Author Topic: How to rack to secondary?  (Read 1995 times)

Offline Rob

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How to rack to secondary?
« on: November 24, 2010, 02:48:46 AM »
Fisrt time brew noob here.  Been reading a lot and learned a lot.  Actually brewed with the help from someone and I am trying to make sure I understand all the steps to finish.  I currently have a Brewer's Best HopNog fermenting.  Day 3.  The directions call for a secondary with dry hops.  I have read a lot of threads regarding the use of a secondary and possiblility of contamination and oxidation.  My question is how to best get from the fermentation bucket to the secondary, and how do I strain?

My fermentation bucket is a bucket with a spigot.  My secondary is a glass carboy.  My thought was to attach a hose to the spigot and drain through a fine mesh strainer and funnel with a hose attached to the funnel and laying at the bottom of the carboy.  How do you guys do it?  Just let it drop from the funnel into the carboy?  Don't bother straining?

Thanks For your help.  Rob.

Offline oscarvan

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Re: How to rack to secondary?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2010, 03:05:43 AM »
Almost everyone here knows more than I do. That said, the trick to avoiding infection, which is the primary risk associated with racking, is to minimize the amount of equipment, and air exposure. Also, I was told that the spigot on most brew buckets is too low, and that dead yeast will work it's way out.....

Soooooo, if I were to do this, I would take my autosiphon, sanitize the crap out of it and the carboy, and then use it to transfer gently down to a safe distance above the undesirable layer in the bottom of your fermenter.

But I'm still a noob too, so I am prepared to be set straight.
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Offline tygo

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Re: How to rack to secondary?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2010, 03:37:59 AM »
Considering this is your first brew I think the most stress free approach would be to let it finish completely fermenting in the bucket.  Depending on the OG that might take between 5-10 days.  Let's call it at least 7.  Then throw the dry hops into the bucket and ignore the instructions to transfer it.  Let that sit 7-14 days and then bottle it.
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: How to rack to secondary?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2010, 05:46:05 PM »
I think I'd avoid the mesh strainer; that can whip oxygen into the beer.  Tilt the bucket gently away from the spigot if you are picking up too much cruft.  Or just use the hose directly into the bucket without bothering with the spigot.

Do you have a CO2 tank?  If so, blow CO2 into your carboy before you fill it.  This will help it keep from being oxidized.  Be careful -- carboys can't take much pressure, so don't do this closed.  CO2 is heavier than air, so will displace the air.

Yes, the end of the hose should be in the bottom of the carboy.  Minimize splashing.

If you don't have a way to get CO2 into the secondary, then transfer it while it is still fermenting.  This will help scavenge oxygen in the carboy.

A layer of dry hops will help keep the oxygen away from the beer somewhat, but a CO2 blanket is best.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: How to rack to secondary?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2010, 06:15:20 PM »
If you don't have a way to get CO2 into the secondary, then transfer it while it is still fermenting.  This will help scavenge oxygen in the carboy.

Gordon,

While I don't disagree with this advice, I'd consider this an advanced technique. It can easily happen that too little yeast is carried over into the secondary and that the fermentation either stalls or slows down significantly before the beer is properly fermented leaving residual sugars and possibly young beer flavor/aroma.

Rob,

Waiting until the beer is completely fermented and then draining through the spigot into the secondary before adding the hops should be fine. That's what I used to do.

Kai

Offline wakenick

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Re: How to rack to secondary?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2010, 03:45:18 AM »
Not trying to take this too far off topic but I'm having an issue with an "off" taste being present in the last 3 or 4 of my homebrews and I'm wondering if my racking to a secondary is the culprit. What is the effect of "dead yeast" or too much oxidation on the taste of your beer? I feel like I'm following directions (sanitizing, using the siphon, limiting light and air, etc.) but maybe I'm doing something that is causing this weird detracting flavor/quality to all of my homebrews. Hopefully responses to this reply will contribute to Rob'ss question/concern.

Offline Rob

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Re: How to rack to secondary?
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2010, 12:18:03 PM »
Thanks for the replies.  I don't have CO2, unless one of my old painball tanks has some, but then I would be concerned contamination. I guess I could sanitize the paintball air line.
From your replies and further searching, I see that straining is not a good idea.  I like the idea of not doing a secondary, but what about the dry hopping?  I am gonna search for more info on dry hopping.

As for siphoning, do I let the auto siphon rest on bottom or should I keep up a little?  Sorry for the nit picky questions.  I have read a lot and learned a lot about the process, but sometimes get obsessive about the details.

Thanks, Rob.

Offline tygo

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Re: How to rack to secondary?
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2010, 01:12:13 PM »
If you have one of those clips that can hold the autosiphon a little off the bottom that will help keep the sediment from being transferred but if not just let it rest on the bottom.  It has a little cap which keeps it up a little anyway.

If you want to dry hop in the primary put the hops in a nylon hop sack and hang them into the bucket. 
Clint
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