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I'm brewing a Kolsh ale, and, I made the mistake of following the recipe that the brew shop provided. It said that I should rack the beer to a secondary fermenter after a week. When I opened the primary fermenter, it should have been clear that the primary fermentation wasn't done: the krausen was still foamy and hadn't settled into the beer, but I racked it anyway. I read later that I shouldn't have done that. The damage has been done.

My first question is: what negative effects I should expect from this in terms of taste, clarity, etc.? Secondly, is there anything I can do at this point to mitigate those effects?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

There's a small risk that by removing the beer from the bulk of the yeast, your attenuation might be lower. That is, the beer might end up lower alcohol and sweeter than otherwise. However, as long as you pitched enough healthy yeast and the fermentation was vigorous, you're unlikely to see any problems.

Don't do anything at this point. The beer should continue to ferment and you should be able to bottle on schedule.

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I tried it last night. It was just fine. – Daniel Wolfe Dec 6 '13 at 18:15

Unless you were fermenting very cold or had a high starting gravity, I imagine fermentation was actually done after 7 days and the beer moved on to conditioning. The way to know is to measure the SG - signs such as airlock activity and kraeusen falling are not accurate ways to monitor the brew - the SG is the key here, and that will tell you when fermentation is complete.

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You can always rack a second time. The only down side to that is the risk of contamination. However, if you racked after a week- chances are you're probably fine.

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