Secondary fermentation ?

Reads 2801 • Replies 17 • Started Saturday, August 15, 2015 7:27:58 PM CT

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Senormac
beers 16 º places 2 º 19:27 Sat 8/15/2015

I’m pretty new to the homebrew scene but am having a blast with the extract kits I’ve purchased. I’ll be giving all grain a try soon ( I hope) Anyways, I just wanted to hear from some more experienced home brewers why you do a secondary fermenter? Does it help the flavor outcome ? I have enough carboys, so that is not a problem. Just wondering if its worth the trouble. Thanks for any replies. Cheers

 
SpringsLicker
beers 3919 º places 158 º 20:06 Sat 8/15/2015

For making a good drinkable beer, no it isn’t necessary. And a lot of homebrewers use a long primary and skip the secondary entirely. I use a secondary. Racking to secondary helps to clarify the beer. The difference between a good drinkable homebrew and homebrew that is better than what you can usually buy sometimes is doing a lot of little extra things that would be unprofitable commercially. It won’t hurt to experiment for yourself on different batches. Develop a system of brewing that works with your style and resources. Enjoy the hobby! If you can boil water, you can make good beer. and if you can read a thermometer, you can make great beer.

 
Senormac
beers 16 º places 2 º 22:19 Sat 8/15/2015

I would like clear beer. I’ve made 10 batches of cloudy already. I have heard that Irish moss is good for clarity but if one tablespoon per gallon is required..... they don’t give you enough for 5 gallons. I’m going to try and rack to a secondary after the bubbler goes down to a very slow rate, like one "bloop" per minute. Thx SL

 
erickok
beers 6033 º places 274 º 00:18 Sun 8/16/2015

Makes the beer clearer but in my brief experience also reduces the risk of off flavours. The first can be achieved also through additions of tablets and such, but I don’t like the idea of adding processed Shit to fine artisanal beer. You can also cool the beer in the end if you have left over fridge space. Or, got forbid, filter. But for me the secondary makes for a nice clean enough beer.

 
ekstedt
beers 7829 º places 346 º 03:45 Sun 8/16/2015

Sigh...racking to a new fermenter does not improve clarity, this old canard should have been buried a long time ago. The reasons for racking are:

1. You want yo re-use the yeast cake.
2. You are planning an extended aging before packaging
3. You want to add fruit, spices, dry hops etc.

3 is disputed, and also to some extent 2.

The disadvantages are added oxygen exposure and a small increase in the risk of an infection.

 
SpringsLicker
beers 3919 º places 158 º 07:35 Sun 8/16/2015

If your racking is exposing your beer to oxygen or risking infection, then your technique is wrong. I happen to bottle and keg so I have access to a CO2 tank. When I rack, I first purge the air from my cleaned, sanitized carboy that I’m racking into with CO2 from my tank. But in any case, if you can’t do that, the beer you are racking is super saturated with CO2 from the fermentation and if you rack gently, some of that CO2 will come out of solution from the siphoning action and off-gas in the secondary which will blanket the beer you are racking, protecting it from oxidation. Additionally, the beer is still fermenting the last little bit so it’s going to gas off some more CO2 in the secondary.
Irish Moss is made from a dried seaweed. Whirfloc tablets are an easier to use product that are made from the same seaweed. Again, I have used both and find the tablets easier to use. And I’ve forgotten them many times and still had great beer.
Racking doesn’t clarify the beer. Letting the yeast and other solids settle out does that. Racking gives you much less to have to settle out.
Are you getting a good hot and cold break in your boil and chilling? How floculant is the yeast strain you are using?

 
drowland
beers 11069 º places 430 º 08:35 Sun 8/16/2015

Originally posted by Senormac
I would like clear beer. I’ve made 10 batches of cloudy already. I have heard that Irish moss is good for clarity but if one tablespoon per gallon is required..... they don’t give you enough for 5 gallons. I’m going to try and rack to a secondary after the bubbler goes down to a very slow rate, like one "bloop" per minute. Thx SL



Irish moss is 1/2T to 1T per 5 gallons. Not 1T per gallon!

 
ekstedt
beers 7829 º places 346 º 09:04 Sun 8/16/2015

Originally posted by SpringsLicker
Racking gives you much less to have to settle out.


No it doesn’t, it moves the beer away from what has already settled out.

 
SpringsLicker
beers 3919 º places 158 º 09:19 Sun 8/16/2015

Originally posted by ekstedt
Originally posted by SpringsLicker
Racking gives you much less to have to settle out.


No it doesn’t, it moves the beer away from what has already settled out.


True, but even when it’s done carefully, some of what has settled out will be stirred back up by the racking. When you go from secondary to bottle or keg you should again leave behind almost all of what is left.
I was trying to determine if his cloudiness was due to particulate in suspension or a haze. Dry hopped beers can also be less than clear. Personally, hazy beer doesn’t bother me much unless it’s some competition beer that has a style guideline that faults it.
But he would like his beer to be clearer than it is and there are several things that he can do to improve beer clarity. Racking carefully to a secondary is one of them.

 
ekstedt
beers 7829 º places 346 º 09:29 Sun 8/16/2015

Originally posted by SpringsLicker
Originally posted by ekstedt
Originally posted by SpringsLicker
Racking gives you much less to have to settle out.


No it doesn’t, it moves the beer away from what has already settled out.


True, but even when it’s done carefully, some of what has settled out will be stirred back up by the racking.


Agreed, but this works in the opposite way, you will get more stuff to settle if you rack, so racking will - if anything - make the process somewhat slower. I think the effect is neglectable though. There is a good discussion about this in "Yeast", pp. 155-156.

There are many methods for improved beer clarity, and racking isn’t one of them.

 
SpringsLicker
beers 3919 º places 158 º 10:05 Sun 8/16/2015

Originally posted by ekstedt
Originally posted by SpringsLicker
Originally posted by ekstedt
Originally posted by SpringsLicker
Racking gives you much less to have to settle out.


No it doesn’t, it moves the beer away from what has already settled out.


True, but even when it’s done carefully, some of what has settled out will be stirred back up by the racking.


Agreed, but this works in the opposite way, you will get more stuff to settle if you rack, so racking will - if anything - make the process somewhat slower. I think the effect is neglectable though. There is a good discussion about this in "Yeast", pp. 155-156.

There are many methods for improved beer clarity, and racking isn’t one of them.


Whether or not racking is effective can largely be due to method. If you left an inch of beer and all of the yeast/trub/sediment you would rack just the clear beer. But aside from being sanitary; in brewing there is no right or wrong way, but many different ways that all work. Making improvements in your brewing usually amounts to doing more of the little things that all add up to a big change. A beginner should learn to analyze his beer accurately, and work on improving one aspect at a time. Change your technique slowly so that you can learn what does and doesn’t work for you.

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