Help for a newbie

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Guys

For those with experience and time to give I am all ears!

Recently bought a couple of starter kits ( based in NZ) and am keen to
refine the lagers / beer I have so far brewed.

The kits are 25 litre plastic bins with taps about 1 inch up from the
bottom. To stop all the stuff that has settled on the bottom of the bin
from entering the bottles.

Setup primary fermentation with the treacle like gunk in the cans,
yeast etc and everything appears to have gone well.

Bottled it after around 7 days once the fermentation had stopped and
dropped a couple of priming sugar cubes into each bottle. This I was
told was for secondary fermentation to put bubbles into the beer.

Just opened a bottle and all looks good so am quite happy.
However......

1. From this group I have read about secondary fermentation taking
place in another plastic bucket, i.e racking from a primary to the
secondary bucket?  What or why is this done?
The instructions I had were clear in that I was told to bottle it for
secondary fermentation.

2. The beer inside the bottles has carbonated ( secondary fermentation
?? ). If I was to let this process take place inside another plastic
tub, would the CO2 escape back through the airlock ie. flat beer??

3. Would I then bottle it from the second bucket as opposed to after
the first??

Appreciate this may appear basic but any tips or pointers gratefully
appreciated

Ged


Re: Help for a newbie



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I've got some time but little experience.  But I'll chime in  with what I
have gleened from several months reading this and many other boards.  :)

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This is correct (for the most part - the 7 days in the primary seems short
though).  The sugar in the bottle will work with what little yeast is left
in suspension to carbonate the beer in the bottle.  This is more commonly
referred to as "Conditioning" rather than secondary fermenting.  The
terminology is what I think is tripping you up.  After you "ferment" your
beer (primary and/or secondary) you "condition" the beer in the bottle so
the beer carbonates (Fermentation is not the step that carbonates, in fact
it releases, by necessity, CO2).  There are two types of conditioning, Warm
and Cold.  Normally you warm condition the beer for a couple of weeks (And
this depends on the style of beer) then, again, depending on the style of
beer you can "cold condition" (i.e. move it to the refrigerator) for
serving.

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Then that's what counts  :-)

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That is correct.  Secondary fermentation happens in another bucket or carboy
after the "original" burst of fermentation.  You would usually (and this
depends on style of beer again) primary during the initial phase of the
process, usually the first 5 - 10 days (and I've seen opinions on this all
over the spectrum) then rack the beer over to the secondary for another 7 to
10 days.

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That is the million dollar question.  You'll get half the people telling you
that you really only need to primary (which is what you did - though if you
only go with a primary step you usually do it for 10 to 14 days in total
which is the reason I said 7 seems short to me and what I've read) and
others that claim they get a better result with the secondary step.  Now
there is one major reason why I plan on moving my first Red Ale to a
secondary in a day or two (I'll be 7 days in then and I plan to let it
ferment for 14 days or so in total).  To help clarify the beer, and retrieve
the yeast out of the primary for reuse.  Racking to the secondary will let
me leave some of the grain husks and hop residue that made it past my
strainer (which I had to improvise and I plan on revising for my next batch)
into my primary and will leave the yeast cake on the bottom (I use an
autosyphen for this process).  We'll see how it goes.

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Again, I think it is just a "terminology" usage.  It IS fermenting in the
bottles afterall, that is how it is being pressurized with CO2.  So if you
only used a primary fermentation process it would, I guess, technically, be
a secondary ferment.  But if you used a "traditional" secondary fermenting
process that would be a tertiary ferment.  Which is the reason I just think
that the term "conditioning" is the more appropriately used terminology in
this sense

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Conditioned ;-)

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Yes.  If you used a "traditional" secondary ferment and went right to a
bottle without adding your priming sugar you'd probably have very flat beer
or beer that might take months to carbonate if any sugars where left for the
yeast to act on.

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I will bottle from a bottling bucket.  I will move my beer from the
secondary to the bucket (which I will add priming sugar solution to instead
of the tablets you used) and bottle from there.

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Hopefully from one newbie to another I have answered some questions and
fully realize I'll probably be corrected along the line as well.  LOL!



Re: Help for a newbie



Thanks for your informative reply Eric. So far very insightful and
helpful..

If I may add a couple more questions...

If the fermentation in the first bucket ( primary ) has stopped after 7
days ( as mine had) - no bubbles and Specific Gravity remained the same
from the 7th to 10th day....

How would transferring it into a second bucket ' kick off' another
stage of fermentation?

Also, is it possible to have the bottled beer sediment free...

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bottom of the original fermenting bin and after ' conditioning' the
bottled beer for several weeks it pours out beautifully clear into a
pint glass..Unfortunately the half pint left inside the 750 ml bottles
then sloshes back into the sediment at the bottom of the bottle and I
end up with a somewhat cloudy looking lager. Apart from locating a huge
glass that will take 95% of the bottle in one pour, does filtering the
beer/ lager work well or does it remove taste, nutrients to continue
conditioning etc

Thanks again

Ged.


Re: Help for a newbie


On Wed, 06 Sep 2006 22:08:50 -0700, Ged wrote:

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Depending on a number of factors- the yeast used, the starting gravity,
the temperature, the size of the yeast colony pitched, how much
fermentable sugar is left in the wort, the action of transferring to the
secondary may "rouse" the yeast and cause them to work a little more...if
there is some sugar left to work on.

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Sure, if you filter it, keg it, force carbonate it and use a
counter-pressure filler to bottle it. That's just too much for me- if I
were to keg it I wouldn't bother putting it in bottles after.

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Use smaller bottles or decant to a pitcher in a single pour. If you do not
pour out the entire bottle in a single pour, no matter what size it is,
whatever is left will disturb the sediment when you turn the bottle
upright. I actually have some mugs that will hold pretty near 2 liters of
beer but I generally don't dring that much at one time so they rarely get
used.

