Author Topic: Racking to secondary  (Read 1231 times)

Offline Son of Brew

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Racking to secondary
« on: September 11, 2016, 12:58:28 PM »
I've currently got a batch of LAB Coconut Porter (with some mesquite smoked added) that I found on here nearing the end of its primary fermentation. I'm curious about the oft-remarked matter of racking to a secondary fermenter, which the recipe calls for. Can I get away with simply adding the toasted coconut to the primary vessel? What exactly are the advantages either way?

I've asked the guys at the home brew shop and they say go ahead and add to the primary vessel, and, of course, there is every type of answer imaginable to be found on internet forums. In any case, what are thoughts on this matter?

Offline majorvices

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Re: Racking to secondary
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2016, 01:08:30 PM »
Very few people on this forum will advocate racking to a secondary. The main problem with racking a beer is oxidation. In reality if you have means to purge a secondary vessel with co2 or plan to actually do a secondary fermentation with a fermentable such as fruit a secondary vessel can be somewhat beneficial because you are able to remove the yeast (or in the case of a conical you can dump the yeast and add ingredients.) But if you don't have means to purge a secondary vessel of o2 it will likely cause more harm than good.

Offline Son of Brew

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Re: Racking to secondary
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2016, 01:16:41 PM »
Yeah, I've only used a secondary once out the half-dozen or so batches I've done. My question really came from the coconut addition. Will this kick-start the yeast again? Could you explain a bit more the chemical processes that occur from an addition such as this?

Offline majorvices

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Re: Racking to secondary
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2016, 01:22:12 PM »
Yeah, I've only used a secondary once out the half-dozen or so batches I've done. My question really came from the coconut addition. Will this kick-start the yeast again? Could you explain a bit more the chemical processes that occur from an addition such as this?


There will be minimal yeast activity but there are some sugars in coconut so you will have some moderate fermentation.  But even if you did rack there would still be plenty of yeast left in suspension to ferment avy available sugars. As mentioned before your main danger in racking is oxidation, if you don't have a way to rack into a co2 purged vessel don't do it. There is some benefit to get the beer off the yeast, but that benefit if minor compared to the effects of oxidation.

Offline Son of Brew

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Re: Racking to secondary
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2016, 02:31:37 PM »
Thank you. As I don't have a way to purge the secondary, I'll stick with the primary.

Also, the recipe calls for giving the secondary a good shake every day, presumably to distribute the flavors. Is the danger of oxidation only a factor during the attenuation phase? I would definitely hesitate to do this in the primary, but what is the wisdom here?

Offline majorvices

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Re: Racking to secondary
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2016, 02:33:12 PM »
That's really dumb advice. I'd be skeptical of that recipe if it gives that type of advice. Mind posting? There is no real danger of rousing the beer if no o2 is present but there is also no need to do this to distribute flavors. And if it is in an unpurged secondary then you are drastically increasing the o2 pick up.

« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 02:37:23 PM by majorvices »

Offline Son of Brew

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Re: Racking to secondary
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2016, 02:45:58 PM »

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Racking to secondary
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2016, 10:27:44 AM »
Odd that it calls for US-05. The shake-the-secondary implies a British strain that needs to be roused to ferment out all the way.

Definitely would not do a secondary, or any rousing, with the recipe as posted.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Racking to secondary
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2016, 12:00:36 PM »
Odd that it calls for US-05. The shake-the-secondary implies a British strain that needs to be roused to ferment out all the way.

Definitely would not do a secondary, or any rousing, with the recipe as posted.

Yeah, also it doesn't say rouse the yeast. It says "give it (the secondary) a good shake".

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Racking to secondary
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2016, 01:45:25 PM »
I still ferment in carboys, so shaking is how I've been rousing yeast. (Though this is all still in primary.) I assumed rousing was the reasoning behind the shaking. (What else would it do?)
« Last Edit: September 12, 2016, 01:48:53 PM by Phil_M »
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Racking to secondary
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2016, 05:01:15 PM »
I still ferment in carboys, so shaking is how I've been rousing yeast. (Though this is all still in primary.) I assumed rousing was the reasoning behind the shaking. (What else would it do?)

Shaking would be fine in primary fermentorsince all o2 has been pushed out during fermentation but I always roused with a sanitized racking cane