Author Topic: Ok to move to secondary?  (Read 739 times)

Offline fgrand

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Ok to move to secondary?
« on: August 06, 2010, 12:33:21 PM »
I've been brewing for awhile now (5 gal, extract and mini mash) but, because half the time I forget to take an OG reading, I've never really worried about getting samples and looking at gravities while fermenting.  After some bad experiences with my first two attempts at high gravity brews, I'm now making sure to check how fermentation is going before I rack to secondary or bottle.. 

Anyway, right now I'm brewing an IPA (Harpoon clone) and BeerSmith tells me that it should get down to 1.013, and I'm around 1.016 or so today.  Is it ok to go ahead and rack to secondary so I can dry hop.....the gravity should drop alittle in secondary, correct?  It's been a week in primary.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Offline hamiltont

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Re: Ok to move to secondary?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2010, 12:36:38 PM »
If it was my IPA I'd give it at least 2 weeks, preferably 3 weeks, in the primary.
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Offline hopaddicted

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Re: Ok to move to secondary?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2010, 12:49:45 PM »
Your definitely safe going to the secondary as long as your krausen has dropped or activity has basically stopped. Your fermentation is nearly complete from the sound of it, though you may very well find your brew going below Beersmith's estimate. Your fermentation and conditioning will continue in the secondary.

Hamilton, why do you recommend leaving an IPA in primary for that long?
Primary: Lambic
Secondary: Oktoberfest, German Pilsner, Double IPA,
In Bottles: Lucknow IPA clone, Rough Rider Brown Ale clone,
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Ok to move to secondary?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2010, 02:11:06 PM »
Secondaries cause more harm than good.  I don't do secondaries anymore.  Even with my lagers, I just leave them sit in primary for a couple months, with no ill effects.  The beer will finish and clear perfectly fine in the primary.  Otherwise, it's literally like ripping the carpet out from under the yeasty beasties, and they occasionally get confused and stop eating off-flavors such as diacetyl and acetaldehyde.  Might as well leave them alone and let them do what they want.  That's my opinion.
Dave

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Offline blatz

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Re: Ok to move to secondary?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2010, 02:12:44 PM »
Secondaries cause more harm than good.  I don't do secondaries anymore.  Even with my lagers, I just leave them sit in primary for a couple months, with no ill effects.  The beer will finish and clear perfectly fine in the primary.  Otherwise, it's literally like ripping the carpet out from under the yeasty beasties, and they occasionally get confused and stop eating off-flavors such as diacetyl and acetaldehyde.  Might as well leave them alone and let them do what they want.  That's my opinion.

+1 - my sentiments exactly, though I do still secondary anything over say 1.080 for the whole 'bulk aging" thing.
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Offline hopaddicted

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Re: Ok to move to secondary?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2010, 04:24:53 PM »
Though I understand people choosing to only use a primary, the only potential issue I see in using a secondary is easily mitigated, infection. Assuming normal care with sanitation, you should have no problems using two stages.

I don't buy that secondaries are less efficient at reducing off flavors than a single stage setup. There should be plenty of yeast still suspended after 1-2 weeks in the primary with most yeast strains. Most (if not all)commercial breweries I have seen used two stages.

I have brewed roughly 50 brews in the past year plus since I began brewing and have not had a bad beer yet. True, my taste buds may not be as refined as some, but I also give samples to numerous experienced brewers that do not complain about off flavors. I have certainly had bottles that were off, but with a little extra bottle conditioning, all have self corrected, some quicker than others.

Bottom line are either option is more than viable, personal choice/preference.

Just my 2 cents...
Primary: Lambic
Secondary: Oktoberfest, German Pilsner, Double IPA,
In Bottles: Lucknow IPA clone, Rough Rider Brown Ale clone,
John Harvard Imperial Stout clone, Hoppy Amber, Witch's Brew (Habanero and Smoked Corn Small Ale), Porter, Dunkleweizen, Dry Stout, Irish Red Ale, American Maple Wheat Ale, Black Wit, Belgian style Wit, Belgian Golden Strong Ale
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Offline euge

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Re: Ok to move to secondary?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2010, 11:16:24 PM »
Not taking a gravity reading is not helping your problem.  :)

I forget too to check or can't be bothered sometimes.  ;) However, nearly all the beer I brew has the same starting gravity. Rarely do they go over 1.055, and I just know when a batch is ready. Once it kicks off the bulk of the fermentation is done in a few days at ale temps.

Me? Depending on yeast strain I now give it 5-10 days in primary and then it goes into the keg after a gravity check. Sugar-primed they sit for two weeks or longer. My Pale Ales and Bitters frequently get tapped after two weeks in the keg. And they taste great.

You'll find what ya like. Try it every which-a-ways.
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Offline fgrand

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Re: Ok to move to secondary?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2010, 09:07:27 AM »
Thanks for all the input.  I think I'm going to go ahead and rack it to secondary and dry hop, the OG was 1.054 by the way.....I'll try and research some more about secondaries, but everything I've read so far suggests two stage fermentations are the way to go.

Offline denny

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Re: Ok to move to secondary?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2010, 09:21:47 AM »
Thanks for all the input.  I think I'm going to go ahead and rack it to secondary and dry hop, the OG was 1.054 by the way.....I'll try and research some more about secondaries, but everything I've read so far suggests two stage fermentations are the way to go.

I don't think it's that cut and dried.  Sometimes I use a secondary, more often I don't.  You'll develop enough familiarity with the process to know when you need to do what.  But I never just assume that a beer will or won't need secondary.
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