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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: ipaguy on September 11, 2010, 07:02:07 am

Title: sugar added to secondary
Post by: ipaguy on September 11, 2010, 07:02:07 am
When racking a completely fermented beer to my secondary, I add about a tbs of corn sugar (boiled & cooled).  My reasoning is that it generates just enough CO2 to purge the carboy head space of O2.  Just wondering if anyone else does this, and if it makes sense.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: tschmidlin on September 11, 2010, 10:38:53 am
I don't secondary, but if I did I wouldn't bother with it.  I'd just give it a blast of CO2, but you might not have that option.  Depending on how long your primary is though, there might already be enough going on to purge it anyway.  I don't think what you're doing hurts necessarily, just adds risk of contamination with questionable rewards.

But anyway, I think you should examine why you are doing a secondary in the first place and if you really need to.  Many of us don't feel like it adds anything to most beers.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: tygo on September 11, 2010, 10:41:13 am
If you do decide to rack to a secondary there's probably going to be enough CO2 coming out of solution just from the agitation of the racking process to purge the headspace without the sugar.  A blast of CO2 to purge the secondary of air before you transfer wouldn't hurt though.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: chezteth on September 11, 2010, 01:56:04 pm
If you do decide to rack to a secondary there's probably going to be enough CO2 coming out of solution just from the agitation of the racking process to purge the headspace without the sugar.  A blast of CO2 to purge the secondary of air before you transfer wouldn't hurt though.

+1 to the CO2 coming out of solution to purge the headspace.  There have been plenty of times where the airlock starts gurgling after transfering to secondary.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: majorvices on September 12, 2010, 06:01:54 pm
Personally, I'd just skip the secondary.  ;)
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: tubercle on September 12, 2010, 06:09:14 pm
Personally, I'd just skip the secondary.  ;)

 Me too.

 An ounce? Hell Fire - I spill that much adding the pound or so to my 7% Lawnmower Cream Ale.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: bluesman on September 12, 2010, 08:10:22 pm
The less handling your beer is exposed to the better.  I used to use a secondary religiously and then decided to take the advice of others and now I only use a secondary for big beers or other specialty beers when I really don't have a choice.

Your beer should be fine as is but on the next batch try going from the primary right into the priming bucket or the keg.

Good Luck on you beer and don't hesitate to questions.  8)
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: chezteth on September 12, 2010, 08:37:44 pm
The less handling your beer is exposed to the better.  I used to use a secondary religiously and then decided to take the advice of others and now I only use a secondary for big beers or other specialty beers when I really don't have a choice.

Your beer should be fine as is but on the next batch try going from the primary right into the priming bucket or the keg.

Good Luck on you beer and don't hesitate to questions.  8)

I definitely agree with this.  I used to use a secondary as well.  Now I only use a secondary for big beers and other specialties like Bluesman, and many others do.  It also helps reduce the amount of cleanup needed.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: ipaguy on September 13, 2010, 09:47:27 am
... I only use a secondary for big beers or other specialty beers ...

How do you define 'big'?
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: majorvices on September 13, 2010, 10:14:15 am
For me big is over 1.065 - unless you are talking about a IIPA and that is a session beer.  ;) I still don;t secodnary many beers, perhaps a barley wine, RIS or a fruit beer.

That said, since your name is IPA guy I'll mention that I also dry hop in the primary after fermentation has settles. One thing I will mention though is I keg all my beers and kegging is essentially a big bright tank.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: bluesman on September 13, 2010, 10:21:27 am
... I only use a secondary for big beers or other specialty beers ...

How do you define 'big'?

A big beer is a beer that as Keith has indicated has a relatively high gravity but also requires bulk conditioning and/or aging.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: HydraulicSammich on September 13, 2010, 10:29:35 am
Anyone.  So, how long do you leave your beer in the primary after two or three days of constant gravity?  Is there a benefit to let it condition for another week or up to three weeks in the primary?
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: bluesman on September 13, 2010, 10:42:54 am
Anyone.  So, how long do you leave your beer in the primary after two or three days of constant gravity?  Is there a benefit to let it condition for another week or up to three weeks in the primary?

What are your recipe specifics?  What was your OG?  What type of yeast are you using?  What is your current S.G.?

I need this info. to give you an informed response.  Thanks.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: HydraulicSammich on September 13, 2010, 10:58:41 am
Okay,  I have a rye beer that is two weeks old in the primary.  OG is 1.053.  currently it is 1.020 and has been sitting for two weeks and has been steady for a week.  Will leaving it any longer in the primary help reduce the gravity?  Wyeast American Wheat
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: tschmidlin on September 13, 2010, 11:36:52 am
I don't know if leaving it in primary will help the gravity drop, that depends on if there are still fermentable sugars available.  But moving it to secondary will definitely not help it drop.  You can try warming it and rousing the yeast in primary and see if you get any movement on the SG.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: majorvices on September 13, 2010, 12:20:00 pm
Yeah, rousing the yeast and warming slightly will be your best bet if the fermentation is stalled. But depending on your recipe and/or fermentation practice it could just be done. Also, double check your hydrometer in water to see if it is still calibrated correctly.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: ipaguy on September 13, 2010, 02:41:09 pm
For me big is over 1.065 - unless you are talking about a IIPA and that is a session beer.  ;) I still don;t secodnary many beers, perhaps a barley wine, RIS or a fruit beer.

That said, since your name is IPA guy I'll mention that I also dry hop in the primary after fermentation has settles. One thing I will mention though is I keg all my beers and kegging is essentially a big bright tank.

