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How To Do A 2 Stage Ferment?

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Daveee

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Well I'm going to go and buy another fermenter and associated goodies from my home brew store tommorow.

Now I'm just wondering about the basics of 2 stage fermenting. Do you do it with every beer? When do you do it? How do you do it? Why should I do it?

Also any bulk priming tips people?

I'm sure there must be some good websites out there with info on this!
 

PostModern

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It wouldn't take too much time to search these forums (or use our old friend google) for the answer to all of those fine and valid questions. But I'll put in my 2c on the topic.

Do you do it with every beer?

I rack to secondary about 99% of the time :)
Most experienced brewers will.

When do you do it?

That's a big question. Some have hard rules like "one week" or "when you're 75% of the way to FG" or "always after 2 days".

Personally when I rack depends on what I'm brewing (later for lagers and high gravity beers - up to 10 days, less for ales) and how busy I am in the rest of my life. Generally around 1 week is fine.

How do you do it?

Search the web if you want more detail. There are tons of guides.

But.... basically you get a hose (must be food grade) whose outer diameter matches the inner diameter of your tap. You put your full fermenter on a bench and your empty and sterilised fermenter on the floor close to the full one. You put your sterilised hose in the tap of the full fermenter and put it into the empty one with enough slack to let the beer run in circles around the fermenter rather than sloshing straight down and mixing with air. Once the yeast starts actively fermenting, don't want to add any more oxygen, so try to find a way to rack without making bubbles or sloshes. Practice with water if you need to :) (or better yet with diluted iodophor. You may as well sterilise the hose while you learn B)

Why should I do it?

It makes the beer taste better. One week in secondary is like 2 weeks in the bottle, in terms of the maturity of the beer. It conditions better when there is more beer in one place. There are a few things it helps to prevent, like autolysis, but don't be scared of that. That's just a weird thing that heaps of people freak about, but you need extraordinary circumstances to make happen.... anyway, two weeks in secondary is good because

1: clarity. You leave a lot of trub behind in the first fermenter that won't be in your bottles. You leave a second lot in the secondary when you rack to the bottling bucket too.

2: refinement. The yeast has time to clean up after itself and remove some off tastes from the beer.

Well, those are the big 2 really. Nicer tasting, clearer beer. Good enough reasons for me :)

Also any bulk priming tips people?

I've never been tipped by any bulk priming. :p /jk

Check out countrybrewer.com.au's FAQ for a quick primer on priming. There are plenty others. Basically you rack into the priming sugar then bottle. How much sugar? Depends on what you use. Sucrose (yuck) about 7g per litre. Dextrose, about 8-9g/l. LME 11g/l. Adjust according to style.
 

deebee

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A good place to look is the brewer's manual on www.grumpys.com.au
 

GSRman

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Also any bulk priming tips people?
"ALWAYS, ALWAYS make sure your bottling bucket holds more than your fermenter currently has... "
 

Snow

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Good response, Postmodern - I agree with everything you said. Only thing I can add is to consider investing in a racking cane (auto siphon tube) from your brewstore. It gives you better control in transfering yeast to secondary, and when you are racking to the bottling bucket for bulk priming, it allows you to rack from the top and minimise the amount of sediment you transfer.

Cheers - Snow.
 

PostModern

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GSRman said:
"ALWAYS, ALWAYS make sure your bottling bucket holds more than your fermenter currently has... "
I should have read that before I racked a doppelbock last night. *sigh* I have only 2 carboys atm, and a cube bottle for a bottling bucket. My plan was simple, rack the bock into the cube, toss the trub onto the compost heap (now there's a great use for trub!) sterlise the carboy then rack the beer back into it. Not a bad plan? Except that the bottling bucket is too small! I started the racking, then walked off to watch some TV only to come back to 2 litres of precious high alc beer all over the floor. Not happy, Jan :angry:
 

Trough Lolly

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Secondary fermentation also gives you the opportunity to do some dry hopping to get the aroma of your brew how you like it. B)

The discussion on what sort of hops to use when dry hopping (tea bags, pellets, plugs, flowers, etc) and which hops to use are discussion threads of their own, but, you can really improve the clarity, condition and aroma of a brew if you dry hop in a secondary fermenter, before racking to your bottling bucket.

