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BartJY

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Howdy Folks,

I have an IPA that I've decided to do a second fermentation on. I want to catch it at the perfect moment. It is day 6 since I pitched the yeast. The bubbling has now slowed down. It's at about a bubble every 15 seconds. At what bubble rate should I perform the procedure?

Thanks
Bart
 

friarsmith

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Check your gravity. If it is at the predicted FG, or is very close and hasn't changed from a test today (for example) and a test in 48 hrs, go ahead and rack to secondary.

IMO, there's little need for secondary fermentation in many beers, IPA included. If you're dry hopping, I suggest adding dry hops to the primary vessel around day 10-12, continue to store fermenter in the same place, then chill the beer if possible for a day or so around day 17-20, then rack to a bottling bucket or keg.

The beer will benefit from sitting on the yeast a few weeks. No worries about autolysis with an ale yeast < 25 days on the cake, in my experience.
 

Sammy86

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I have to agree...there is really no need for a secondary on IPAS...you want to drink them relatively young to begin with...check your gravity, dry hop, cold crash, keg, carb and drink!

:mug:
 
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tomchukj

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I'll jump on the bandwagon. I used to transfer to secondary but not any longer. I just dry hop in the primary. I have had 2 beers go bad or just were "off" that I believe was directly related to secondary and just dont see a need for ipas.
 

kh54s10

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Even if you do use a secondary, there is no magic "exact" time. Wait until you have final gravity determined by 2 gravity readings at least 24 hours apart that are the same. Then transfer, or dry hop in primary.

The very old procedure was to do a secondary when you were past 75% of expected attenuation.

My procedure is to wait 2 weeks. Fermentation is done by then, so that is when I add the dry hops.
 

boydster

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Since you have stated that you are decided in your intentions to transfer, I'd say do it as soon as you know you are at final gravity. I'm assuming when you say "second fermentation" that you just mean transferring to secondary, but do you actually mean you intend to add more fermentable sugars (like fruit or something) and kick start an actual second fermentation?
 
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BartJY

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I decided to do what my brew kit calls a secondary (two stage) fermentation. I understand all the pros and cons of this on going debate. My reason for taking this extra step is for clarity. I like a cleaner looking beer.
 

PADave

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Skip the secondary. You can get great clarity from time in the primary. I use Whirlfloc and do 3 weeks primary. Just tried my most recent IPA that's only been in the bottle 6 days and it's as clear as a commercial brew.
 

boydster

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I decided to do what my brew kit calls a secondary (two stage) fermentation. I understand all the pros and cons of this on going debate. My reason for taking this extra step is for clarity. I like a cleaner looking beer.
Have you ever tried cold crashing before? I bring my beer down to about 35 degrees for 2-3 days immediately before packaging and it helps clear things pretty well. Something like that might help you minimize your time in the secondary (or, more specifically in this case, the bright tank) and help you get your IPA into a glass a little fresher and sooner so you can enjoy the hop flavor and aroma while it's at its peak. You can also cold crash a primary.
 

friarsmith

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FWIW, I agree w/ all the comments after my first response. All sound advice. There are lots of ways to skin the cat.

The Holy Grail of clarity and package-worthy beer (whether keg or bottle) is more a function of 1) sound brewday process (grain crush, thorough lauter, good hot/cold break, kettle fining, adequate whirlpool) and 2) Temp/time in primary fermentation than whether the beer is racked from a primary or secondary vessel.
 

Calder

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Have you ever tried cold crashing before? I bring my beer down to about 35 degrees for 2-3 days immediately before packaging and it helps clear things pretty well.
This is the Beginners forum, and the poster has probably only a few brews under his belt. Why do you think he has the ability to cold crash 5 gallons of beer? I've been brewing for near 20 years and don't have that capability.

I decided to do what my brew kit calls a secondary (two stage) fermentation. I understand all the pros and cons of this on going debate. My reason for taking this extra step is for clarity. I like a cleaner looking beer.
If you think about it, using a secondary actually ends up taking longer to clear beer. All those particles in suspension slowly drop top the bottom. When you rack to secondary, there are a lot of particles in the bottom third (for example) that took a couple of weeks to drop that far. You rack, mix everything up again, and those particles have to start all over again. They might have dropped after another week in primary, but now have to start all over and take 3 more weeks to drop.

