Author Topic: 2nd fermentation question  (Read 5867 times)

Offline CatalinaBrewing

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2nd fermentation question
« on: September 18, 2011, 09:48:03 PM »
So, I just started brewing beer last week. I brewed a Porter beer and I think I may have messed it up. I transfered the beer to the 2nd fermentation tank (glass carboy) and the brew looks stagnant. From what I've seen the yeast is usually going nuts, but my brew as I stated before is stagnant. Did I not aerate the beer properly? I pitched the yeast at 78 degrees, was that wrong? Or, am I just looking too much into this...

Any help would be appreciated!
Up the Irons!

maddspoiler

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Re: 2nd fermentation question
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2011, 06:07:23 AM »
Usually at this point fermentation starts to slow down. Did you have a good amount of activity in the airlock the first 4 or so days? If so your probably ok. I would sanitize a thief, take a sample and test the gravity. If its below 1.014 or so it should be mostly fermented out. If its close to the original gravity the yeast you pitched might not have been viable. You should keep an extra pack of dry yeast on hand just in case it doesn't take off.

Offline merfizle

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Re: 2nd fermentation question
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2011, 06:22:01 AM »
I rarely have visual cue's in secondary.  That mostly always happens in primary.

Mark
Primary: Lambic base for solera barrel
Kegged: Bavarian Weissbier, N. English brown, Roggenbier

Offline CatalinaBrewing

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Re: 2nd fermentation question
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2011, 09:51:07 AM »
Thanks for the hit back. I took a sample and the reading was 1.016. The first 3 days of primary fermentation the airlock was going nuts, so that makes me feel better.

Do you shake your carboys during the 2nd fermentation process, or do you just let it sit there?

-Matt
Up the Irons!

Offline merfizle

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Re: 2nd fermentation question
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2011, 10:53:21 AM »
Don't shake it, it'll aerate.

Mark
Primary: Lambic base for solera barrel
Kegged: Bavarian Weissbier, N. English brown, Roggenbier

Offline jomebrew

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Re: 2nd fermentation question
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2011, 01:02:51 PM »
So, I just started brewing beer last week. I brewed a Porter beer and I think I may have messed it up. I transfered the beer to the 2nd fermentation tank (glass carboy) and the brew looks stagnant. From what I've seen the yeast is usually going nuts, but my brew as I stated before is stagnant. Did I not aerate the beer properly? I pitched the yeast at 78 degrees, was that wrong? Or, am I just looking too much into this...

Any help would be appreciated!

78 is pretty warm depending on the style but for most Ales it is probably too warm.  I would not pitch my porter at 78f.  The yeast will work a bit quicker and will product more undesirable flavors.  very few ales these days warrant a secondary vessel to clarify.  Transferring from one container to another introduced unwanted oxygen and risks contamination with wild yeast and bacteria.   Your 1.016 is typical with my final gravity on my smoked porter.   I start around 1.062 - 1.066.

I don't know why you have it in a secondary but at this point, there should be no activity.  If the gravity drops you could have picked up bacteria or wild yeast.   

I keep my ales in the fermenter for 12 to 14 days then transfer to a keg.  I keep the fermentation temperature controlled around 66-68f allowing it to warm up to 70 after 4 or 5 days.   When I transfer to the keg, I sanitize myself and everything that comes into contact with my beer and cover the carboy and keg openings with sanitized aluminum foil.  I keep a spray bottle of sanitizer in distilled water.  I spray around the top of the keg too.  Not sure if I over do it or not but I have never had an infected beer.

Hope you enjoy the porter.  If there is anything wrong with it, don't give up.  Usually, a few small changes corrects most issues.



Offline CatalinaBrewing

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Re: 2nd fermentation question
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2011, 09:56:19 AM »
Thank you for your feedback. All I heard was how 2nd fermentation was a necessary step for a quality final product. This is my first experience with brewing, so I am just listening closely to everyones advice. 

What are some tips you have for controlling the temperature? I live on the third floor, and I am having a difficult time keeping the beer at 72 degrees. It doesn't matter where I put it, it stays between 72-74 degrees.
Up the Irons!

Offline Duboman

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Re: 2nd fermentation question
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2011, 03:21:15 PM »
While I'm certainly in no position to contradict a global moderator I will tell you we transfer all our beer and it's primarily to free up the primary and make more beer. As long as you are very diligent with your sanitizing you should not have any issues, we haven't and we brew every week all summer. We have a basement and it is generally a constant 68 degrees, try and find a cool interior space to lower your temps and definitely be sure to cool the wort a lot lower before pitching the yeast, below 75 if you can. If you continue to transfer, siphon quietly.
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Offline jomebrew

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Re: 2nd fermentation question
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2011, 05:46:44 PM »
I was simply saying I don't know why he is doing a secondary and that he may have a valid reason.

Feel free to contradict and correct me anytime.

« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 10:50:56 AM by jomebrew »

maddspoiler

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Re: 2nd fermentation question
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2011, 10:31:30 PM »
Secondary fermentations, expecially for newer homebrewers can lead to an increased risk for infection or increase the risk of staling due to oxygenation. If you brewery is clean or you practice good brewing techniques you can do a secondary without the need to worry about it.  Most pro homebrewers say a secondary is detrimental. Listen to "The Jamil Show," or "Brewstrong" on The Brewing Network's Podcasts. I would take in as much info as possible, brew beers both ways and make my own opinion based on my own experience(based on mine in a homebrew a secondary is worthless in most cases).  Good luck