When to rack?

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Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2005
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Pocatello, Idaho
I imagine this has been discussed, but should I wait till the Krausen has entirely settles before going into secondary? The Alt that I am working on now has been in primary for 6 days now, and is still has a fair bit of krausen on top, and the airlock is going about once every 15-20 seconds. Which is a better indicator of beer being ready to go into secondary, the amount of foam on top, or how much the airlock is going. Is their any problem with transfering if the ferment is still going slowly, or is it best to wait for it to get almost all the way done? I wan't to rack as soon as it is a good idea, so I can take the secondary down to my basement for some colder temps, since it is an Alt bier.
Rack it. I like to rack within a week if possible. It's usually still fermenting when I rack, has a smattering of foam on top for a few days after racking, and then starts to clear. That's for "normal" gravity beers.

The only thing that makes me wait to rack is if it's still fermenting really hard, the bubbles will stop the siphon, which is a PITA. Yours sounds good to go, though.
Is there a way to determine if you racked from primary to secondary at the right time? Say the ammount of sediment left in the secondary when its time to bottle? The first (only) batch I have done so far was racked pri. to sec. after only four days. There was a bit of sludge in the bottom when I was done with secondary fermentation. This was more than just fallout of suspended solids from the primary. Was this too soon? My second batch I just now moved from primary to secondary after six days. What should I expect to see or ... what should I look for to determine if this was the right time to move from pri. to sec?

This second batch I just moved was an ESB. After racking pri. to sec. I always taste just a teaspoon from what is left over at the bottom of the primary. I know this is not a representative sample of what may come... but wow, I was already impressed!

Thanks for your input:)
I think you're overworrying. There is no right or wrong time. You'll always have some sediment in your secondary because the yeast is falling out.

What you did sounds fine. It's really not a rigid thing. It's just to separate your beer from the break and trub in the primary. Like I said, I do it after a week because I brew on weekends and reuse the yeast in the primary. Four days is fine too. I like to transfer it within the first 7 days. Cheers! :D

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