When to secondary a 1.094?

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OdinsBrew

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I've got a "big honkin' brew" in my primary. OG was 1.094 and I hope to get it down to 1.020ish. It's coming along fine, still bubbling about every 45 seconds. It's been in there for over 3 weeks. I'm eager to brew a different batch, but it's my only 6.5 gallon carboy, so I'm thinking about racking it to the secondary. This would 1, get it away from the leaf hops which I don't want in there too much longer, 2, make my carboy available to start a new batch, and of course 3 make my carboy available to start a new batch. I'm reading in Radical Brewing that fermentation can take up to 6 months... and I'm out of house beer and need to make some soon!

My question is, will all the yeast carry over into the secondary or do I risk loosing some and disrupting fermentation? Is the active yeast the very thin creamy top layer of white on top of the trub? Do I aim to siphon that along into the secondary?

I'm on the fence about buying another new 6.5 carboy and so I'm trying to cut corners. I'd rather not fork out the cash, though in the long run I probably will brew big brews once or twice a year. Well scratch that. If i had a secondary I think I'd always have a big brew going. (So maybe I just answered my own question.) Part of me thinks I should buy another carboy and leave brew alone, take hydrometer readings to know that it's finished, and then rack it to clarify.

So, to rack or not to rack? Thoughts gentlemen?

- I'm pretty sure I'm going to buy another carboy after typing this all out. But I'm still interested in anyone's knowledge on the topics.
 

Turner_Brown

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Out of curiosity...why did you decide to dry hop in the primary? I'm brewing a very similar beer (by the numbers) and everything I read pointed me towards dry hopping in the secondary.

How long do you plan on leaving it in the secondary?

I plan on racking mine at 2 1/2 - 3 weeks (based on other's advice here). Mine has been on the yeast for 11 days now and I'm getting a burp about every 25 seconds.

edit: I took a gravity reading after 5 days and it was down to 1.030 (OG was 1.093)
 

TheTower

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Gravity reading will tell you. If you're close to your final, go ahead and rack. It might drop a few more points in secondary, but it won't continue fermenting full-force off the yeast cake.
 
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OdinsBrew

OdinsBrew

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Out of curiosity...why did you decide to dry hop in the primary? I'm brewing a very similar beer (by the numbers) and everything I read pointed me towards dry hopping in the secondary.

How long do you plan on leaving it in the secondary?
Ya, I highly recommend *not* taking my advice. I'm a pretty high risk take and I'm still new to brewing. This is my 7th batch. I made up the whole recipe from scratch and I have no idea about pro-mash, conversion, how to configure hops and malts etc. I just looked and some other recipes and made up my own.

As for the hops: I didn't know it would take this long to ferment. I was cutting corners, figuring that I'd leave it in the primary for 3 weeks. I added the dry hops to the primary after 10 days. I've read and tried, adding dry hops while there's still a bit of fermentation going on, as the CO2 "scrubs" out the oxygen from the leaves, reducing the chance of oxidation. There's debate about adding dry hops to primary, and when. Some say hop oils inhibit yeast action too. My idea was basically one of timing. If fermentation was going to take 3 weeks, I'd add the hops in after 7 or 10 days, then bottle - not rack- after 3 weeks, so the hops would have been in there for about 2 weeks.

If this beer comes out as planned I'll be stoked. I'm going for an imperial pale ale, with wheaty, biscuity, honey carmel malts, and citrus hops on the sweet side, with a tiny bit of lemon hops. And it will be around 10%. "Thor's Hop Hammer: Get Hammered!"
 

humann_brewing

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still bubbling about every 45 seconds. It's been in there for over 3 weeks.
Bubbling doesn't mean anything compared to your hydrometer

I'm eager to brew a different batch, but it's my only 6.5 gallon carboy, so I'm thinking about racking it to the secondary. This would 1, get it away from the leaf hops which I don't want in there too much longer, 2, make my carboy available to start a new batch, and of course 3 make my carboy available to start a new batch. I'm reading in Radical Brewing that fermentation can take up to 6 months... and I'm out of house beer and need to make some soon!
If you are out of house beer, I probably would have picked a beer that was going to be ready quicker than this one. Not knowing any other details other than it had a OG of 1.094 you won't want to drink this anytime soon unless you made a double bastard or something.

My question is, will all the yeast carry over into the secondary or do I risk loosing some and disrupting fermentation? Is the active yeast the very thin creamy top layer of white on top of the trub? Do I aim to siphon that along into the secondary?

I'm on the fence about buying another new 6.5 carboy and so I'm trying to cut corners. I'd rather not fork out the cash, though in the long run I probably will brew big brews once or twice a year. Well scratch that. If i had a secondary I think I'd always have a big brew going. (So maybe I just answered my own question.) Part of me thinks I should buy another carboy and leave brew alone, take hydrometer readings to know that it's finished, and then rack it to clarify.

So, to rack or not to rack? Thoughts gentlemen?
I understand your thought of moving to a secondary so you can get another brew going, but you really want to be at your terminal gravity if you really want to go to a secondary (clearing vessel, not a fermenting vessel).
 

Turner_Brown

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Ya, I highly recommend *not* taking my advice. I'm a pretty high risk take and I'm still new to brewing. This is my 7th batch. I made up the whole recipe from scratch and I have no idea about pro-mash, conversion, how to configure hops and malts etc. I just looked and some other recipes and made up my own.

As for the hops: I didn't know it would take this long to ferment. I was cutting corners, figuring that I'd leave it in the primary for 3 weeks. I added the dry hops to the primary after 10 days. I've read and tried, adding dry hops while there's still a bit of fermentation going on, as the CO2 "scrubs" out the oxygen from the leaves, reducing the chance of oxidation. There's debate about adding dry hops to primary, and when. Some say hop oils inhibit yeast action too. My idea was basically one of timing. If fermentation was going to take 3 weeks, I'd add the hops in after 7 or 10 days, then bottle - not rack- after 3 weeks, so the hops would have been in there for about 2 weeks.

If this beer comes out as planned I'll be stoked. I'm going for an imperial pale ale, with wheaty, biscuity, honey carmel malts, and citrus hops on the sweet side, with a tiny bit of lemon hops. And it will be around 10%. "Thor's Hop Hammer: Get Hammered!"
Another thing to consider....

Just because you haven't reached 1.020...doesn't mean you will ever get there. There are a lot of variables affecting the FG (fermentables in the wort, temperature, aeration at time of pitching, etc.) The bubbling you see could very well just be the co2 that was dissolved during the fermentation escaping. The advice I was given, was to take a gravity reading 3 days in a row ... if you've got no movement, rack it. After 3 weeks and based on the ~1 bubble a minute rate...I would be willing to bet that it's ready to be transferred.
 

david_42

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I'd say rack it and siphon a little of the yeast. It will take months to finish regardless of what you do now. Kegs are very handy for aging big beers, even if you don't have the rest of the gear. Light-tight, bug-tight and non-breakable.
 
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OdinsBrew

OdinsBrew

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Good advice. Thanks to all.

I took a hydro last night and it was 1.022. I was surprised and happy. It tastes good too. Sweeter than I want, but it will be a good beer.
 
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