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- first time using secondary fermenter
- Joe Murphy
June 26, 2005, 1:48 am
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Did a Williams Belgian Triple this afternoon on a very hot and muggy day. My
kitchen was a hop sauna by the time I was done.
This is the first time I've done a full boil with a copper wort chiller. I
also have two carboys (six gallon and five gallon) for fermenting. Prior to
this I used plastic buckets primary fermenter with no secondary.
Followed instructions. Brought the wort down to about 84 degrees with the
chiller and transferred to the primary carboy. About halfway through
siphoning, I added the liquid yeast using a sanitized funnel. I figured that
I'd have no way of stirring the wort in the carboy and that the remaining
siphoning of the wort would suffice for "stirring" the yeast around.
The primary is sitting in my closet with a blowoff tube sitting in a pitcher
of sanitizer. Trub already settled to the bottom all nice like. OG is 1.064
Here are my questions:
1. Should I have pitched the yeast into the cooled brewpot and then
transferred to my primary instead of using the method described above?
2. How long does c-brite dissoved in water last? Can I hang onto it for use
when I transfer to my secondary in a couple of weeks?
3. How do you sanitize your carboy? I put the c-brite solution in there and
sloshed it around good bit and then put it on a carboy stand to dry out.
Hope this will suffice.
4. Do you rinse sanitizer off your equipment before letting it touch the
beer? I've had two batches in a row with a bit of a soapy aftertaste and I'm
afraid my sanitation may be to blame.
5. How long until I can remove the blowoff tube and snap on my airlock? Do I
wait until racking to a secondary?
6. Rule of thumb for how many days in primary/secondary? Consider the type
of beer I'm making.
Thanks for your advice,
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Re: first time using secondary fermenter
Here are my answers:
The best way is to pour the wort through the chiller, into a "second"
container, allow it to sit for several hours to allow the trub to settle
out, THEN transfer to your primary fermenter & pitch the yeast. This gets
rid of any potential off tastes or nasty stuff in the finished product.
Not much literature out there on c-brite, but what I gather is it is a
"chlorine based, no-rinse sanitizer" which a standard chlorine sanitizer is
only good for 24 hours. Working as a Sanitarian, our inspection guidelines
for restaraunts stated they had to remix any water/bleach sanitizer every
day. I would imagine, if it is not contaminated with food particles, you
could store it in the secondary fermenter with a stopper, but I wouldn't
I just use a 50ppm water/household bleach solution, slosh it around & allow
it a contact time of 20-30 minutes, rinse twice & set the carboy upside down
with the mouth in a gallon bucket (my frugal carboy dryer).
If you're using c-brite, it is advertised as a "no rinse sanitizer"...if
you're getting off tastes from it...sue the company that makes it for false
advertising & open a microbrewery!!! You may have used soap to clean
something & didn't rinse the soap off very well...i've had that problem with
a batch or 2 also...i triple rinse after using soap now, then sanitize &
rinse 2 more times.
Nope..once the krausen (foam) has settled from the top of the wort, the blow
off tube can go away, i've only had to use a blow off tube once...over
filled the fermenter by mistake...foam everywhere. Or if you want...just
leave the blow off tube in there...just make sure the open end is under
water...preferably clean water with sanitizer in it.
Rule of thumb for any beer is 5-7 days in primary, 7-14+ days in secondary,
just don't let the beer sit in yeast sediment for a long time, bad...bad!!!
Use a hydrometer!!!! BYO Magazine once wrote that following fermentation
without a hydrometer is like driving without a map. Once the gravity
reading settles at the same place for 2-3 days, fermentation is done, then
you can rack to secondary, you should always wait for fermentation to finish
I would assume you're using a Belgian strain of yeast considering the OG you
should be at, or at least a strain of yeast that can handle a high gravity,
anything else would be a waste of time...you could spend 14-20 days in
primary...if it even ferments at all. The strain of yeast will also
determine fermentation time. There's supposed to be a simple formula to
determine what the FG should be..multiply the OG times the yeast's
attenuation divided by the gravitational force of a white dwarf or something
like that which should give your approximate FG reading.
Secondary fermentation is really only necessary if you are adding things,
such as fruit, this allows the yeast to consume the fructose, or if the beer
is cloudy, secondary fermentation allows suspended particles to flocculate &
drop. It was neat watching my 6 gallon batch of Summer Wheat Ale in
secondary, there was a cool stratification effect, clear layer on top, thick
& thin bands of white/cloudy haze below that & throughout the day it would
settle more & more, very cool to see.
Weird little tidbit on that...glass seems to make beer more clear...i've
experimented & done secondary in both a glass carboy & a converted water
igloo water cooler...the beer in the water cooler wasn't anywhere as bright
as the one in the glass carboy. There was way more sediment in the carboy
Hope this is helpful.
Re: first time using secondary fermenter
As far as the yeast pitching goes- I have always transferred the wort
into my primary first, let it cool, rock/shake for 15 minutes,
occasionally lifting the stopper, to get good aeration (which is
extremely important with higher gravity beers such as your Belgian so
that the yeast can work), and then finally I will add the yeast and
then rock/shake to mix. The result has consitently been clear with
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