If you filter prior to bottling, depending on how efficient your filter is
you could remove most or all of the yeasties...and it could take a very
long time to carbonate, if it did at all...which brings you back to
kegging and force-carbonating...unless you like flat beer.

Actually, the yeasties are good for *you*, too.

--
            Falcon's Rest
          Zymurgical Alchemy
   First Inter-Galactic Guild House Of
The Brotherhood Of St. Cathode Of Anode


Re: Help for a newbie



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Hope you read Zaphod's response as it covers almost all your questions
probably better than I as a newbie would.  Would like to make a couple
inline comments thought.  If you don't mind (and, again, I fully suspect
someone better will come along and correct me at some point.  LOL).

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Zaphod answer is right.  The other point.  Just because bubbling has
"stopped" doesn't necessarillay mean that fermentation has gone "completely"
dormant (though your SG would indicate maybe it had).  From what I have read
on this from others is that, many "rush" to bottle to quickly.  In other
words, if you think it has "stopped" don't worry about giving it an extra
day or two.  It isn't going to hurt, for the most part, unless air is
getting in somehow.  But if you have an airlock on the thing let the last of
the yeast settle out.  That will also help "clarify" your beer (especially
if you move to a secondary).  Again, this is a point of contention with
many.

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No.  LOL!  Well, sort of.  I'll address this inline in a minute.

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Ok.  I'll admit I had to read this part many times before I finally
understood what you meant (and maybe still don't).  but going back to the
original post it appears you fermented in a "bottling bucket" and went right
to the bottles from that vessel (or a "primary" that had a drain attached).
If I am not right here let me know because I would guess that is the
"problem" (and I agree with Zephod here too that it is not much of a problem
as what you were ingesting is yeast and in the "old days" that was actually
served with the beer.).

If you fermented in a bucket and then bottled from that then the "distance"
between the bottom of the bucket and your yeast was not great enough to
"not" stir them up and move them into the bottles (creating sediment - and
also a great conditioning environment.  I'm surprised you haven't exploded
some.).  Not a bad thing necessarily (yeast is fine to eat and I wouldn't
worry about it), but this is the reason why you usually always move out of
the primary to a separate bottling bucket for bottling - to leave the yeast
cake behind and intact.  If you primary in only one bucket, which is
perfectly fine to do, then you should probably not bottle from the same
bucket.  This is, most likely, the reason most homebrew kits come with a
primary bucket (without a spigot but with a fermentation lock) and a
bottling bucket (with a spigot).  the racking process between the two is
going to eliminate some of the sediment in any case.

This is probably why you have sediment in all your bottles.  But I could be
reading what your saying wrong.  What concerns me more is that it may be a
lager that you only fermented for only 7 days (and you didn't state the
temperature)!  :-^







Re: Help for a newbie


On Fri, 08 Sep 2006 02:58:35 +0000, Eric Scantlebury wrote:

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Considering it was a lager, it should have gone into a secondary for a
while at a low temp, plus the diacetyl rest at a slightly higher temp,
before being bottled.

Lagers are a bit more complicated than ales and call for a fairly long
secondary at cold temps where many ales might not see a secondary at all
(though I usually do it for them). The long, cold lager process would help
to reduce the amount of yeast in suspension. Using finings would help to
reduce it further but then you run the risk of not having enough yeast
left to carbonate- not a problem if you are going to keg and force
carbonate but it could screw you if you want to bottle and carbonate
naturally.

His question seemed to be more of a general nature, so I didn't go into so
many details in my response.

You both might want to start looking at the rec.crafts.brewing group-
there are many more people there, and many of them much more knowledgeable
than I am, especially with lagers, kegging, and whole-grain brewing. I
mainly do ales, meads and wine.


--
            Falcon's Rest
          Zymurgical Alchemy
   First Inter-Galactic Guild House Of
The Brotherhood Of St. Cathode Of Anode


Re: Help for a newbie



Zaphod Beeblebrock wrote:
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The best resource I can give you is to go to www.howtobrew.com.  It is
a great resource for the beninning brewer and even up through
intermediate and advanced brewing.  I suggest you reasd through the
online book there and feel free to post any questions or clarifications
you have.


Re: Help for a newbie



Hi folks.

Thanks a bundle for all the information. The primary fermenter is a 25
litre plastic bin (food grade ) with a tight fitting snaplid and an
airlock in the lid. It has a small tap about 1 inch from the bottom of
the bucket so it does leave the yeast cake behind after bottling. You
clip the bottling attachment ( 8 inch long pipe with a pushvalve on the
end) to the tap and slide the bottle up over it. The bottom of the
botttle activates the valve and it fills from the bottom up.

Interestingly enough I have been reading heaps of info and most of the
kit 'lagers' I can find in the local shops all ferment at around the 18
to 24 degrees c mark for 5 to 7 days.

I have just purchased a different kit, ( brewmaster premium)  and using
saflager s23 yeast ( lots of ice and wet towels) now have a lager
bubbling away nicely at around 12 degrees c. Don't shoot me but it
should taste like Stella Artois when I am finished! I 'think' this will
take about 14 to 20 days to get through first stage.

Once again, thanks for your time and effort in coming back with great
information

Ged


Re: Help for a newbie


Ged,

You have followed the instructions & it looks like you will have good beer.
The steps you followed are 100% correct.
I have followed this simple process for 40+ years & it works.
I suspecyt you have misinterpreted something you have read leading to your
question.
In NZ there are quite a few well run brew shops & they will be happy to give
you good advice - just patronise them in the early stages, it can prove very
worthwhile.
Pete
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