Author Topic: How do I know exactly when to move into 2nd fermentation?  (Read 840 times)

Offline deathofacook

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How do I know exactly when to move into 2nd fermentation?
« on: August 25, 2010, 09:44:06 PM »
I'm making a Chinook IPA and everything seems to be going wonderfully, save my few questions.

The beer has been fermenting for 9 days now, and I am no longer seeing any active fermentation (my bubbles are few and far between!) There is a lot krausen that has build up onto the sides of my carboy, but it seems now there is hardly any on the surface of the beer itself. Does this mean that it is already fallen back into the beer and it is time to transport into the 2nd fermentation?

Do I need to take a hydrometer reading and over the course of a few days to make sure it is stable, or is this not necessary? Does the risk of contamination at this point outweigh the rewards? And what exactly am I looking for with this new hyrdrometer reading? How does that compare to the OG?

I want to be as thorough as possible and have been trying to record and control as much as I can with this brew just to be on top of my game for next time.

What do you recommend?

Thanks,

Kat

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: How do I know exactly when to move into 2nd fermentation?
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2010, 09:53:51 PM »
Hi Kat,

I personally don't do secondaries at all, I think it's medium-low risk and low reward, and more work and cleaning than you really need.  Take the gravity reading over a few days as long as it's stable and the reading makes sense based on your recipe then it's time to package.  Unless you are dry hopping, in which case it is time for that.

As for what to expect relative to OG, you want to calculate the ADF (apparent degree of fermentation) also known as apparent attenuation.  To calculate this, subtract the FG in points from the OG in points, then divide by the OG in points to get a percentage.

For example, a beer that starts at 1.050 and finishes at 1.015 has an ADF of (50-15)/50=.70 or 70%.  Whether that makes sense or not depends on the yeast, mashing temp, and ingredients in the beer.  If you post your recipe, OG, and FG we can help you figure it out.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline euge

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Re: How do I know exactly when to move into 2nd fermentation?
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2010, 01:01:48 AM »
Time to bottle or keg in my brewery. Or you can let it sit for 2+ more weeks and then rack. Up to you. Secondary fermentation is an appropriate technique but many of us eschew the practice feeling it is unnecessary and that the extra time in primary is more beneficial.

You'll easily get a feel for it visually and by smell and as well how different yeasts behave. I think a thermometer is more important than a hydrometer but you should be using both.

Good luck with the IPA.



The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline bluesman

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Re: How do I know exactly when to move into 2nd fermentation?
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2010, 05:07:59 AM »
Target your FG through the anticipated attenuation of your yeast and measuring the actual gravity.  When the anticipated FG has been achieved it is time to bottle and or keg the beer.  I don't use a secondary ferment for most ales because the risks outweigh the rewards. I keg my IPA's after primary ferment.
Ron Price

Offline majorvices

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Re: How do I know exactly when to move into 2nd fermentation?
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2010, 05:27:39 AM »
Hi Kat,

I personally don't do secondaries at all, I think it's medium-low risk and low reward, and more work and cleaning than you really need.  Take the gravity reading over a few days as long as it's stable and the reading makes sense based on your recipe then it's time to package.  Unless you are dry hopping, in which case it is time for that.

As for what to expect relative to OG, you want to calculate the ADF (apparent degree of fermentation) also known as apparent attenuation.  To calculate this, subtract the FG in points from the OG in points, then divide by the OG in points to get a percentage.

For example, a beer that starts at 1.050 and finishes at 1.015 has an ADF of (50-15)/50=.70 or 70%.  Whether that makes sense or not depends on the yeast, mashing temp, and ingredients in the beer.  If you post your recipe, OG, and FG we can help you figure it out.

+1 - except in a few instances there really isn't a good reason to secondary most beers. In fact, I started leaving my kolsch on the primary yeast and lagering it at 32 degrees in the primary for 2 weeks and, when I transfer to the keg, the beer is crystal clear. That said, if you do decide you want to secondary the main thing to remember is not to move the beer off the primary yeast until fermentation is finished. If you ever run into a stalled fermentation the yeast on the bottom of the fermenter will be very helpful in restarting fermentation.
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner