Author Topic: Transition from primary to secondary  (Read 712 times)

Offline sdevries42

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Transition from primary to secondary
« on: April 30, 2015, 02:21:42 AM »
I have a Belgian Tripel fermenting now. Recipe said to add grapefruit and brown sugar at 60 hrs into primary and transition into secondary after 1 week. It's been a week now and it is still fermenting fairly strong. I moved it into the secondary fermenter like the recipe,said and now fermentation has significantly slowed. Should I have left it in the primary fermenter longer? How do you know when is a good time to transition into the secondary fermenter?

Offline sdevries42

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Re: Transition from primary to secondary
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2015, 02:44:23 AM »
After more research it looks like I moved it too soon before fermentation was complete. Can I add more yeast to the secondary to help finish fermentation or am I stuck?

Offline pete b

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Re: Transition from primary to secondary
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2015, 11:59:10 AM »
Have you checked the gravity? How long has it been since you transferred. In the future you would want to check gravity at least twice a few days apart. It should be at least close to what you expect for a final gravity and be at the same gravity if you check it say two or three days apart. For now check the gravity if you haven't already. If its on the high side for now I would still wait a few days, most likely it is just slowed down. Some yeast would have been racked over to secondary and it just needs to build up. What temp is it? I recommend you let it get up to 75 ish to finish. If the gravity is high and not moving in several days you can pitch a very large starter of neutral yeast to finish but I bet you won't need to. Also make sure to test your hydrometer in plain water at the recommended temp on the paper that comes with.
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Offline sdevries42

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Re: Transition from primary to secondary
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2015, 02:32:49 PM »
Have you checked the gravity? How long has it been since you transferred. In the future you would want to check gravity at least twice a few days apart. It should be at least close to what you expect for a final gravity and be at the same gravity if you check it say two or three days apart. For now check the gravity if you haven't already. If its on the high side for now I would still wait a few days, most likely it is just slowed down. Some yeast would have been racked over to secondary and it just needs to build up. What temp is it? I recommend you let it get up to 75 ish to finish. If the gravity is high and not moving in several days you can pitch a very large starter of neutral yeast to finish but I bet you won't need to. Also make sure to test your hydrometer in plain water at the recommended temp on the paper that comes with.
I transferred last night and after realizing I should have checked the gravity before, I checked it when it was already in the secondary. Reading was 1.026 with a goal of 1.010. I have it at 70 degrees now. There are still signs of good fermentation so maybe I'll be ok?

Offline pete b

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Re: Transition from primary to secondary
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2015, 04:04:31 PM »
Have you checked the gravity? How long has it been since you transferred. In the future you would want to check gravity at least twice a few days apart. It should be at least close to what you expect for a final gravity and be at the same gravity if you check it say two or three days apart. For now check the gravity if you haven't already. If its on the high side for now I would still wait a few days, most likely it is just slowed down. Some yeast would have been racked over to secondary and it just needs to build up. What temp is it? I recommend you let it get up to 75 ish to finish. If the gravity is high and not moving in several days you can pitch a very large starter of neutral yeast to finish but I bet you won't need to. Also make sure to test your hydrometer in plain water at the recommended temp on the paper that comes with.
I transferred last night and after realizing I should have checked the gravity before, I checked it when it was already in the secondary. Reading was 1.026 with a goal of 1.010. I have it at 70 degrees now. There are still signs of good fermentation so maybe I'll be ok?
I would check gravity every other day to see if its moving. I bet your OK.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Transition from primary to secondary
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2015, 01:16:02 AM »
Let it be at this point. Most Belgian yeasts are pretty hardy and also tend to stick around in suspension so you should be fine, but as you have surmised it's not a good idea ever to rack before fermentation is finished.

Offline sdevries42

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Re: Transition from primary to secondary
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2015, 12:11:42 PM »
Let it be at this point. Most Belgian yeasts are pretty hardy and also tend to stick around in suspension so you should be fine, but as you have surmised it's not a good idea ever to rack before fermentation is finished.
If you let fermentation complete in the primary and do not plan to add anything more to the beer, is there any point to rack in a secondary fermenter?

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Re: Transition from primary to secondary
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2015, 12:12:40 PM »
Not in my opinion.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Transition from primary to secondary
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2015, 12:18:46 PM »
Jon H.

Offline pete b

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Re: Transition from primary to secondary
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2015, 01:12:16 PM »
Not in my opinion.

+1
+2 Most rack into secondary only for dry hopping, adding fruit etc., or bulk aging for a long time (months, not weeks). I sometimes don't even rack for dry hopping.
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Online ynotbrusum

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Re: Transition from primary to secondary
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2015, 08:25:55 PM »
Secondary is a term that should rarely be used in my opinion.  Unfortunately recipes continue to suggest it (to sell extra carboys?).  Secondary fermentation is generally inaccurate, unless you are adding a medium that will ferment or perhaps a different agent that will do its things, such as adding brett after primary to finish a Belgian really dry.  Otherwise transferring to secondary just means racking beer off the yeast cake.

Most guys here agree on this, but there are those few who continue to tout the benefits of clarifying in a second vessel....YMMV, of course.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Transition from primary to secondary
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2015, 09:05:53 PM »
Let it be at this point. Most Belgian yeasts are pretty hardy and also tend to stick around in suspension so you should be fine, but as you have surmised it's not a good idea ever to rack before fermentation is finished.

You may need to be patient though.  It's likely to take a little longer to hit final gravity.  No need to rush things, though.  I rarely even check gravity before it's been in the fermenter for a couple weeks.

Most guys here agree on this, but there are those few who continue to tout the benefits of clarifying in a second vessel....YMMV, of course.

I agree.  My beer is pretty clear by the time I keg it, but that's usually four weeks or so after pitching the yeast.  If it needs to clarify further, that happens in the keg.
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