My last two batches were at around 1.072, so I guess that's fairly big.  Although I've just gotten back into brewing, I used to brew quite a bit around 10 yr. ago.  I'm pretty careful on sanitation, and have never had a contamination problem.  One reason I use a secondary is that I feel like I get a little less sediment when bottle conditioning.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: majorvices on September 14, 2010, 05:00:54 am
That's the best reason to use a secondary (less sediment). Since I keg all my beer I can blow out 90% of the sediment on the first pour.

That said, I have lagered in the primary for a week or two and have transferred crystal clear beer. But what matters is what works for you. And the sugar idea to blow out a little co2 and purge head space seems like a pretty good idea if you are using a secondary.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: ipaguy on September 14, 2010, 07:13:44 am
To clarify my thinking on this topic, I figure that potential oxygen contact is one big reason that argues against using a secondary.  In spite of reassurances to the contrary, my secondary usually does not have enough dissolved co2 to bubble the airlock after making the transfer.  To me this potentially makes the secondary the major bad actor re. o2 contact.  (Primary is obviously no problem.  o2 in the bottle headspace should be removed by aerobic fermentation of the priming sugar.)  If I had a co2 bottle, I might use that to purge the secondary headspace, but I figure that the sugar does a better job of purging any dissolved o2 introduce when transferring from the primary.  Because I dry hop more often than not, adding the sugar is a pretty trivial amount of extra effort.  Besides, it helps me relax and not worry.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: uisgue on September 19, 2010, 07:08:55 pm
Also, double check your hydrometer in water to see if it is still calibrated correctly.
Just out of curiosity, how could you recalibrate your hydrometer if it is incorrect?
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: bluesman on September 19, 2010, 07:21:33 pm
Also, double check your hydrometer in water to see if it is still calibrated correctly.
Just out of curiosity, how could you recalibrate your hydrometer if it is incorrect?

You make an error correction.  If the hydrometer reads 1.001 in distilled water @ 60F.  You would have to subtract .001 from your actual measurements to acheive the correction.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: bonjour on September 19, 2010, 09:45:45 pm
... I only use a secondary for big beers or other specialty beers ...

How do you define 'big'?

A big beer is a beer that as Keith has indicated has a relatively high gravity but also requires bulk conditioning and/or aging.
OK, you got me here.  I rarely use a secondary on a big beer, fruit beer yes, and why does a "big" beer "Require" aging?
They should be extremely good as soon as you keg/bottle them and they have carbonated, which should be via force carbonated anyway.

Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: bluesman on September 20, 2010, 04:25:41 am
... I only use a secondary for big beers or other specialty beers ...

How do you define 'big'?

A big beer is a beer that as Keith has indicated has a relatively high gravity but also requires bulk conditioning and/or aging.
OK, you got me here.  I rarely use a secondary on a big beer, fruit beer yes, and why does a "big" beer "Require" aging?
They should be extremely good as soon as you keg/bottle them and they have carbonated, which should be via force carbonated anyway.



OK Fred,  I stand corrected.

"Require" was a poor choice of words.  Let's just say "may require" some bulk conditioning and/or aging like an oaked RIS or BW.

I've learned to stand out of the way when Dr. Bonjour talks about big beers.  ;D

Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: bonjour on September 20, 2010, 07:18:15 am
... I only use a secondary for big beers or other specialty beers ...

How do you define 'big'?

A big beer is a beer that as Keith has indicated has a relatively high gravity but also requires bulk conditioning and/or aging.
;D ;D ;D
So noted.  on aging. . . .
aging allows complexity to develop, allows the beer to improve, but you have to have a good beer to begin with.

aging also allows "off" flavors to dissipate, over-oaked, too much spice, or even some fermentation flaws, Fusel alcohols, diacetyl, acetaldehyde.  But they are only there because you need to tweak something.
OK, you got me here.  I rarely use a secondary on a big beer, fruit beer yes, and why does a "big" beer "Require" aging?
They should be extremely good as soon as you keg/bottle them and they have carbonated, which should be via force carbonated anyway.



OK Fred,  I stand corrected.

"Require" was a poor choice of words.  Let's just say "may require" some bulk conditioning and/or aging like an oaked RIS or BW.

I've learned to stand out of the way when Dr. Bonjour talks about big beers.  ;D


Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: a10t2 on September 21, 2010, 07:49:35 pm
To clarify my thinking on this topic, I figure that potential oxygen contact is one big reason that argues against using a secondary.

While I would agree with that, purging O2 after the transfer is done is like closing the barn after the horse has gotten out. Most of your oxidation concerns are going to involve the transfer into the secondary.

o2 in the bottle headspace should be removed by aerobic fermentation of the priming sugar.)

Nit-picking, but fermentation (by yeast) is anaerobic. You need reproduction to remove O2.
Title: Re: sugar added to secondary
Post by: tschmidlin on September 21, 2010, 10:59:06 pm
o2 in the bottle headspace should be removed by aerobic fermentation of the priming sugar.)
Nit-picking, but fermentation (by yeast) is anaerobic. You need reproduction to remove O2.
As long as we're picking nits, it can also be removed via respiration of the sugar to CO2 and H2O, which is sometimes referred to as aerobic fermentation in the literature.  Although the level of priming sugar in the beer (I get .033M if you use 3/4 cup corn sugar in 5 gallons) is high enough that the Crabtree Effect will favor fermentation over respiration.  :)