Author Topic: Secondary question  (Read 1180 times)

Offline cptnpenguin

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Secondary question
« on: April 03, 2015, 03:19:19 PM »
If you want to do a secondary fermentation before bottling do you need to pitch new yeast? If you do pitch new yeast (for example a vial of brett in a saison thats been in primary for 2.5 weeks) do you have to transfer to new fermenter without old yeast or can you just throw it in the current primary?


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Offline kramerog

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Re: Secondary question
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2015, 03:22:58 PM »
You can keep it in the same fermenter.  In your Brett example, if you transfer you'll probably get less funk and a little more acidity from oxygen pickup.  Mind you these might be subtle changes.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Secondary question
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2015, 06:42:19 PM »
I consider the total time its going to be on the yeast and what that yeast is. If total time is ten weeks or less I dont transfer. If my yeast is just bugs I dont transfer. This works for me at homebrew volumes. Probably not so much if you were brewing multiple barrels.

Offline bboy9000

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Secondary question
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2015, 01:38:10 AM »
Good questions, here's a list as I've had a few:

1.  You do not need to pitch more yeast if you rack to secondary before bottling (assuming primary fermentation is finished, you don't transfer too early and the yeast aren't pooped out from fermenting  a high OG wort).  Edit: From what I understand you will transfer plenty of yeast still in suspension and will likely rouse a little from the yeast cake.

2.  You can just pitch the brett into the primary.

Now my advice.  Do not move beer into a secondary fermentation vessel as a standard practice unless you like the risk of oxidation which makes the beer taste like cardboard (Mmmmm).  I only rack to secondary for very specific reasons: 1) I need to empty a large carboy/bucket to ferment another beer, 2) I'm making a spice beer or a massively dry hopped beer and want to reduce the amount of trub that will eventually  be packaged, 3) I'm pitching brett or bugs that will be in there for six months or longer and 4) lagering, in which case I transfer from the primary fermentation vessel and lager in the keg.  In general, racking to a secondary fermentation vessel is an old school and unnecessary practice.  I even dry hop in the primary. 

If you do decide to transfer to a secondary fermentation vessel remember two things: 1) dont transfer from primary until the yeast are done, usually after 2-4 weeks but only a consistent hydrometer reading for at least three consecutive days can confirm this and 2) try to transfer in an oxygen-free environment by purging the fermentation vessels and siphon of oxygen with carbon dioxide before hand.  IME, you typically won't need to add more yeast to any beer if it's fermented properly.  Sometimes it is necessary if the yeast are tired from doing a high gravity beer or if you are bottle carbonating a lager.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 01:44:23 AM by bboy9000 »
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Re: Secondary question
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2015, 12:16:08 PM »
Now my advice.  Do not move beer into a secondary fermentation vessel as a standard practice unless you like the risk of oxidation which makes the beer taste like cardboard (Mmmmm). 

Some home brew myths never die.  Wet cardboard/paper is the a compound known as trans-2-nonenal.  It is the result of the oxidation of lipids in the mash.  The culprit is an enzyme known as lipoxygenase.   What causes trans-2-nonenal to rear it's ugly head is poor post-packaging storage.

Oxidation while racking to a secondary is yet another home brew myth that is even worse than the home brew myth that is replaced; namely, autolysis.  The threat of oxidation while yeast cells are still in suspension is close to nil, as yeast cells love to scrub O2 from a solution.  Oxidation does not become a serious risk until the beer has been filtered or the viable yeast cell count drops to a very low level.  The threat of autolysis is real; however, most beer is packaged before yeast cells reach a state of health where autolysis occurs.  Yeast cells undergo a morphological change in addition to storing glycogen and trehalose at the end of fermentation.  This morphological change is thickening of the cell wall in preparation for hard times.


« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 05:57:47 PM by S. cerevisiae »

Offline inbituinthebrew

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Re: Secondary question
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2015, 02:03:07 PM »
It sounds like oxidation and autolysis are not necessarily myths, but instead very rare in the common homebrew process? Perhaps in the extreme homebrew cases these are still valid - forgetting about a batch for a few months, etc.?

Also, if you're pitching Brett, wouldn't you want to pitch in a different fermenter altogether? I don't deal with those bugs much, but those that do usually recommend to keep them away from your non-brett/bugged equipment? I know of some who have a set for each.
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Offline cptnpenguin

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Re: Secondary question
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2015, 03:12:07 PM »
Well too late now. I pitched I vial of brett c. yesterday into the primary. Amazing compared to other yeast vials how little are in the brett ones. I was reading the article on saisons in the July/august zymurgy and it said using Brett helps get the high attenuation needed for saisons. Plus I'm curious to see how this turns out now. Also I'm wondering how much activity in the airlock I'll actually see compared to those initial 2 days when you start off the original primary.


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Offline inbituinthebrew

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Re: Secondary question
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2015, 07:14:06 PM »
Yeah, the pitching rates for Brett are a lot smaller than what they would be for the typical ale strains. I'd like to hear how the activity went as well - I'm pretty sure Brett cells take much longer to mature and peak as compared to your typical S. Cer strains.

Also, since you did throw in the bugs, perhaps worth using that fermenter for only similar pitches moving forward? Unless you like a little Brett in all your beers  :)
Conrad B.

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Offline cptnpenguin

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Re: Secondary question
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2015, 07:18:35 PM »
Didn't think of that but yes, I do like funk


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Offline cptnpenguin

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Re: Secondary question
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2015, 08:05:07 PM »
So at about 24 hrs have some bubbles about every 1.5-2 min. Before I pitched it there was absolutely no activity at all. Probably let it sit a week or two then bottle


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Offline jtoots

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Re: Secondary question
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2015, 05:15:42 PM »
Well too late now. I pitched I vial of brett c. yesterday into the primary. Amazing compared to other yeast vials how little are in the brett ones. I was reading the article on saisons in the July/august zymurgy and it said using Brett helps get the high attenuation needed for saisons. Plus I'm curious to see how this turns out now. Also I'm wondering how much activity in the airlock I'll actually see compared to those initial 2 days when you start off the original primary.


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If your primary is plastic, best call it a brett only bucket from now on.

Offline cptnpenguin

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Re: Secondary question
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2015, 06:21:11 PM »
Will it really not go away even with good PBW cleaning and then good star san soak?


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Offline jtoots

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Re: Secondary question
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2015, 06:26:26 PM »
Will it really not go away even with good PBW cleaning and then good star san soak?


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Not in my limited experience with sours... had a couple batches go bad, won't risk it any more. 10 gallons of weird beer was a drag.

Offline cptnpenguin

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Re: Secondary question
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2015, 06:43:38 PM »
Hmmm. Bad as in just tasted off/bad or just everything had some funk (in a good way) too it ever since?


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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Secondary question
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2015, 06:54:28 PM »
So at about 24 hrs have some bubbles about every 1.5-2 min. Before I pitched it there was absolutely no activity at all. Probably let it sit a week or two then bottle


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You are definitely going to want to let it sit longer than another week.  And most likely those bubbles are simply CO2 off-gassing from your racked beer rather than Brett C. already fermenting.  Brett C is a very slow worker and not a strong attenuator, and without a sizable pitch will take at least 3-4 mos for it to show any noticeable character. 
What was the final gravity upon racking and adding the brett?  If it was above 1.010 I would definitely give the brett more time to work on the beer unless you like having bottle bombs going off in the house.