a bit warm and my apartment isn't the coldest. It started at 1.045 OG and is now at around 1.014 for the second day.

I'll probably rack the night before and leave a little liquid in the fermentor. Do you guys think the recipe above should be adjusted?

Thx
 

BigFloyd

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With a grain bill that large, forget what I said about removing 75% of the wit yeast cake.

With an OG on that wine up around 1.117 (assuming 75% efficiency and a 5.5 gallon batch), I'd be inclined to pitch on top of the entire cake.
 
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LeapingLamb

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thanks for the input, I'll probably rack my belgian wit to the secondary before I start brewing the wine and then pitch the wine onto the yeast cake.

I'll keep you guys posted :)
 

BigFloyd

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Oh, almost forgot. Most certainly rig a blow-off tube. It may lull you into a false sense of security the first day and then erupt like a volcano on day 2 (most likely while you're at work or sleeping).
 
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LeapingLamb

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Good point. I am using a plastic bucket as my primary without an airlock. Should I cut a hole in the lid and stick in a 5/8 inch tube?
 

BigFloyd

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Good point. I am using a plastic bucket as my primary without an airlock. Should I cut a hole in the lid and stick in a 5/8 inch tube?
You'll want to gave some sort of grommet on there to seal it if you can.
 
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LeapingLamb

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hmm i guess I could cut a hole into the lid big enough for a rubber bung, cut a bigger opening into the bung and shove the tubing through. I guess taht would seal it.

i was also thinking this morning. if I leave the lid open i.e. open fermentation. I could put a tray of sorts underneath the bucket and just let it flow over and then dump it out every other day.
 

drawdy10

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Hose snuggly into a hole in the lid worked for me. ...

Good luck with that wheat wine, I love the recipe and this idea is a great one. Even consider splitting the batch in secondary and dry hopping with some wit spicing on half to get a double wit like flavor.... In my experiences pitching on the whole cake can work but I don't think it's the best practice as suggested by many others, but go for it by all means if that is the only option since you don't have the equipment or fridge space to do the cake rinsing.
 
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LeapingLamb

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sounds good I'll try that with the hose in the hole.

I probably have the fridge space but with a little 5 month old son and a full time job there isn't to much time to clean tons of mason jars hence why I am htinking of just dumping it ontop of the wit cake. A day becomes short with all those variables lol.

That is a neat idea with the split batch. How would you go about doing the dry hopping witht he spices? I assume 1 oz bitter orange peel, 1oz coarse crushed coriander straight into the secondary after primary fermentation maybe even a few pepper corns might give a nice flavor. And leave that for a week or two until bottling?
 

drawdy10

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Yeah for the spices dry hop style that method would work fine or if you wanted to have a little more control you could make a tincture with the spices and some cheap vodka, basically steep the spices in the vodka, only takes a small amount, then strain out the spices and you have essentially made an extract that you can then just dose into your bottling bucket or keg as to your tastes. Hope this goes well for you!
 
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