Author Topic: Secondary fermentation  (Read 4211 times)

Offline a10t2

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2012, 06:48:00 PM »
Why is it that some NB kits recommend a yeast starter and two-stage fermentation?

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Offline surfin_mikeg

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2012, 08:47:01 PM »
Why is it that some NB kits recommend a yeast starter and two-stage fermentation?

Inertia. You can't reverse forty years of tradition overnight, no matter how right you are.

For me, which yeast used and what fermentation temp are additional factors as to how long to leave in the primary.  If someone doesn't have great environmental control (i.e., starter kits), racking to secondary makes sense to avoid off-flavors.

Offline a10t2

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2012, 10:42:35 PM »
I would give the opposite advice. It's when you're concerned about fermentation off-flavors that you want to give the beer as much contact time with the yeast as possible.
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Offline redbeerman

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2012, 06:15:25 AM »
I would give the opposite advice. It's when you're concerned about fermentation off-flavors that you want to give the beer as much contact time with the yeast as possible.

I agree with Sean on this.  The only time I use a secondary is when making a sour beer.  Even my strong ales get bulk aged in the keg.  Lagers get stored on the primary yeast at 30-32F for six to eight weeks after fermentation is complete, then kegged and carbed.
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Offline surfin_mikeg

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2012, 10:06:05 AM »
Lagers get stored on the primary yeast at 30-32F for six to eight weeks after fermentation is complete, then kegged and carbed.

Asking for the sake of clarification:  Let's say you don't have temp control (let's pick an ambient temperature of 68) and you were working from a kit, would you let it sit on the lager yeast cake for 8 weeks?

Offline redbeerman

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2012, 10:13:12 AM »
Lagers get stored on the primary yeast at 30-32F for six to eight weeks after fermentation is complete, then kegged and carbed.

Asking for the sake of clarification:  Let's say you don't have temp control (let's pick an ambient temperature of 68) and you were working from a kit, would you let it sit on the lager yeast cake for 8 weeks?

No.  It wouldn't be a lager then.  Ales I usually don't let sit on the yeast more than three weeks.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2012, 10:19:35 AM »
Lagers get stored on the primary yeast at 30-32F for six to eight weeks after fermentation is complete, then kegged and carbed.

Asking for the sake of clarification:  Let's say you don't have temp control (let's pick an ambient temperature of 68) and you were working from a kit, would you let it sit on the lager yeast cake for 8 weeks?
That's a pretty warm temperature for a lager fermentation.  Leaving it on the yeast at that temp for that long will be fine though.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline redbeerman

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2012, 10:37:08 AM »
Lagers get stored on the primary yeast at 30-32F for six to eight weeks after fermentation is complete, then kegged and carbed.

Asking for the sake of clarification:  Let's say you don't have temp control (let's pick an ambient temperature of 68) and you were working from a kit, would you let it sit on the lager yeast cake for 8 weeks?
That's a pretty warm temperature for a lager fermentation.  Leaving it on the yeast at that temp for that long will be fine though.

I have never tried that, Tom.  I would think at 68F for 8 weeks, autolysis or something else ungood may start, but like I said, I have no experience with storing beer on the primary yeast for that amount of time, so I will take your word for it, probably still wouldn't do it though. ;)
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2012, 10:40:19 AM »
A general rule of thumb for primary fermentation is:

Ales: 14 days at 68F

Lagers: 30 days or less at 50F , sometimes a Diacetyl rest will be necessary for several days at 68F

This is also dependent on yeast strain. Some yeast strains are more active than others, and will therefore ferment faster than others. Experience is plus. Knowing how a particular yeast behaves will enable one to anticipate terminal gravity. The main factors to consider are the yeast strain, available oxygen, fermentable sugars and time.

The most important tool for the beginning brewer is the hydrometer. The air-lock is a good indicator, but the hydrometer can tell you when terminal gravity has been met. Once terminal gravity has been met, then the beer can be tranferred.

Let your hydrometer be your guide. :)
« Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 10:42:02 AM by bluesman »
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2012, 11:26:15 AM »
I have never tried that, Tom.  I would think at 68F for 8 weeks, autolysis or something else ungood may start, but like I said, I have no experience with storing beer on the primary yeast for that amount of time, so I will take your word for it, probably still wouldn't do it though. ;)
Autolysis is not as much of a problem as some people think.  It may be that the higher quality of yeast we get today makes it less of a concern than when we were brewing with the packet that came under the cap of the extract can ;)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline redbeerman

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2012, 12:13:23 PM »
I have never tried that, Tom.  I would think at 68F for 8 weeks, autolysis or something else ungood may start, but like I said, I have no experience with storing beer on the primary yeast for that amount of time, so I will take your word for it, probably still wouldn't do it though. ;)
Autolysis is not as much of a problem as some people think.  It may be that the higher quality of yeast we get today makes it less of a concern than when we were brewing with the packet that came under the cap of the extract can ;)

So basically, healthier yeast lives longer.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #26 on: December 27, 2012, 01:21:17 PM »
I would think at 68F for 8 weeks, autolysis or something else ungood may start

In a 30+ bbl conical, absolutely. Under a two-foot beer column in a bucket, autolysis just doesn't seem to be a concern on any reasonable timescale.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #27 on: December 27, 2012, 07:45:49 PM »
So basically, healthier yeast lives longer.
Absolutely.

I would think at 68F for 8 weeks, autolysis or something else ungood may start

In a 30+ bbl conical, absolutely. Under a two-foot beer column in a bucket, autolysis just doesn't seem to be a concern on any reasonable timescale.
That's a really good point too, that could be where the autolysis fears come from.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline redbeerman

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2012, 05:33:59 AM »
So basically, healthier yeast lives longer.
Absolutely.

I would think at 68F for 8 weeks, autolysis or something else ungood may start

In a 30+ bbl conical, absolutely. Under a two-foot beer column in a bucket, autolysis just doesn't seem to be a concern on any reasonable timescale.
That's a really good point too, that could be where the autolysis fears come from.

Makes sense to me.  Pressure and temperature effects.  I'm very familiar with this on non-living materials (HPTGA).
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Secondary fermentation
« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2012, 08:09:43 AM »
I've come to the conclusion that a transfer to secondary can be useful under certain circumstances and when done at the right time.  When you are fermenting a fairly big beer in a bucket, you might wind up with some oxidation before the beer is completely finished.  Under those circumstances I would transfer the beer to a carboy right as its finishing active fermentation, along with plenty of the yeast cake.  Transfer while the liquid is saturated with CO2 minimizes oxidation, and including yeast prevents it from stalling out.  The environment of a full carboy with a good stopper and airlock, will introduce less air to the beer as it finishes.

Alternatively, you can ferment in a carboy from the beginning and use a blowoff tube and not need to transfer.  I'd still avoid a lot of head space if I was going to keep the beer in the carboy for several weeks.

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