Secondary Fermentation

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Hey there,

I'm newish to this brewing thing, coopers kit, a few down.. wanting to improve my brews.

Secondary fermentation, and racking to another fermenter for the purpose of,

what does it do for your beer?

when should you do it?

does the secondary fermenter have to be anything special? or just the same as the original etc?

Thanks in advance guys, Steve...
<_< Secondary fermentation will give you a much clearer finish and a lot less sediment in the bottle. It also lessens the chance of infection from spent and dead yeast cells sitting at the bottom of the fermenter.
I always rack from the 1st fermenter 4 days after brewing and I leave the brew in the 2nd fermenter for a week or more if I want. :eek: I just keep it sealed.
Take off airlock and run approx 100ml into a glass.( that will get rid of any sediment trapped in the tap).
I use a sterelized plastic hose that fits neatly into the fermenter tap and long enough to curl and sit on the bottom of the 2nd fermenter. be carefull it doesnt splash too much at first until the level is enough to cover end of hose. stop running off when beer starts to show signs of sediment.
Put on sterelized lid and air lock...leave until your ready to bottle(or keg in my case)
Try will be surprised at the difference
Cheers :chug:
sounds good :)

can i just use another fermenter (the coopers kits are on sale down here.. and for the price... :) )
;) You can buy the fermenter at any Home Brew dont have to buy the kit again..It pays to have a few on hand anyway....My wife likes to drink apple cider... :angry: I use my older fermenters to brew the stuff. <_< I keep my newer ones for brewing the good stuff :D

Cheers :)

Racking also allows you to dry hop.

Refer to the topic titled racking for info on dry hoping.
JWB: i might do that.. the K-mart here had the kits on sale for $50.. and i wanted 90% of the stuff in it.. its a cheap way to buy :)

sadly they have gone back up.. so i wont be doing that..

ive got a few brews aging at the moment (tried my first brew last night :) ) bit cidery, but still drinkable..

so im going to invest in some more equipment and expertise :)

The cidery taste / green apple smell is usually associated with Autolysis.

This is where the wort is left on the the dead yeast cells too long. The live yeast runs out of sugar and starts eating the dead yeast cells producing off flavours and smells.
Also, could be attributed to too high yeast temp.

Racking stops the Autolysis.
Here is some info i sent to someonelse ref racking etc...

what i do now is:
brew for 5-7 days at yeast temp.
rack to second fermenter for two weeks - normal yeast temp.
place fermenter in fridge for 3 days - approx 5 degrees Celcius.
bottled while still cold.
bottle condition for 2 weeks min...( i usually place the bottled beer on a heater pad for the fist 3 days after bottling - in winter)

if it is hot, i place the brew/fermenter in the laundry trough filled with cold water, helps stabilise it..can add ice blocks to regulate temp as well.

Then drink and enjoy.

I also use PET Bottles...600ml and 1.25 ltrs bottles..add 1 teaspoon and two teaspoons of sugar respectively for bottle conditioning but i do 12 stubbies of each brew for long term/competions etc...

Happy brewing.

I have to disagree with you there. Autolysis really only becomes a noticable problem after the primary has been sitting on the yeast for well over two weeks, usually over three. The flavour you would expect is a rank vegemite taste and odour - immediately recognisable and in my opinion, undrinkable. The cidery/apple flavours GSR are referring to would be from the use of white sugar in the brew or, as you mentioned, high brewing temps. Some bacterial infections may also produce this flavour.

Cheers - Snow :rolleyes:
B) Yep your right GMK. the use of white sugar is a no no in my opinion :eek: .If you want a clean tasting beer (and dont we all) use dextrose or all malt and brew at the lowest temp range for the yeast your using.
For most dry yeasts I brew at 22C . :rolleyes: pitching the yeast into a hotter than 24C wort will produce a pronounced cider taste.

