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Secondary Fermenting Ales

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Trough Lolly

"Drink, Feck, Arse, Girls"!
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I have inadvertantly started a bit of a forum war over in the US... :p

I asked an innocent question as to why people cold condition ales as part of secondary fermentation - I thought that the fridge at about 6 to 8C would render an ale yeast dormant and it would certainly clarify the wort but not further condition it.
Many US brewers differ on whether or not secondary fermentation of ales, as opposed to lagers, is worth doing - especially cold conditioning.

The general consensus over there is that secondary fermentation of ales is a waste of time...

What do you think? :huh:
TL
 

JasonY

The Imperial Metric Brewery
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Don't know about all the strinct definitions ... but generally I ferment for 1 week then rack and leave another week (my secondary ferment) to ensure the yeast has attenuated the beer as far as it will go. After that it is into a keg it goes and then into the fridge for as long as I can bear ....

Agree that it is unlikely the yeast is doing anything at these temps.

The time in the fridge definately clears the beer and the flavour improves to a point (balance of hop bitterness/aroma). Wether this is just the yeast settling and causing the flavour to change or some more complex chemical process ... well it doesn't really matter.
 

Murray

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I haven't noticed any real change in flavour between room temp conditioning and cold conditioning (two weeks). Clarity markedly improves. I have noticed a definite flavour improvement over bottling from the primary. I doubt conditioning of ales qualifies as secondary fermentation.

Edit: I ferment for two weeks before racking and conditioning.
 

Trough Lolly

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JasonY/Murray,
Thanks for the feedback - yeah, I always secondary ferment all my brews - and I cold condition the Lagers in secondary without fail. I just had a brainfart one morning and asked myself, why am I lugging 23L of ale wort up a flight of stairs from my cellar to put in a bloody fridge!
I figured that the ale would clarify just fine on a bench in the cellar, racked into a 2ndry fermenter and left for a couple of weeks at 18C.
Cheers,
TL
P.S. The entry to the cellar is too small to allow a fridge through :(
 

JasonY

The Imperial Metric Brewery
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wow you have a cellar, now that would be a great thing!
 

Trough Lolly

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Yeah! And I didn't know it existed until after we bought the place!! I thought it was a dingy old storeroom until I found the light switch!!
It's great having a sub surface room that stays at 18C all year round :p
Cheers,
TL
 

deebee

The Bludgeon Brewery
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I keep samples of ale yeast in stubbies in the frig and even at a few degrees above zero the ale yeasts still have a slow and gentle chew at the ferementables in the sample. Every so often I will release the pressure to prevent bombs.

So there is some (tho minimal) activity of ale yeasts at very low temps.
 

wiggins

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I,ve found the perfect cellar in my house,the food pantry.After having 50 dollars worth of damage done to my packs of rice and uht milk by mice,i took everything bar the tinned food out of the pantry,leaving enough shelf space for around 7 brews of 50 stubbies.It is always relatively cool in there,so i reckon it will be ideal for conditioningand secondary fermentation of my brews. :p
 

KoNG

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Trough Lolly said:
The general consensus over there is that secondary fermentation of ales is a waste of time...

What do you think? :huh:
TL
[post="18651"][/post]​
I always rack my ales to secondary (cube) for atleast 2 or 3 days (usually 5-7), even after this short amount of time a decent amount of trub is evident in the secondary cube after bottling :unsure: .
To me this says that some cleaning up of the wort has still occured and is therefore a worthwhile process if you have the time and patience.
i think its only a waste of time if you dont have the time :huh: ... i definately note the difference in the Glass... B)
 

Samwise Gamgee

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I always secondary my ales as a matter of course. Mainly just for clarification reasons and to ensure it has fermented as much as it can/will.
 

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