After saying that, I need to add, that I secondary almost all my beers. I harvest the yeast and would prefer to do it before I add dry hops or other additions (oak, coffee, spices, etc).
 

cannman

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I decided to do what my brew kit calls a secondary (two stage) fermentation. I understand all the pros and cons of this on going debate. My reason for taking this extra step is for clarity. I like a cleaner looking beer.
As others have said, you'd be better off cold crashing than racking...

and if you are going to rack, you want to wait until all the yeast is starting to settle down and fall to the bottom of the fermenter...

Lets see some photos!
 

Sadu

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I'm a beginner too, but I had these exact same questions too.

My first brew was a lager kit and it came with kettle finings. I used those and it came out crystal clear, no secondary.

Second brew was another kit but with no finings. Wife was away so I stuck the fermenter in the fridge for 2 days before bottling, and added 1tsp of gelatin (mixed in with some water) at the same time. Came out crystal clear, no secondary.

Brew #3 was an all-grain batch, used Irish Moss in the kettle. This one I did rack to secondary but only because I wanted to harvest the yeast and save some cash on the next brew. Wife was back so the fridge isn't an option this time, so I crash cooled it in a plastic container swapping out 2 litre ice containers twice a day. Came out crystal clear.

Brew #4 didn't use a secondary, just 3 weeks in primary. Also used Irish moss in the kettle. I'm bottling tomorrow so it's currently crash-cooling in the plastic container with ice bottles, already I can tell it's going to be crystal clear.

So my advice is to crash-cool in a large plastic container if you don't have the fridge setup. Really fill it up so that the water line is level with the beer line, use lots of ice. Watch some youtube vids on how to fine with Gelatin although I suspect I would have got clear beer without it. Sure a fridge gives better temp control, I'm not convinced how important this is for crash cooling so long as you can get it down to more-or-less fridge temperatures.

The conclusion I came to with regard to secondaries is that I'll do it if there is a good reason to do so, but otherwise just use primary and I don't see that it makes much difference to clarity.
 

boydster

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This is the Beginners forum, and the poster has probably only a few brews under his belt. Why do you think he has the ability to cold crash 5 gallons of beer? I've been brewing for near 20 years and don't have that capability.
I asked a question and gave information... in the beginners forum... about a technique the OP may or may not know about, and one that helps with clarity, which is the OP's stated goal. I thought it seemed relevant. I didn't assume anything :confused:
 

kh54s10

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It is too bad that the term "secondary fermentation" has held over from the olden days. Especially since in most cases no more fermentation happens.

Also I wonder why so many kits come with instructions that state something like "ferment for a week, transfer to secondary for 2 weeks...." etc. No mention of taking gravity readings to determine what is actually happening.
 
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BartJY

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Thank you all for your opinions on secondary (two stage) fermentation. But, that's not what i've been asking. I want to know, when implementing secondary fermentation, how to tell the optimum time to move the brew from one container to another? So, if we could get back to that question, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks
Bart
 

MaryB

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Usually when your beer has reached the FG specified in the kit or the FG hasn't changed for 3 days is the time to move to a secondary. But I no longer bother, why risk infection...
 

Northbank

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Thank you all for your opinions on secondary (two stage) fermentation. But, that's not what i've been asking. I want to know, when implementing secondary fermentation, how to tell the optimum time to move the brew from one container to another? So, if we could get back to that question, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks
Bart
What if the optimum time is never? :D

It'd be as soon as your FG has been hit ... but the thing is your beer will still be cloudy at that point, the yeast are still cleaning things up so racking right then means your still going to wind up with crud in your secondary, and if you wait long enough your primary will clear right out and at that point there isn't much point going to secondary. I'd be inclined to wait until it had cleared out a bit unless there was a pressing need to get your beer away from the traub ...
 
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