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Old 11-26-2007, 10:45 AM
gutter gutter is offline
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Default any homebrewers?

I am brewing my first batch of homebrew and looking for some help. I am doing an English Nut Brown Ale. I have been reading about secondary fermintation. Some are saying to leave it in the first bucket for up to 3 weeks, others are saying to rack it for the last two weeks in a glass carboy. Is there anything I need to know about syphoning it to the second container, some one told me to add a little water if necessary to have less of an air pocket at the top of the second container. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 11-26-2007, 11:39 AM
J.D. J.D. is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

If you have a secondary carboy, then yes, use it. General rule is 1 week in primary, 2 weeks in secondary and at least 3 in bottles. Siphon gently, you don't want to introduce oxygen to the beer at this point.

Check out www.homebrewtalk.com, its a great forum and you will get better answers than I can give. Good Luck and enjoy.
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  #3  
Old 11-26-2007, 11:48 AM
GovmentCheese GovmentCheese is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

I wouldn't worry too much about waiting a specific set of time, but wait until it bubbles very little before you rack it.

My very first batch, I didn't wait long enough to rack it, and I didn't have a hops bag when I cooked the wort, so I transferred a bunch of floating hops into a smaller container - that was still fermenting vigorously... Bad idea. Foam and hops bubbled into my airlock.. gumming up the whole works. Pressure built, and I found it had blown up. Beer on my ceiling.. and everywhere. Not pretty.

All I can say is that if you make a mistake, keep with it.. do another batch. You'll learn from your errors... good luck, I'm sure it'll come out fine.
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  #4  
Old 11-26-2007, 12:40 PM
Repsychler Repsychler is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

I rack it to a carboy once the fermentation slows to a crawl. I tend to leave things in secondary a bit longer than I need to, but it depends on hydrometer readings and when I want the batch done.

As far as headspace in the carboy goes, I've never worried about it too much. If you have a ton of extra space, you may have not had enough water in primary, or maybe you have a 6.8 gallon carboy.
I've heard of some people using glass beads/pie weights to make up for smaller amounts of excess headspace.
Enjoy your home brewing. If I can give one piece of advice for a new brewer...clean clean clean. Sanitizer is your friend!
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  #5  
Old 11-26-2007, 01:44 PM
RunDownHouse RunDownHouse is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

First, www.brewboard.com is another great online resource.

Second, lots of people don't even bother with secondary. Since you probably don't care how clear your beer is going to be, I wouldn't bother. Just go straight from primary into the bottling bucket into bottles.

In general, you don't want to move it from primary until fermentation has more or less stopped, which you can tell from your hydrometer readings. It may drop a couple more points in secondary, no big deal. Do NOT add water when you transfer, that's just begging for an infection. The reason that headspace may be a worry is that you don't want to oxidize your beer, since that'll cause long-term stability and flavor problems. It's never a worry in primary because the fermentation is throwing off so much CO2. It should still be throwing some in secondary, so it isn't a huge deal, but I'd always go with the tightest-fitting fermenter I had for secondary. All in all, I'd rather take a chance on an extra couple inches of headspace than watering down my beer and risking an infection ruining the whole batch.
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  #6  
Old 11-26-2007, 02:25 PM
Grasshopp3r Grasshopp3r is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

I don't bother with the secondary. There is too much risk of spoiling the beer with infection. My usual fermentation is 2 weeks in the primary, then bottling.

If anyone wants hops plants, I have whole backyard full of them. I will send you rhizomes.

Also, if anyone wants to trade beers, I would be happy to do that. I have a 6 pack mailer with foam padding.
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  #7  
Old 11-26-2007, 03:25 PM
FreeBeer FreeBeer is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

[ QUOTE ]
Is there anything I need to know about syphoning it to the second container, some one told me to add a little water if necessary to have less of an air pocket at the top of the second container. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

[/ QUOTE ]


Congratulations on your first batch!

Siphon quietly. Avoid splashing at all cost. Oxygenation at this point can be and usually is a disaster.

The purpose of secondary fermentation is to remove the beer from the sediment at the bottom of the fermenter. A good portion of this stuff is yeast that has done it's fermentation work and has settled out. If the beer stays in contact with the sediment for an extended period (a few weeks, maybe) the yeast will start adding flavors to your beer that many folks find undesirable.

Don't worry too much about the head space in your secondary contributing unwanted oxygen to your beer. The residual yeast in the beer is still actively giving off CO2. And since CO2 id heavier than air it will quickly replace any air in the headspace as long as you have a working fermentation lock.

If you do end up adding water to your beer, be sure to boil all the nasties and chlorine out. Or use bottled water.

Let us know how things turn out.
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  #8  
Old 11-26-2007, 03:32 PM
Kneel B4 Zod Kneel B4 Zod is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

[ QUOTE ]
My usual fermentation is 2 weeks in the primary, then bottling.

[/ QUOTE ]

ditto for me, though my homebrewing is done at the most basic of levels. I do little experimentation, etc, it's just kind of a fun little hobby for me.
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  #9  
Old 11-26-2007, 03:53 PM
gutter gutter is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

Thanks for all the great advice, looks like somewhat split on secondary. I have seen so much about keeping everything clean and preventing oxygen from getting in, has anyone ever had a batch go bad? I have not read of anyone who has. If I syphon, should I take the lid off the primary, or try to do it through the vent hole? Is the risk really that great in a transfer?
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  #10  
Old 11-26-2007, 05:07 PM
FreeBeer FreeBeer is offline
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Default Re: any homebrewers?

[ QUOTE ]
<snip> has anyone ever had a batch go bad? I have not read of anyone who has. If I syphon, should I take the lid off the primary, or try to do it through the vent hole? Is the risk really that great in a transfer?

[/ QUOTE ]

Never had a batch go bad. A friend that had a bad batch credits the experience for his attention to cleanliness 100 batches later.

Remove the fermenter lid when siphoning. Sanitize your siphoning hose. Be gentle and don't splash the beer.

Don't forget to taste your beer during racking.

Finally, to quote Charlie Papazian : "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew."
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