Author Topic: The final word on a secondary fermentation  (Read 6570 times)

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3168
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: The final word on a secondary fermentation
« Reply #45 on: November 22, 2010, 05:32:47 PM »
Personally, I do not get bright beautiful beer unless I secondary, cold crash, and lager; or use a post-fermentation fining agent.

Have you tried cold-crashing in the primary? That's my SOP and with the exception of a few notoriously dusty strains I get clear beer from the keg immediately.

It's also the process most brewpubs use, although there you have the additional variable of filtration.
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
http://seanterrill.com/category/brewing/

Offline maxieboy

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1155
  • Mid MI
    • View Profile
Re: The final word on a secondary fermentation
« Reply #46 on: November 22, 2010, 05:38:03 PM »
I think it would be worth a test to see if you could achieve equally good results without the extra effort. If you did that and found that you didn't like the results, then you could go back to secondary.

Or you could take up knitting!  ;)
A dog can show you more honest affection with a flick of his tail than a man can gather through a lifetime of handshakes." Gene Hill

[47.7, 310.8] AR

AHA Member

Offline skyler

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 646
    • View Profile
    • Brewing After Law School
Re: The final word on a secondary fermentation
« Reply #47 on: November 23, 2010, 12:50:51 PM »

Have you tried cold-crashing in the primary? That's my SOP and with the exception of a few notoriously dusty strains I get clear beer from the keg immediately.

It's also the process most brewpubs use, although there you have the additional variable of filtration.

I cold crash 90% of my beers in primary before I rack them or keg them. Many brewpubs I have been to that don't filter their beer serve cloudy beer. The worst offender I can think of is Amnesia in Portland, OR - whose beers vary from unclear to extremely cloudy. I only find beers sufficiently clear at brewpubs who filter, use an English yeast, or have a substantial-enough system for a bright tank that puts out perfect clear beer.

Offline Kaiser

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Imperial Brewing Geek
    • View Profile
    • braukaiser.com
Re: The final word on a secondary fermentation
« Reply #48 on: November 23, 2010, 01:19:33 PM »
Many brewpubs I have been to that don't filter their beer serve cloudy beer.

I think this is more the result of shortened beer production time than having the ability to move the beer through a bright tank. The less time it takes to make a beer the less tank capacity and thus capital is needed in a brewery. Being served a beer that is not supposed to be cloudy annoys me. Oftentimes this comes with a praise how much more wholesome a cloudy beer is over a clear one.

Using a “secondary” should not be the reason for clearer beer unless it makes stirring up sediment during transfer less likely. But that is mostly a function of the yeast’s flocculation characteristic and the amount of beer your are willing to leave behind.  The only aspect of a secondary/bright tank that I’m willing to debate is flavor changes causes by prolonged yeast contact.

But just like the discussion about decoction vs. infusion mashing or batch vs. fly sparging, whoever writes the last post has the final word until there is another post ;)

Kai

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3168
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: The final word on a secondary fermentation
« Reply #49 on: November 23, 2010, 02:08:46 PM »
My thoughts exactly, Kai.
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
http://seanterrill.com/category/brewing/

Offline rylo1984

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • we'llbeseeinya
    • View Profile
Re: The final word on a secondary fermentation
« Reply #50 on: January 11, 2011, 10:30:19 AM »
Personally, I do not get bright beautiful beer unless I secondary, cold crash, and lager; or use a post-fermentation fining agent.

Have you tried cold-crashing in the primary? That's my SOP and with the exception of a few notoriously dusty strains I get clear beer from the keg immediately.

It's also the process most brewpubs use, although there you have the additional variable of filtration.

Hello all,

I am still fairly new to brewing and was wondering what is cold-crashing?  Currently, I am letting my beers ferment in the primary for ~7 days and then transferring to a secondary, where after about 2-3 weeks I keg it and put it in the fridge. 

Assuming you use a secondary, is 2-3 weeks in the secondary a good length of time in general for the beer to sit at cellar temperatures before kegging and refrigerating?

To get even clearer beer, should I put my secondary in the fridge for ~1 week just before kegging?  Is this what is meant by cold-crashing?

Thanks again for the help.

/RyLO

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8131
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: The final word on a secondary fermentation
« Reply #51 on: January 11, 2011, 10:36:16 AM »
Personally, I do not get bright beautiful beer unless I secondary, cold crash, and lager; or use a post-fermentation fining agent.

