Quantcast

Too little in secondary?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

wwwdotcomdotnet

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2009
Messages
83
Reaction score
1
Location
Arlington, MA
I just transfered my chocolate stout to a secondary and lost quite a bit to sediment. The batch only goes up to where the carboy starts to curve to the top of the bottle (ie where it angles at the top). Will this be a problem with oxidation, or should I be fine and let it sit for a few weeks as is? I would imagine topping the brew off with some water might help, however it would water it down. Any advice? This is my first time doing a secondary. Typically I bottle after primary.
 

Coastarine

We get it, you hate BMC.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 21, 2008
Messages
2,515
Reaction score
32
Location
New Bern
Don't worry about oxidation. When I was new to brewing I used to top off my secondary to cut back on head space too, and I'm really not sure where I got that idea from, but it is not necessary. The fact is that your beer is saturated with CO2 and the agitation of racking is going to make a bunch of it come out of solution, rise to the top, and form a protective layer of invisible gas over the beer. Adding water could actually introduce more oxygen (dissolved in the water) than the headspace of the secondary.
 
OP
W

wwwdotcomdotnet

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2009
Messages
83
Reaction score
1
Location
Arlington, MA
Damn, I forgot to mention I added 16oz of bottled spring water cut down on the exposed surface area a bit. Hopefully that wasn't a poor decision on my part.
 

Coastarine

We get it, you hate BMC.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 21, 2008
Messages
2,515
Reaction score
32
Location
New Bern
Dude...you asked the question, got a response two minutes later, and still already did it? Geez.

It was a poor decision, but you didn't know better yet and it will by no means ruin your bach. It is not something I would do to my beer, but like I said, it is something I have done to a batch of beer. I still made good beer. Don't worry.
 

ifishsum

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2008
Messages
1,447
Reaction score
9
Location
Portland OR
FWIW, there was probably more dissolved oxygen in the unboiled water than it would have absorbed from surface exposure. At any rate, your beer is not ruined, it takes more than that to ruin beer. In the future, keep in mind that when you transfer to secondary it will release enough dissolved CO2 to form a blanket on the surface, protecting it from oxygen. So it really isn't much to worry about.
 
OP
W

wwwdotcomdotnet

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2009
Messages
83
Reaction score
1
Location
Arlington, MA
Thanks for the advice everyone!

What do you guys typically do to cut down on volume loss to the sediment in the primary? This time I did about 5.25 gallons in the primary and would up with about 4.5 in the secondary after transferring.
 
Joined
May 5, 2007
Messages
4,471
Reaction score
33
What do you guys typically do to cut down on volume loss to the sediment in the primary? This time I did about 5.25 gallons in the primary and would up with about 4.5 in the secondary after transferring.
How long was it in primary? If you leave it in long enough, the trub will compact to a very thin and dense layer, making racking clear beer much easier. Cold crashing also helps.

Leave it in there long enough, and you'll eventually decide not to bother with a secondary!
 
OP
W

wwwdotcomdotnet

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2009
Messages
83
Reaction score
1
Location
Arlington, MA
How long was it in primary? If you leave it in long enough, the trub will compact to a very thin and dense layer, making racking clear beer much easier. Cold crashing also helps.

Leave it in there long enough, and you'll eventually decide not to bother with a secondary!
I did 6 days in the primary (OG at 1.012) and plan on doing 14 in secondary. Fermentation was over in just a few days. Bubbling almost completely stopped after 2-3 days, that is, and then slowed to one or so every few minutes for a day, then stopped completely. I would have let it stay longer in primary, but at 1.012 I decided it was a good time to transfer to secondary, although it wouldn't have hurt to wait longer I imagine. This is my first time doing a secondary, typically I leave it in primary 10-14 days or so. I don't have the ability to cold crash, unfortunately. Maybe next time I will do 10 days primary before 14 days secondary. Thanks!
 
Joined
May 5, 2007
Messages
4,471
Reaction score
33
Just for a reference point, yesterday I kegged 3 gallons of my Irish Red, and bottled the remaining 2.25 gallons. Normally I leave my beers in primary for 4 weeks before kegging...this one, due to time constraints was in primary (at a controlled 63°) for 8 weeks! It was absolutely crystal clear, and the trub was firmly attached to the bottom of the carboy. Furthermore, it's delicious...I could force carb and serve it tomorrow if I wanted to.

So don't be shy about leaving your beer in primary for extended periods. It can't hurt anything, and a lot of us believe it is very helpful.

What else can I add...oh yeah, welcome to the forum! :mug:
 
OP
W

wwwdotcomdotnet

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2009
Messages
83
Reaction score
1
Location
Arlington, MA
From what I've read everyone suggests 14 days or less in primary otherwise the trub could give off flavors to your beer. Next time I will try a bit longer, 8 weeks and good beer is pretty good proof! Thanks
 

Coastarine

We get it, you hate BMC.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 21, 2008
Messages
2,515
Reaction score
32
Location
New Bern
From what I've read everyone suggests 14 days or less in primary otherwise the trub could give off flavors to your beer. Next time I will try a bit longer, 8 weeks and good beer is pretty good proof! Thanks
Who says this? You're not the only person I've heard say that and I'm just wondering where it comes from. Have you read http://www.howtobrew.com/ ? It is a very good resource for this kind of thing.

Section 1, chapter 8 has good info on how long to primary and secondary, and why.
 
OP
W

wwwdotcomdotnet

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2009
Messages
83
Reaction score
1
Location
Arlington, MA
Mostly from recipes I've found online and from reading up in other forums. I've skimmed over that website actually a while ago, its very useful. I guess I can't find exactly where I've read that 1 week in primary is sufficient, but I'll try for longer in my next batches (probably 2 weeks in primary, then 2 weeks in secondary, then 3 weeks in bottles).
 
Joined
May 5, 2007
Messages
4,471
Reaction score
33
Oh, I've read it too...mostly in very old books and brewing guides. I just think it's very outdated information, and proven wrong by a lot of really skilled brewers. It's all about autolysis, one of the great bogeymen of brewing.

Bottom line is that autolysis is possible, but you'd have to leave your beer in primary for many, many months before it's at risk. The more modern school of thought is that extended exposure to the cake actually reduces off-flavors, by giving the yeast a chance to metabolize the by-products of the initial fermentation.

Plus, it's a lot easier. Win-win! :D
 
Top