Author Topic: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation  (Read 1771 times)

Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« on: October 19, 2016, 01:47:56 PM »
If you are racking from primary to secondary because you are adding ingredients to the secondary, does fermentation need to be completely finished before you do that?

My thought would be that the purpose of racking to the secondary is to leave most of the traub behind.  If this is the case, I'm thinking I could probably do that after perhaps 7 days and then leave the beer in there until fermentation is complete. Also, I don't care if some traub remains.  I bottle and most of the visible crud will settle to the bottom anyway.

If more info helps, I'm making a stout. fermenting with US05, and will be adding chocolate nibs and cinnamon sticks. 

Thanks in advance for your advice.
 
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2016, 01:58:43 PM »
If you are racking from primary to secondary because you are adding ingredients to the secondary, does fermentation need to be completely finished before you do that?

My thought would be that the purpose of racking to the secondary is to leave most of the traub behind.  If this is the case, I'm thinking I could probably do that after perhaps 7 days and then leave the beer in there until fermentation is complete. Also, I don't care if some traub remains.  I bottle and most of the visible crud will settle to the bottom anyway.

If more info helps, I'm making a stout. fermenting with US05, and will be adding chocolate nibs and cinnamon sticks. 

Thanks in advance for your advice.
 



Personally, I wouldn't transfer to secondary to use cocoa nibs and cinnamon. I'd wait until you reach FG, then add those ingredients in a fine mesh bag. Sample everyday or two and pull the bag when the flavor is where you want, then bottle/keg.
Jon H.

Offline Brew Cat

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Re: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2016, 11:56:25 AM »
Two schools of thought. Throw additions in the primary if you are worried about contamination. Or wait until fermentation is about 70% done and rack onto the fruit this adds a little more O2 but the yeast will use that and the fermentation should stop so the o2 will be scrubbed fairly fast IMO. If you wait for fermentation to stop before you transfer you will have to wait for it to start up again. Wine makers transfer actively fermenting wine all the time.
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Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2016, 08:02:07 PM »
I will say wine is not beer.  There is really a bigger risk of damaging your product if you transfer mid fermentation.  There is nothing worse than an under attenuated beer in my experience with transferring early.  If your beer stalls at 75% you wouldn't be happy, and you could get oxidation in your bottle/keg.  No Bueno.  I am with Jon, no absolute need to do it.  Although I am sure almost all of us have done it before.
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Offline Brew Cat

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Re: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2016, 10:13:03 PM »
Fermentation won't stall. Under aerated beer will stall. Ever add dry hops after 5 days? It starts fermenting again from the oxygen that gets in with the hops. The risk of oxidation comes after fermentation is complete. At least that's what I believe. But like I said if you're worried just toss it in the primary.
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Re: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2016, 11:22:14 PM »
If you are racking from primary to secondary because you are adding ingredients to the secondary, does fermentation need to be completely finished before you do that?

My thought would be that the purpose of racking to the secondary is to leave most of the traub behind.  If this is the case, I'm thinking I could probably do that after perhaps 7 days and then leave the beer in there until fermentation is complete. Also, I don't care if some traub remains.  I bottle and most of the visible crud will settle to the bottom anyway.

If more info helps, I'm making a stout. fermenting with US05, and will be adding chocolate nibs and cinnamon sticks. 

Thanks in advance for your advice.
 



Personally, I wouldn't transfer to secondary to use cocoa nibs and cinnamon. I'd wait until you reach FG, then add those ingredients in a fine mesh bag. Sample everyday or two and pull the bag when the flavor is where you want, then bottle/keg.

I tend to lean towards this...

  If your beer stalls at 75% you wouldn't be happy, and you could get oxidation in your bottle/keg. 

How would this lead to oxidation?


Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2016, 12:06:14 AM »
Look up CSA and you decide if transferring without the use of a closed system is real or can cause post-fermentation oxygen derived off flavors.  I have experienced them, I will say that it's not worth transferring unless your adding additional fermentables, I don't think it's worth it.  So as far as adding spices, I'm with Jon and don't advise it.

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Offline Brew Cat

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Re: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2016, 12:55:43 AM »
I don't think you will aerate the wort if you rack carefully. If your that worried don't do a secondary. Historically beer was brewed in open fermenters and coolships. The majority of home brewers don't do closed transfers. If you are you saying you can only make good beer in a closed system? I'll have to disagree
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2016, 02:59:43 AM »
The issue with racking is all that surface area exposed to air. Purging helps, but closed transfers are better. The biggest issue is when folks don't fill the carboy to the neck. These leaves the beer exposed to plain air for however long.

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Re: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2016, 03:24:35 AM »
So basically your saying you can only make good beer by transferring with a closed system?
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Re: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2016, 03:43:46 AM »
http://howtobrew.com/book/section-1/fermentation/using-secondary-fermentors
Here is what John Palmer says about racking when still actively bubbling
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2016, 05:24:45 AM »
So basically your saying you can only make good beer by transferring with a closed system?
I'm saying closed transfers are better and calling out some of the reasons why transfers can be an issue. I think Palmer has also changed his opinion in the 12 years since that version of how to brew came out.

Secondary "fermentations" are not necessary in most circumstances. Bulk aging or adding fruit are the only instances where I transfer to secondary vessel.

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2016, 02:06:24 PM »
I don't think you will aerate the wort if you rack carefully. If your that worried don't do a secondary. Historically beer was brewed in open fermenters and coolships. The majority of home brewers don't do closed transfers. If you are you saying you can only make good beer in a closed system? I'll have to disagree
You can aerate your wort transferring to a secindary, like already explained., however a few holes in your arguement I'd like to discuss. Open fermentation was only used in a primary fermentation then racked to a closed tank for aging and packaging.  The CO2 and the positive pressures created by the yeast during fermentation protects the yeast and the product. With a thick layer of co2 then yeast, then your beer.  When the krausen fell the beer was moved, preventing any extended exposure to the air.

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Re: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2016, 02:42:32 PM »
By closed tank do you mean siphoned into an oxygen laden wooden barrel and sealed with a cork without purging. look I don't generally do secondaries but you don't have to be afraid of it ,plenty of brewers do it and have no problems. I want the OP to know you can make very good beer without doing closed transfers. Have you ever watched how beer is canned commercialy. On the home brew scale your wort is not going to be exposed long enough from a transfer. Hey does closed system have some benefit? Sure. Is it necessary? IMO no. Let's just agree to disagree.
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Offline dilluh98

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Re: Timing question regarding secondary fermentation
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2016, 03:10:02 PM »
I don't think you will aerate the wort if you rack carefully. If your that worried don't do a secondary. Historically beer was brewed in open fermenters and coolships. The majority of home brewers don't do closed transfers. If you are you saying you can only make good beer in a closed system? I'll have to disagree

Open fermentation does not mean active oxygenation of wort/beer - in fact, active fermentation is as low of oxygen content as a beer/wort mixture is ever going to get. That's why breweries can open ferment (and you can, too). Most breweries do transfers to conditioning tanks when fermentation is still happening because the threat of oxidation is low. Once fermentation stops, that's when you worry about oxygen exposure and hence people's call for closed transfer.