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Secondary Fermentation...

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mistat

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Hello all, 8 days ago I put together my second brew in months, and probably my 5th brew in the last 8 years! I'm slowly getting back into something I've always wanted to do, and thats brew my own beer and to be proud of the outcome!

This time I've used a Muntons Blonde Lager Can, Black Rock Amber Liquid Malt, 15g Brewcraft Finishing Hop Cluster, and US05 Safale Yeast in an effort to make a "James Squires Amber Ale" like brew. The OG was 1.053, and the colour was a lovely amber hue, so I'm hoping this brew will be quite tastey!

As im nearing the end of primary fermentation, I've wondered if I should transfer the beer into another container for secondary fermentation. Do you think that the quailty of the beer improves when allowed to rest for a further week or so?

How long should I leave the beer in the secondary fermenter?

And does the beer need to be chilled for secondary fermentation? I've heard of people putting it into their fridge for this process, but alas I dont have the room. For the primary fermentation process, the fermenter sat in my laundry trough, surrounded by water to maintain an approximate 22 degree temp (+ or - 3 degrees on cool nights warm days). Would this be a suitable solution for secondary fermentation?

Finally, I will be bottle conditioning the beer in standard PET bottles, and the little dextrose pills. Will there be sufficient yeast for my beer to carbonate still?



Cheers!
 

DUANNE

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personnaly i wouldnt bother with the secondary at all. it is a great way to introduce infection and oxygen but very little else. just leave the beer in the primary for an extra week or two and all the yeast will settle out to the bottom anyway and will also continue to clean the beer up in the meantime as well. if possible it is best to keep it cool as possible but it should be okay either way, and you will still have more than enough yeast for bottle conditioning however you go about it.
 

mwd

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To be pedantic what you are describing is not a secondary fermentation but just cold conditioning in a second fermenter.
I have only done it twice and once got a nice infection aceobactor so I am with Beerhog keep it simple and just condition in your primary much safer.

Secondary fermentation involves racking to a second container with sugars/malt so that the yeast continues to ferment in the secondary vessel.
 

Wolfy

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Leaving your beer on the yeast can help it clean up any off-flavours and other byproducts that can be formed at the start of fermentation.
However, it does not have to be transferred into a 'secondary' fermentor, so I'd leave it in the 'primary' for a few days more longer before chilling it (if you have a fridge to encourage the yeast to settle out).
 

manticle

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Hello all, 8 days ago I put together my second brew in months, and probably my 5th brew in the last 8 years! I'm slowly getting back into something I've always wanted to do, and thats brew my own beer and to be proud of the outcome!

This time I've used a Muntons Blonde Lager Can, Black Rock Amber Liquid Malt, 15g Brewcraft Finishing Hop Cluster, and US05 Safale Yeast in an effort to make a "James Squires Amber Ale" like brew. The OG was 1.053, and the colour was a lovely amber hue, so I'm hoping this brew will be quite tastey!

As im nearing the end of primary fermentation, I've wondered if I should transfer the beer into another container for secondary fermentation. Do you think that the quailty of the beer improves when allowed to rest for a further week or so?

How long should I leave the beer in the secondary fermenter?

And does the beer need to be chilled for secondary fermentation? I've heard of people putting it into their fridge for this process, but alas I dont have the room. For the primary fermentation process, the fermenter sat in my laundry trough, surrounded by water to maintain an approximate 22 degree temp (+ or - 3 degrees on cool nights warm days). Would this be a suitable solution for secondary fermentation?

Finally, I will be bottle conditioning the beer in standard PET bottles, and the little dextrose pills. Will there be sufficient yeast for my beer to carbonate still?



Cheers!
Hi mate,

There are a few things to consider but I'll give you my opinion which is based on my reading and my experience.

This is a rough, simplified explanation.

Firstly you can think of fermentation in three stages. Primary (or active fermentation) when the yeast grows then eats the available sugar and produces alcohol, carbon dioxide and other byproducts.

Secondary fermentation, whereby while the sugar has been eaten and alcohol produced, the yeast will still reabsorb some of the byproducts they have produced if given a chance. Eating sugar is only one job. This helps 'clean up' the flavour of the finished beer.

