Author Topic: Secondary fermentation/carboy question  (Read 1864 times)

Offline -Liam-

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Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« on: November 11, 2014, 04:41:16 AM »

I've been considering brewing a pretty big Chocolate cherry stout soon and I see that if I wanted to add Knudsen cherry juice, I would need to do this in a secondary fermenter. I have never transferred to a secondary before and if it's a case that I do this time, I've only got a 6 gallon carboy to transfer too. I'm worried about the extra head space in the secondary and that the stout will get oxygenated. So, what are my options? Can I just add the Cherry juice and cocoa nibs to the primary once the initial fermentation finishes? If so, how long more can I leave it in the primary? (assuming an initial fermentation period of 2 weeks).

Offline mblanks2

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Re: Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2014, 10:38:43 AM »
I have had beer on the yeast for 30 days with no adverse effects. With that being said, if the yeast are still active then the additions you make could be dampened by continued yeast activity. Also, if you pour into the top of your primary you can still be adding oxygen.
My suggestion would be to get a 5 gallon carboy, add your additions to it then carefully rack on top of them. If you have Co2 you could purge the 5 gallon prior to racking though I've never had any issues racking directly.

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2014, 11:43:13 AM »
I would add juice to primary after peak fermentation but before it has completely finished. With healthy year that could be only a few days, maybe a week.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2014, 12:57:16 PM »
If you still have active fermentation I dont believe that O2 is that big of a concern. I wouldn't intentionally froth it up, but simply pouring in some juice shouldn't destroy your beer. If it is still active, by the way, it will be covered in a blanket of CO2. Unless you suck it all out of there.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2014, 01:17:34 PM »
I think you could go either way. The juice should ferment fairly quickly, so if you decide to rack, most of the oxygen will be driven off quickly. For sure wait until fermentation settles down if you add it to primary. Add it too early and all those aromatics from the juice will go away.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2014, 01:30:33 PM »
That raises another question. How much are you using and what is the sugar content. When I use whole fresh cherries I find it takes about 1-1.5lbs per gallon for the flavor to pop. Under 1 lb and it will be pretty faint. Since cherries are mostly juice, the pounds per gallon thing out to still work. But it all depends on what you want. Fair warning though, a pint would probably not be noticeable

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2014, 02:12:46 PM »
I agree a pint won't be noticeable in 5 gallons. I doubt there's much harm to moving to secondary as any oxygen will be scavenged by the renewed fermentation. However, secondary is usually used when you want to age on fruit. That's not really needed if you're adding juice as it will blend very quickly. A day after adding the juice it will probably be fermented and ready to go. Nibs are another matter though.
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Offline -Liam-

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Re: Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2014, 02:15:39 PM »
That raises another question. How much are you using and what is the sugar content. When I use whole fresh cherries I find it takes about 1-1.5lbs per gallon for the flavor to pop. Under 1 lb and it will be pretty faint. Since cherries are mostly juice, the pounds per gallon thing out to still work. But it all depends on what you want. Fair warning though, a pint would probably not be noticeable

I was going to use Knudsen's cherry juice (http://www.rwknudsenfamily.com/products/just-juice). This is my first time doing this, so I'm not even sure how much to add.

I agree a pint won't be noticeable in 5 gallons. I doubt there's much harm to moving to secondary as any oxygen will be scavenged by the renewed fermentation. However, secondary is usually used when you want to age on fruit. That's not really needed if you're adding juice as it will blend very quickly. A day after adding the juice it will probably be fermented and ready to go. Nibs are another matter though.

So, should I not add the cocoa nibs to the primary then?

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2014, 04:38:04 PM »
I've used that cherry juice in a beer and to get a really solid cherry flavor I seem to recall I had to add like 3-4 bottles. It was a blonde sour beer and I wanted a prominent cherry flavor so maybe my need was more than yours.

That juice is going to add a lot of water and dilute your beer. That may or may not be an issue for you. I would take a look at tart cherry juice concentrate. You can find it at many health food stores and sometimes in the organic/health section of your grocery store. Sometimes it shows up in pharmacies or the pharmacy section of your grocery store. Shop around for prices though. Like the knudsen juices it is always pricey but some places really gouge on it.
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Offline mugwort

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Re: Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2014, 07:04:14 PM »
The cherry juice concentrate is a great idea.  It's usually in a little bottle, maybe 10 or 12 ounces.  I wouldn't do more than two bottles before giving it a week to ferment and then taste.  If you find after the cherry refermentation that you want more cherry, you can add a sugar free syrup or extract to taste, thereby skipping additional fermentation.

I'd also just do it all in primary.  You can go 6 weeks or more, as long as your temps are not excessive.  Also, if it's not a big hassle you can run the cherry juice down the inside wall of the carboy by leaning it at an angle.

As for the nibs, I toast them if they're raw and then throw them in loose.  Some people prefer short exposure times but I'm not among them.

There are so many ways you can do this and none mentioned so far are "wrong".  So go with what works for you and keep good notes of course.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2014, 07:34:11 PM »
That raises another question. How much are you using and what is the sugar content. When I use whole fresh cherries I find it takes about 1-1.5lbs per gallon for the flavor to pop. Under 1 lb and it will be pretty faint. Since cherries are mostly juice, the pounds per gallon thing out to still work. But it all depends on what you want. Fair warning though, a pint would probably not be noticeable

I was going to use Knudsen's cherry juice (http://www.rwknudsenfamily.com/products/just-juice). This is my first time doing this, so I'm not even sure how much to add.

I agree a pint won't be noticeable in 5 gallons. I doubt there's much harm to moving to secondary as any oxygen will be scavenged by the renewed fermentation. However, secondary is usually used when you want to age on fruit. That's not really needed if you're adding juice as it will blend very quickly. A day after adding the juice it will probably be fermented and ready to go. Nibs are another matter though.

So, should I not add the cocoa nibs to the primary then?
That was probably a confusing for me to say. I have no experience with nibs, so I don't have annoying to suggest.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2014, 10:40:36 PM »
If you want to keep your abv the same as the base beer just hydrometer your juice and adjust it to match your OG. If its slightly less than your OG I wouldn't sweat it because it should be pretty much 100% fermentable.

Which raises another question. Which type of stout to go with. I would choose milk stout or RIS because dry cherry chocolate, or hoppy cherry chocolate just doesn't sound tasty to me. Seems like some residual sweetness would be good.

Offline -Liam-

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Re: Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2014, 12:05:02 AM »
If you want to keep your abv the same as the base beer just hydrometer your juice and adjust it to match your OG. If its slightly less than your OG I wouldn't sweat it because it should be pretty much 100% fermentable.

Which raises another question. Which type of stout to go with. I would choose milk stout or RIS because dry cherry chocolate, or hoppy cherry chocolate just doesn't sound tasty to me. Seems like some residual sweetness would be good.

Well I wanted to go fairly big with this, so perhaps an Imperial? Imperial Milk or oatmeal, maybe? Leave it in the carboy for a while and then age it in bottles for a couple of months?

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2014, 12:08:04 AM »
Sounds good to me.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Secondary fermentation/carboy question
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2014, 12:17:08 AM »
Also, +1 to the above post about cherry juice concentrate.  This is a sour cherry concentrate that I've used in beer with excellent results. As mentioned it would take a ton of regular strength juice to get the flavor level in this concentrate. Also keep in mind that the sugar from fruit ferments pretty much completely away, so what you're left with is a sour cherry non-sweet flavor. Great stuff though.

http://www.shorelinefruit.com/cart
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