Author Topic: Should I use a secondary fermentor?  (Read 1003 times)

Offline medley55

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Should I use a secondary fermentor?
« on: December 22, 2014, 12:01:13 pm »
I brewed a partial mash Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Midwest Supplies on 12/14, OG 1.068, fermented in a 6.5 gallon bucket with WYEAST 1056 at 70 degrees. Active bubbling for three days. Have not taken a FG because I'm in limbo on what to do next.

My question is should I move it to a secondary fermenter and try dry hopping or can I open primary fermenter and dry hop or skip the dry hop all together? I only have a 6.5 glass carboy and I'm concerned about the additional head space since I'll probably only pull 4.5 gallons of the primary fermenter.

FYI - this is only my third batch, I'm green with envy.

I'd appreciate your help!
« Last Edit: December 22, 2014, 12:03:56 pm by medley55 »

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Should I use a secondary fermentor?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2014, 12:07:13 pm »
Firstly, take a reading. You can't have any idea what to do until you do that. Bubbling is not a good indicator of activity and the yeast can't read a calendar.

If the reading is about where the kit claims it should be wait another week and take another reading. If the two readings are more or less the same then it's time to start deciding if you want to dry hop, if you want to dry hop in presence of yeast or not.

If you decide the beer could use more hop aroma and that fresh dry hop boost then you have to decide if you want to try, for simplicity sake, just dry hopping in the primary. This is the easiest method but the yeast and hops interact and create changes in hop flavor.

don't worry about the headspace in the carboy, if/when you rack the beer over enough co2 will come out of solution to protect the beer.
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Offline macphergus

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Re: Should I use a secondary fermentor?
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2014, 02:03:00 pm »
Agree with morti...no need to pull it off the yeast too fast (diacetyl risk).  I prefer secondary ferms and doing the dry hopping in them.

Offline Frankenbrew

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Re: Should I use a secondary fermentor?
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2014, 04:34:12 pm »
I've got a mini experiment going right now. I brewed ten gallons of IPA, a Centennial Two Hearted clone. Dry hopped five gallons in primary and am dry hopping the other five in the secondary. Will report back on the difference in flavor/aroma, or lack thereof, in a couple of weeks.
Frank C.

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heart, you brew good ale.'

Offline majorvices

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Re: Should I use a secondary fermentor?
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2014, 04:37:28 am »
There's  nothing wrong with dry hopping in the primary, but it is definitely best to drop the yeast before you do. You can do this by cold crashing for a few days then raising the temp back up into the 60s for the dry hop.

If you use a secondary you really should purge the vessel with Co2 before racking. You should avoid oxidation at all costs but especially with hoppy beers. Any oxidation post fermentation of hop driven beers will seriously degrade the quality of the beer and it doesn't take long.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Should I use a secondary fermentor?
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2014, 05:48:39 am »
Good advice from all.  Definitely +1 to avoiding O2 contact especially with hoppy beers.
Jon H.