Conditioning, during which yeast starts to drop out of solution, leaving a cleaner, clearer, tastier beer.

All of these phases have overlap.

I recommend finishing primary (so you are at your expected finishing gravity), leaving the beer at the fermentation temperature (hopefully not too hot - no higher than 22 for an ale, lower preferred) for another 5-7 days then chilling for a further 3-7 days. You will cover all these stages, all things being equal, and your beer will benefit.

You can do all that in the same vessel. You can also rack/transfer at any time to a secondary vessel or fermenter but this is not equal to secondary fermentation necessarily.

If you transfer to another vessel, you have various risks and various benefits associated.

Pros: Gets the beer off the yeast and reduces the risk of autolysis (caused by dead yeast being consumed by live yeast and results in flavours like meat and/or vegemite)
Helps clarify the final beer

Cons: Possible risk of oxidation and infection (small if your processes are good).
Extra equipment and time.
If removed from the bulk of the yeast too early, the beer will not be able undergo its secondary 'cleaning' phase effectively and you may end up with unpleasant flavours in the beer.

Summary: The two most important factors in both the pros and cons sections are the effect on flavour. Yeast in solution, byproducts in the beer and autolysis all effect flavour. However, in my experience (and anecdotal evidence from others) an extra week on the yeast at ferment temps followed by an extra week in the cold will drop yeast out, will clean up byproducts and will NOT result in autolytic flavours. This is my preferred regime. I used to rack all beers to another vessel 3/4 through ferment so I have experience of both methods. Plenty of yeast left to carbonate either way.

Unless I wish to age beer for a significant amount of time (months or years), I now only rack to bulk prime. Different story (although yeast sediment is reduced).

Hope that helps.
 

Diggs

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Hey Manticle, when you do you conditioning phase at colder temps - what temps do you mean?
I have a porter that I want to do this with, fermenting at 18c currently.
 

Bribie G

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Cold conditioning is ideally done at -1 C and it won't freeze your beer as the alcohol acts as an anti freeze.
I've got a kegmate fridge as sold by a sponsor that gets down to that temperature, but if you have a good cold domestic style fridge you can usually count on 2 - 3 degrees that will get you there as well.

As discussed above, this is not secondary fermentation, it's really a brutal kick in the head to any surviving yeast and proteins and goop still in suspension in the beer to get it to sink out and take their off-flavours with them, and also to clear up the beer. I can achieve beer that's 99% identical to filtered bright beer.

At this stage you can add clearing agents such as gelatine and then after a couple of days, add Polyclar if needed to remove chill haze.
The advantage of treating and clearing the beer in a second vessel is that you can leave the small amount of crap behind and basically keg clear beer, then enjoy bright beer a couple of days later as the even more minute amount of shyte rains down to the bottom of the keg, often just forming an insignificant film. You also get better use of your expensive keg real estate in there.

This was kegged on Wednesday. (Irish Red) and was actually only pitched 13 days ago.

:)


irish_red_babbs__Large_.jpg
 

manticle

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Anything between about 0-4 with colder being better.

You can cool condition at 10 which will be better than conditioning at 18 so it depends on your equipment but basically I would keep beer at the same temp at which I would keep milk.
 

Diggs

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Anything between about 0-4 with colder being better.

You can cool condition at 10 which will be better than conditioning at 18 so it depends on your equipment but basically I would keep beer at the same temp at which I would keep milk.
Thanks for the info - and Bribie as well, I can do 2-3c so will give it a shot.Sorry for the thread hijack! :)
 

mistat

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Thanks for the many knowledge rich replies. I now have a better understanding of the process. My last question is that if I leave the fermented beer in the fermenter a week or so after fermentation has completed, given I have hops in a hops bag (like a tea bag) floating in there will that impact the end flavor at all? Should I attempt to fish it out?
Cheers!
 

mwd

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When did you put the hop teabag in? Some hop types can leave a grassy type of taste if left too long but I think you will be reasonably safe left for a week. Just fish out at bottling time. If you just threw the hops in cold as dry hops there will not be a major flavour should mostly be aroma.
 

mistat

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I boiled them in some water for 10min before dropping them and the water into the fermenter. I gave it a good mix with the spoon and the added the yeast. This was performed as per the instructions with the kit.
 

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