Cheers :chug:
I used the CSR brewing sugar that the kit suggested,

it was in the fermenter for 6 days before bottling, at 23-24 deg (it sits half in a water bath, and 23 is about the minimum i can keep it to, so i use an aquarium heater in the water bath to stop it from dropping lower and to stay stable..

the wort was at around 27 deg when i pitched the yeast however, and took nearly 12 hours to come down.

it also had poor head retention.. but the carbonation seemed fine, maybe slightly on the flat side... ever so slightly..

since ive got a few aging i can afford to setup properly for the next brew i do.

basicly im looking at the following deviations from the standard instructions.

1. making a yeast starter (or perhaps culturing some yeast out of a bottle of coopers (im going to do this anyway.. for a laugh))

2. Racking to a secondary fermenter (after 5 days?)

3. trying to get the temp down into the 20-22 range

4. bulk priming.

5. and of course, using DME or a DME/dex combo..

any thoughts?

I have posted a spread sheat of recipees in another topic if you want to download them and try them.

It lists some with malt, hops grains etc.

You should find something there.
GMK: im hoping to come to terms with new techniques before i try going too wild :)

im hoping the new bits will be a significant improvement alone :)

BTW i notice you are a canberran also :)

I think you just have to remember one thing.

Beer is made from



It's the likes of Carlton and Lion Nathan that fill our national drink with non-malt sugars, corn and rice. And I think the quality of comercial beer speaks volumes about that!

I'm not against experimentation but I think that old standard sentence in beer kits

"Add 1kg of sugar"

is what has given HB such a bad name in the past. I won't even touch dextrose (apart from priming), but I'll admit to adding a little Malto-Dextrin from time to time.

Cane sugar is for cornflakes......

IMHO ;-)
well i racked my canadian blonde into the secondary fermenter last night, i also got some LME and a bag o sugar replacement stuff (the names of stuff escape me at the moment.. ) for my next coopers lager..

now, should i use the packet yeast.. or try to cultivate a yeast from a bottle of coopers?
anyway, i racked 4 days ago now...

and its started bubbling through the air-lock again... is this normal? or is something wrong?

not furiously or anything.. just once every 20min to an hour i guess..
;) Just check the gravity of the beer. Dont worry about bubbling through the air lock. A gravity less than 1010 is fine to bottle.
Secondary fermenting produces smoother, cleaner beer free of yeast haze.

Let your beer stay in the primary fermenter two weeks. The first week the ferment happens, the second a lot of yeast drops out and cleans your beer.

You must "rack" the beer using a plastic tube or hose, no splashing to be allowed. This is most important! Equally important, your racking hose must be well sanitised!

After the two weeks, attach the racking hose to the tap of the primary fermenter and the other end of the hose to be attached to either the tap of the secondary fermenter or, easier, going through the bung hole and resting on the bottom of the secondary fermenter. Turn the tap on slowly, then as the end of the racking hose is covered by beer you can turn the tap on a bit more. No splashing of the beer though.

The secondary fermenter must be a foodgrade 22L container so when your beer has been all racked into it there is very little airspace or ullage. The air in the oxygen will spoil the beer so ullage must be minimised.

Chuck the secondary into a fridge set to .5C and leave it there 2 weeks for a kit beer. The very cold temp "lagers" your beer so your ales and lagers are cleaner. The low temp also causes more yeast to drop out, which is good.

While it is in secondary you can indeed dryhop ales. Use whole or plug hops for this, good quality hops like Fuggles or Goldings, etc

When racking the beer back into your main fermenter (now being used as a bottling bucket) you can bulk prime your beer, preferably using about 1/2 cup of wheat dried malt extract dissolved into 1/2 cup water.

With 2 secondaries you can have 3 beers on the go

Tom Smit
I'm new to racking and am getting a bit confused! Do most of you rack to a second fermenter or do you rack to a 22 litre bucket as "Jovial" describes?

I'm going to keep experimenting but don't want to end up with a bad batch of beer. :unsure:

I leave my beer in primary for 2 weeks.

then rack to one of those cubical shaped foodgrade jerrycans that holds 20L (really, can fit a 22l beer in there OK)

that goes in the fridge, for my (all grain) brews i leave it in the fridge for one to 4 months, depending on strength and style

Jovial Monk
I do as Tom ( Jovial Monk ) is telling you to do?
You cant go wrong


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