Author Topic: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy  (Read 2156 times)

Offline jth138

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Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« on: January 09, 2011, 12:03:49 PM »
hello,


     i am going to be brewing my first batch very soon, so i am trying to ask as many questions as i can.   any answers/ help is greatly appreciated.


i purchased a beer started kit from my local brew shop, and it came with a 6 gallon carboy and a 5 gallon carboy.


my question is:   should i use the 6 gallon as my primary fermentor with a blow off hose, then after about a week siphon into the 5 gallon carboy and use the airlock? 


thanks

Offline tygo

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Re: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2011, 12:08:05 PM »
Yes, you should use the 6 gallon carboy as your fermenter.  A blow-off tube isn't strictly necessary but keep it handy if it looks like it's going to blow.  Or just put it on from the beginning if that makes you feel safer.

There's really no need to do a secondary at all in a lot (some will say most) cases.  So for the first one allow it to complete fermentation in the 6 gallon carboy then let it set for another week or two to clear and then bottle.
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline jth138

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Re: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2011, 12:25:22 PM »
thank you! 

now if i make a 5 gallon batch in a 6 gallon carboy,  is there a problem with having too much head space? or will that not cause a problem? 

also would the blow off hose be more useful if using the 5 gallon carboy as a fermentor? just in case of blow off?

thank you

Offline tygo

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Re: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2011, 12:27:57 PM »
No problem with the additional headspace.  The fermentation will fill it up with CO2 in short order. 

If you're doing a five gallon batch in a five gallon carboy then you're going to need the blowoff tube for sure.
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline jth138

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Re: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2011, 01:03:13 PM »
thank you again.


          any other suggestions or recommended brews to start out with?  thanks

Offline tygo

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Re: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2011, 01:10:44 PM »
If you don't already have it I recommend getting a copy of How to Brew by John Palmer.  The first edition is available free online:

www.howtobrew.com

The third edition is in print and is a good reference book.  I've got my copy sitting open in front on me right now as a matter of fact.

For your first brew do an ale.  Some style that you know you like to drink.  A stout is pretty forgiving.  Or an English or American pale ale.  Do your best to keep the fermentation temperature in the low to mid-60's.  Use a good dry yeast to start to keep things simple.

Welcome to the hobby!
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline jth138

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Re: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2011, 03:10:58 PM »
i picked up How To Brew by John Palmer, and Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher.   

i have read quite a bit of How To Brew, it is extremely informative, but i like to check all my resources just to make sure what i read / understand is right. 

i think my first few batches i do i will bottle, but after that i would like to convert my mini fridge into a kegerator and start using Cornelius Kegs.

thanks again for the advice!

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 06:19:04 AM »
Three things to remember.  First, when an airlock quits bubbling theres still work being done in the primary, don't rack for several days after the end of bubbling.  Second, fermentation temperature is critical to making good beer.  Don't start off at 70F+, the heat of fermentation raises the temp another 4F or more and you end up with a winey beer.  Third pitch enough yeast.  Use the Mr Malty web calculator to figure that out.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline euge

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Re: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 01:00:51 PM »
Welcome!

These are great questions from a prospective brewer. Usually we get them after the process is underway and the neophyte brewer is totally confused and worried.  :-\

Take notes. Brew often. This is an endeavor where there are many variables. One aspect to pay particular attention to is fermentation temp. Get this under control from the get-go and you'll have better results. Ales typically ferment in the mid to upper 60's. If your room temp is 65F and the beer is busily bubbling away- the actual fermentation temp will be up in the low 70's. This might not lead to bad results but compensation for the variance will improve your beer. Usually there's a 6-8 degree variance during the attenuative phase of fermentation.

As far as a secondary vessel it is a tool to be used. Most experienced homebrewers forgo the practice of "secondary" unless dry-hopping or adding more fermentables such as fruit. If you have a low floccing yeast then it can be used to help clear the beer.

Primary fermentation lasts as long as it takes. It is unwise to adhere blindly to recipe instructions in regard to primary fermentation times. This is where experience will come into play. Usually, for most low to mid strength ales the visible or attenuative phase will be over after three days. Fermentation hasn't ended but the bulk of it has. Wise to leave the beer on the yeast for a few more days on up to 14 in total. This may vary.

Try listening to this particular show: http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/membersarchive/bs_bottling032210.mp3 There is a wealth of info here that will serve you well.

Good luck and welcome to the obsession.

 
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Offline jth138

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Re: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 07:00:46 AM »
thanks a lot for all of the information.   how do you control the temp while the beer is fermenting?  my house is usually around 62 while my wife and i are at work.

then once home it goes to 66-69 sometimes depending upon the weather.    also when the summers get up around 90 and i do not have a basement.  is there a trick to keeping it at more of a constant temp?   


thanks

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Re: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2011, 07:14:19 AM »
62 degrees ambient temp i good for most ales. You don't want ambient temps much warmer than this however. A stick on "Fermometer" is actually very accurate at telling you what temp the beer is fermenting (at high krausen as much as 4-6 degrees over ambient). A swamp cooler, in which you immerse the fermenter in a volume of water and rotate out frozen water bottles, works fairly well - but is you get serious about brewing you will buy a spare fridge or freezer with a Johnson or Ranco external thermostat to regulate temps more accurately.
Keith Y.

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Offline jth138

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Re: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2011, 08:56:14 AM »
i have a mini fridge that i use for beer, i don't actually need to use it though.  do you suggest i put the carboy in the fridge and just keep the thermostat up or turn the fridge off? 

of course it does not have a Johnson or Ranco external thermostat

Offline tygo

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Re: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2011, 09:01:19 AM »
i have a mini fridge that i use for beer, i don't actually need to use it though.  do you suggest i put the carboy in the fridge and just keep the thermostat up or turn the fridge off? 

of course it does not have a Johnson or Ranco external thermostat

Without a temperature controller fridge temps, even the on the warmest setting, are probably going to be too cold for primary fermentation.
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline jth138

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Re: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2011, 09:32:32 AM »
ok, what about using it for Lagering ?  i know some people use keezers,  but can you use a dedicated mini fridge for the Lagering process?

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Re: Primary carboy and Secondary carboy
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2011, 09:33:44 AM »
If it can maintain a 35-40F temp, it would work fine.
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