Author Topic: when to rack to secondary fermenter?  (Read 5483 times)

Offline hefeweizen

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when to rack to secondary fermenter?
« on: April 15, 2010, 05:31:17 PM »
Hey thirsty friends!
I am on my 4th batch and need some advice. I brewed a dark Hefeweizen and the OG turned out to be 1.070. The yeast kicked in after 36 hours ( I will do a starter next time ) and was pretty violent that it blew the airlock off and made a huge mess. It felt actually right and fun to have experienced that  ;D . Beginners mistakes are there to learn. and I switched to a blow off hose. So my question is: how do I know when to rack it into the secondary fermenter. What gravity reading should I strive for before racking. what is my aspired final gravity?. How long should it be in the secondary before bottling? How long should it be in the bottle before it is "best"? Thank you for your help!


If it helps, I used following ingredients:

Grains
1 pound Belgian Plisen Malt
1 pound American Wheat Malt
Extracts
4 pounds Liquid malt extract
4.00 pounds dry malt extract

Hops
1oz Cascade
Yeast
 WYEAST 3068 Weihenstephan
« Last Edit: April 15, 2010, 08:39:12 PM by hefeweizen »

Offline hokerer

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Re: when to rack to secondary fermenter?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2010, 05:54:19 PM »
Normally, a hefeweizen doesn't even need to be secondaried but, on the other hand, your OG is way high for a hefe and it's usually recommended that high-gravity beers be secondaried so it's pretty much your choice whether you do or not.  In any case, you're not really shooting for a particular final gravity.  Rather, once you think it should be done, you want to check the gravity reading daily.  Once you get the same gravity reading a couple days in a row, it's done.  If you're going to secondary, then is the time to transfer.  Or, if you're going to bottle, you can do it then also.  The important thing is the fermentation be complete.
Joe

Offline rjharper

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Re: when to rack to secondary fermenter?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2010, 07:45:04 PM »
When I secondary (pretty much for every batch), I wait for the krausen to fall, and airlock activity to cease.  I measure the SG, but I do that during racking when I'm already committed (bad habit, but still) to the transfer.  I remember reading somewhere that you can rack to secondary after you've reached only 75% attenuation, and that the suspended yeast will still be sufficient to finish out the fermentation, so waiting until fermentation activity has passed seems like a safe play.  I didn't even own a hydrometer for my first few batches.  These days though, I usually observe a .002 drop during secondary.

As you'll see here, there's plenty of ways to do things, and still up with great beer.
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Offline euge

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Re: when to rack to secondary fermenter?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2010, 11:23:01 PM »
Probably going to weigh in around 8%. Give it a few months to condition. Meanwhile do another...

LOL My first hefe blew out the airlock out of the stopper and sprayed down the bathroom it was in. I remember being woken by sound of the spraying stopper going at it every 15 seconds or so. Weird sound it was.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline majorvices

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Re: when to rack to secondary fermenter?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2010, 05:21:51 AM »
When I secondary (pretty much for every batch), I wait for the krausen to fall, and airlock activity to cease.  I measure the SG, but I do that during racking when I'm already committed (bad habit, but still) to the transfer.  I remember reading somewhere that you can rack to secondary after you've reached only 75% attenuation, and that the suspended yeast will still be sufficient to finish out the fermentation, so waiting until fermentation activity has passed seems like a safe play.  I didn't even own a hydrometer for my first few batches.  These days though, I usually observe a .002 drop during secondary.

As you'll see here, there's plenty of ways to do things, and still up with great beer.

The problem is that if you end up with a lower than expected attenuation you have removed the yeast from the bottom. One of the easiest ways to fix a stalled fermentation is by rousing the yeast. You can't do that if you transfer before fermentation is complete. Some strains (like a hefeweizen) will have lots of yeast still in suspension but highly flocking strains (such as WLP002) will clump and drop out and sometimes need roused. Get in the habit of just leaving the beer on the yeast until you are sure it is done, and then give it a couple of days extra. The yeast and trub on the bottom isn't going to cause any off flavors unless you leave it there for several weeks.

Generally most low gravity ales don't need secondary. Its a waste of time, and added step and an extra chance to introduce oxygen and possibly even contamination.
Keith Y.

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Offline hefeweizen

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thx so much !
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2010, 07:27:54 PM »
Thank you friends for the advice! I am amazed how fast I got your responses that will help me learning the trade of brewing. I love to drink beer, love to brew beer, love to talk beer. Beerilicous. It is also amazing to see some pimped up brewing systems while I am just starting out with a simple 35 quart brew kettle and 2 carboys. keep on brewing...

Offline 1vertical

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Re: when to rack to secondary fermenter?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2010, 09:57:44 PM »
Sound advice major.  I would say that waiting a couple extra days could even mean
wait an entire week...won't hurt a thing.  The beer will tell you when it is done, you
should not try to tell the beer when you think it is done....
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Offline hankus

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Re: when to rack to secondary fermenter?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2010, 05:17:23 AM »
I no longer measure SG after fermentation begins, preferring to wait for the yeast to work it out.2 days after all fermentation stops,i rack to a secondary to clear an ale BUT not a HEFE which should be cloudy;if a lager or a slightly DMS emitting ale,I raise temp to mid 60s X 48 hrs loosely covered and then rack.
Welcome to brewing-14+years with great results because I ALWAYS make a starter and I reuse my yeast but NOT HEFE yeast-generations 2-5 are better but HEFE seems to be severely altered-an opinion verified in Heironymuss's new book on brewing wheat beer