Have you tried cold-crashing in the primary? That's my SOP and with the exception of a few notoriously dusty strains I get clear beer from the keg immediately.

It's also the process most brewpubs use, although there you have the additional variable of filtration.

Hello all,

I am still fairly new to brewing and was wondering what is cold-crashing?  Currently, I am letting my beers ferment in the primary for ~7 days and then transferring to a secondary, where after about 2-3 weeks I keg it and put it in the fridge. 

Assuming you use a secondary, is 2-3 weeks in the secondary a good length of time in general for the beer to sit at cellar temperatures before kegging and refrigerating?

To get even clearer beer, should I put my secondary in the fridge for ~1 week just before kegging?  Is this what is meant by cold-crashing?

Thanks again for the help.

/RyLO
Cold crashing is rapidly dropping the temp of the beer, it typically helps sediment yeast and proteins.

If you are racking to secondary based on a timeline instead of fermentation, you'll eventually have a batch that isn't quite right.  Leave the beer in primary until it is done (or very nearly done) fermenting.

I don't do a secondary for most of my beers.  It stays in primary until it is finished, crash cooled, then kegged (sometimes kegged and then crash cooled).
Tom Schmidlin

Offline tomsawyer

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1684
    • View Profile
Re: The final word on a secondary fermentation
« Reply #52 on: January 11, 2011, 12:02:42 PM »
I've found that many more brewers have problems caused by a secondary than have received benefits from one.  One of the most frequent problems I encounter from newer brewers is beer transferred too soon and left with off flavors that the yeast most probably would have removed.  In addition, contamination induced during the transfer or slight souring caused by oxygen introduction that allows acetobacter metabolism seems to be another frequent problem that might have been avoided without a secondary.

This is my experience as well.  You would think the suspended yeast that is transferred would be enough to clean things up but apparently not.  It must be that the cake, even while its sitting on the bottom of the fermentor, is still metabolizing these compounds at a far greater ate than the suspended yeast.  Could be that the suspended "stragglers" are not as strong and the most active yeast drops promptly.  Its kind of surprising considering the relative surface area of a yeast cake versus suspended yeast.

I think its odd to do a secondary and then bottle.  Bottle conditioning just causes a new bloom of suspended yeast, undoing the week(s) of attempting to clear the beer.  Plus you might have to add bottling yeast which iwould have been there to begin with if you';d bottled after primary.  Bottled beer is its own secondary in my opinion.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3168
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: The final word on a secondary fermentation
« Reply #53 on: January 11, 2011, 04:55:53 PM »
I think its odd to do a secondary and then bottle.

I also think that it's odd to do a secondary and then keg. Kegged beer is its own secondary in my opinion.  ;)
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
http://seanterrill.com/category/brewing/

Offline tomsawyer

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1684
    • View Profile
Re: The final word on a secondary fermentation
« Reply #54 on: January 11, 2011, 06:22:00 PM »
At least with kegging you aren't feeding the yeast and causing more suspended yeast in your previously clarified beer.  But yes a keg is a convenient secondary.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8131
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: The final word on a secondary fermentation
« Reply #55 on: January 11, 2011, 11:06:14 PM »
At least with kegging you aren't feeding the yeast and causing more suspended yeast in your previously clarified beer.  But yes a keg is a convenient secondary.
Unless you prime the keg instead of force carbonating it ;)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline euge

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7229
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: The final word on a secondary fermentation
« Reply #56 on: January 11, 2011, 11:34:50 PM »
At least with kegging you aren't feeding the yeast and causing more suspended yeast in your previously clarified beer.  But yes a keg is a convenient secondary.
Unless you prime the keg instead of force carbonating it ;)

Yes it wouldn't make sense unless you combine the two processes.  ::)
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8131
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: The final word on a secondary fermentation
« Reply #57 on: January 11, 2011, 11:55:52 PM »
At least with kegging you aren't feeding the yeast and causing more suspended yeast in your previously clarified beer.  But yes a keg is a convenient secondary.
Unless you prime the keg instead of force carbonating it ;)

Yes it wouldn't make sense unless you combine the two processes.  ::)
I don't prime my kegs, but plenty of people do . . . whatever works for them :)
Tom Schmidlin