I have a thing for Bavarian Lagers and will never do one without secondary fermentation and dry hopping!

Here is a good link for a quick read on secondary fermentation...

Cheers,

TL
 

GSRman

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postmodern: mine was done inside as the weather outside was frightful (isn't there a song about that?) so i put 2L of beautiful ready to bottle beer onto the carpet....
 

Daveee

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Thanks for all the replies guys! esp. PostModern.

Ok, so secondary fermentation sounds very good. In fact it should solve the biggest problem with my beer, sediment.

Is it ok to do my primary fermentation in a carboy, then rack it into another carboy, then wash the first one and use it for bottling?

Also is a racking cane, like a jiggle syphon? ie. one end has a funky fitting on it, and you put it in and jiggle it up and down for a minute and the beer starts flowing? (These are great for filling up cars from jerry cans!)
 

PostModern

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GSRMan, I should have known from the double "ALWAYS" that you'd actually done this. I just thought it was sound advice from a wise one with method in his mind. I don't feel so dumb now. Thanks for sharing. :) I actually spilt mine indoors too, but I brew in the kitchen for easy clean-up... luckily.

Daveee: Yes, you can use your carboy as a bottling bucket. The only downside is that the tap is generally a little higher in a carboy than a pail or cube, so it's a little more work getting the last few bottles out.

A racking cane is a hollow tube with a hole on the side, a few cm from the end that you attach to a siphoning hose. The cane draws the beer out leaving the trub undisturbed.

Another tip - always wash out your fermenters as soon as you take care of the beer. ie, your priorities are : 1. keep beer protected and in sterile equipment. 2. Keep your equipment clean and sterile even when not in use. 3. Clean your gear as soon as you're finished with it. 4. Eating, sleeping, drinking, sex etc. So rack your beer, seal it in the new fermenter, then straight away clean out the primary. It is sooo much easier to remove trub and krausen rings when they are fresh. Means you'll never have to scrub them and introduce little scratches for bacteria to lurk in.
 

GSRman

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post: yup.. sad thing really... it wouldn't have overflowed, except that i was used to bottling from the carbox and tilting it to get the last few litres... so i made up a chock to go under one side of the carboy.....

daveee: racking is the go... i bought a second coopers kit (cheap bottles and second fermenter) but ive since bought a 25L fermenter to give the beer a smaller head space in the secondary...
 

PostModern

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GSRMan, I owe you another one. I'm off to the HBS this Saturday and am going to grab another fermenter while I'm there. Ages ago I thought about a 25l in place of a 30l for the lower head-space reason. Nearly forgot as I was looking at the site I was thinking the 30l's are just a couple bucks more, may as well get a 30l... man! Too busy, um working, yes... that's what I'm doing... to think straight about brewing.
 

Trough Lolly

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I use 25L bins for all my primary and secondary fermentations...Why let the Oxygen stuff up a good brew - the only time I let rip with the oxygenation is when I pour in the wort to start off with and stir things up before pitching the yeast! :D

Daveee - If you plan on bulk priming the secondary before bottling, may I suggest you search for GMK's excellent article covering in line filtration - for 10 minutes of your time at Bunnings and less than $10, you can get a 5-star in line filter that takes care of hop sediment when you bulk prime the brew before bottling... ;)

Cheers,

TL
 

PostModern

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30 litre fermenters are really good for primary. They give you lots of head space to handle krausen without blowing out your airlock. Also, you can make bigger batches. During the first day of primary the whole headspace fills up with CO2 anyway.
Secondary fermentation is less vigorous, so a container with less headspace needs less CO2 to protect the beer.
 

Trough Lolly

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Yeah, good point about the headspace in Primary - watching your airlock turn into a steam exhaust whistle on a kettle is not a pretty sight :blink:

Cheers,

TL :D
 

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