transferring to a secondary when it's still bubbling?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

mikeusru

Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Location
Baltimore, MD
I'm brewing a fairly strong IPA (nugget nectar clone) using about 10.5lbs of liquid malt. I'm guessing this is the reason that after a week, it's still bubbling away. the primary fermenter is a 6 gallon betterbottle carboy. I read that if left in the primary too long, the inactive yeast will start acting again and cause flavor problems, so i guess i shouldn't leave it in for more than two weeks. Is it OK to transfer to the secondary while the bubbling is still occurring - will there be enough yeast in the liquid that i won't need to worry about leaving the sediment behind? (i need to dryhop so secondary is a must).

thanks all:mug:
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2007
Messages
62,016
Reaction score
6,921
A beer, especially a big one, will benefit from sitting. Lots of people here do not use secondaries and let there primaries sit for more than a month with no problems. Don't transfer if especially if you're still fermenting.
On the other hand, bubbling does not mean active fermentation. Never use your airlock as a precise measuring tool, that's called a hydrometer. An airlock is just a hole that let's co2 out. nothing more.
 

Joos

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2009
Messages
748
Reaction score
14
Location
taunton
I just helped a buddy of mine bottle.He transfered while bubbling.The "secondary"had a layer of krausen at the top of the bucket,and bout an inch of trub at the bottom.The only reason for a secondary is clearing,so I'd let it sit if i were you.
 

bull8042

I like 'em shaved
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2008
Messages
10,259
Reaction score
458
Location
Fort Mill
I'm with IP on this as well. Leave it in primary for at least 2 - 3 weeks before transferring to secondary. Several here have left their beer on the yeast cake in primary for many months without and problems. So, don't rack too soon. Use the hydrometer as your fermentation gauge and not the airlock.
 

Reno_eNVy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2008
Messages
6,039
Reaction score
235
Location
Reno
I'd say give it a full month in the primary. The yeasts will actually clean up the byproducts they created during active fermentation.

Also, don't use the bubbles to determine if fermentation is complete! Your hydrometer is your friend. If the gravity comes out the same after 2-3 days, then it's done.

RDWHAHB
 

Edcculus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2007
Messages
4,539
Reaction score
57
Location
Morganton, NC
For that big of a beer, I'd leave it in the primary for 3-4 weeks. Then transfer to a secondary and dry hop for 5-7 days.

What you seem to be describing is called autolysis. The yeast don't reactivate. They actually begin to break down. This cell death CAN cause off flavors in beer. You will experience no off flavors from autolysis if left in the primary for a month.
 
OP
M

mikeusru

Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Location
Baltimore, MD
Your hydrometer is your friend. If the gravity comes out the same after 2-3 days, then it's done.

RDWHAHB
Got it.

Since it's in a better bottle it's a pain to siphon beer out into the hydrometer flask every time i take a reading. Can I just sanitize the hydrometer and leave it floating in the carboy? does anyone foresee any problems with this?
 

ArcaneXor

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2007
Messages
4,502
Reaction score
127
Got it.

Since it's in a better bottle it's a pain to siphon beer out into the hydrometer flask every time i take a reading. Can I just sanitize the hydrometer and leave it floating in the carboy? does anyone foresee any problems with this?
Get yourself a Fermtech Wine Thief.
 

SumnerH

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2009
Messages
2,057
Reaction score
44
Location
Alexandria, VA, USA
Get yourself a Fermtech Wine Thief.
Or a turkey baster.

And you shouldn't siphon out very often. If I brew on a Saturday, I'll check the gravity 12 days later (Thursday) and then again on Saturday and rack to secondary if it's stable. If not (very rare), wait until the next Thursday and repeat. If it's a really big beer I'll give it the 3 weeks (19 days really) before checking the first time.

Basically, wait long enough that you're pretty sure it's done, then check the gravity 2 days before you want to rack it and again the day of racking to verify that it's done.
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
2,310
Reaction score
364
Location
Home, where the beer is
Got it.

Since it's in a better bottle it's a pain to siphon beer out into the hydrometer flask every time i take a reading. Can I just sanitize the hydrometer and leave it floating in the carboy? does anyone foresee any problems with this?
I did that once, by accident. I had a Thief that broke when I was taking a reading. The bottom, as well as the hydrometer, fell into the carboy. I figured that I'll leave in in there and get it out when I rack to the secondary. I had no problems with the beer, but getting everything out was a little more work that I had thought it would be.
 

ericm

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
210
Reaction score
0
FWIW, you don't need to secondary to dry hop; you can do it in the primary.
 

jaynik

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2009
Messages
398
Reaction score
31
Location
Arnold, Maryland
A couple questions:
1. Where's the recipe for nugget nectar? I love that stuff.
2. Why do most instructions (including my LHBS) tell me to leave in primary for 5-12 days, or until the og changes 75% and stays for 3 days, but you guys all say to leave the wort in the primary for weeks on end?
 

bull8042

I like 'em shaved
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2008
Messages
10,259
Reaction score
458
Location
Fort Mill
A couple questions:
1. Where's the recipe for nugget nectar? I love that stuff.
2. Why do most instructions (including my LHBS) tell me to leave in primary for 5-12 days, or until the og changes 75% and stays for 3 days, but you guys all say to leave the wort in the primary for weeks on end?

1 - No clue.
2 - Because their instructions indicate when fermentation is complete and ready to bottle. Our advice covers the time the yeast use to clean up after themselves. The extra time really helps improve the beer.
Do it their way and you will still have beer. Just maybe not the best beer that it could be.
 

jaynik

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2009
Messages
398
Reaction score
31
Location
Arnold, Maryland
I get it. Thanks. Do you use some sort of logic for how long after fermentation is complete, or is it just based on what you want to do?
 

bull8042

I like 'em shaved
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2008
Messages
10,259
Reaction score
458
Location
Fort Mill
Not really... If I am not dry-hopping, I will leave my beer in primary for at least 3 - 4 weeks then bottle. If I am dry-hopping or am going for a really clear lighter beer, I will go 3 weeks in primary then rack to secondary for a week or two. As long as I leave my beer in the fermenter, I never really worry about incomplete fermentation. However, I still check my SG mainly just to see where it finished and to be able to estimate my ABV.
 
Top