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The term "secondary fermentation" is misleading since the purpose isn't to continue fermentation. A secondary stage can be used for any combination of things: Clarification: racking to secondary gets the beer off the yeast cake and allows more particulates to fall out of suspension. This is often the only reason I use a secondary stage; I like clear beer. ...


19

Image from HowToBrew Rather than thinking about stages of fermentation I like to look at the lifecycle of yeast. There is a great interview with David Logsdon from Wyeast on the April 5, 2007 episode of Basic Brewing radio. Yeast cells bud in the presence of oxygen. Only yeast cells with a reserve of glycogen have the energy to bud and that glycogen ...


11

The wet t-shirt and swamp cooler method is probably insufficient for temperatures in the mid 90's. Controlling fermentation temperature is one of the best things you can do to make good beer! Like Florida, the temperatures in East Texas get stupid-hot eight months out of the year. Last year I built myself a duck-in cooler powered by a small window air ...


10

You're experiencing a "blow-off". Often, people will replace their airlock with a "blow-off tube", usually one with the same OD as the airlock so it can fit in the same hole on the lid. The worry with continuing to use the airlock is that … especially if one of those airlocks has residual plastic across the bottom of the post that fits into the grommet on ...


8

White Film on Beer in Carboy Symptoms White film or flakes on top of beer is fairly common. It often happens in secondary, or in primary after the krausen falls. Don't worry - your beer is probably fine! Causes Usually, this is the result of yeast colonies being carried to the top of the beer from the trub or yeast cake by CO2, although in some cases, ...


8

Do not boil the cherries. Do not boil the juice, either. You will create pectin, which will cause cloudiness in the cider among other things. Instead, you have two options: 1) Bring the cherries and juice up to temperature (at least 150 degrees) and hold for 30 minutes (I've seen as low as 10). If you use pasteurized juice (no preservatives!), use 2 ...


6

Basically the process of fermentation is what prevents undesirable organisms from taking hold and multiplying in your primary fermenter. As the yeast reproduce they in effect take over the environment and dominate any undesirable organisms present. The production of CO2 also drives the impurities to the top where it creates a blanket over the beer which ...


6

I'll have to do some checking, but from what I understand, the biggest difference is time, the next being a vast difference in sourness. If you ferment first with a non-souring yeast the majority of the fermentable sugars will be converted quite quickly. Brett is very slow to ferment and also to multiply. If it has to ferment all of the sugars alone it ...


6

One of the cheapest solutions I have heard of is to immerse the carboy in a Rubbermaid water cooler filled with water. The water will act as a great insulator. To heat or cool to keep the temperature within the range you are looking for you can use a fish tank heater and ice packs. This method obviously means you will be needing to check on your beer quite ...


5

I was told that it helps the clarity of the beer, since the sludge from the primary will be left over in the first fermenter. I use a glass carboy for secondary fermentation. I also know of many people who bottle right after primary, as you do. If it's working for you, then it's no big deal. Try doing a secondary for a batch and see if you notice a ...


5

Multiple 5-gallon primaries seems pretty common. A few discussions of it: A few split-fermenters, and one single-fermenter: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/fermenting-10-gallon-batch-75051/ A few split-fermenters and one single-fermenter: http://forums.morebeer.com/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=32355 Either way is fine: ...


5

Fermenting in a the free 5 gallon bottles you can get will work fine - after all that's pretty much what Better Bottle PET Carboys are. Compared to the 2-2.5 gallons of headspace you get in a bucket fermentor, the 1 gallon that you're leaving isn't much, especially for a high gravity beer like a RIS, so be sure to use a blowoff tube rather than an airlock. ...


4

I agree with Jeff L, that secondary is useful for particular things. To your question, I only ever do a 'secondary' when adding fruit or extended aging. My beers clear just fine after two weeks in the fermenting vessel. I've never experienced off flavors from that two weeks on the yeast, and I always dry hop in the primary. For me I can't find any reason ...


4

One of the best homebrew purchases I ever made was a dorm-style mini fridge (without freezer) that I removed the shelves from to create the perfect-sized fermentation fridge. This is controlled by an external Johnson controller, allowing me to dial in whatever fermentation temperature I want. It's ideally sized for buckets and carboys. The fridge cost about ...


4

I think what most differentiates primary from secondary is the separation of beer from sediment, or at least the effort to do so. There may be other markers of the move from primary to secondary; like a transfer (which is the only way I know to separate the good stuff from yeast/sediment), additives, bottling, etc. Or, maybe more simply, the difference of ...


4

You can add more yeast anytime if you like, but 1.040 to 1.014 sounds like its done fermenting to me. The beer isn't going to get much more fermented than what it is now. The beer would have to be pretty hot for the yeast to get completely killed off. There should be plenty of yeast left to carbonate the beer. If you really feel that yeast is the reason ...


4

I have never counted bubbles - I presume you are referring to an airlock. Would you not be better using a hydrometer to measure the gravity to determine whether it is the right time to transfer to secondary? Perhaps a few degrees above your predicted final gravity. Say, 1012 - 1014. This might be a bit more empirical than bubbles, for as you rightly say, ...


4

The advantage (aside from price) of getting three 6 or 6.5 gallon better bottles or glass carboys would be that you can move them around without injuring yourself. I'm using two 6-gallon better bottles for the 10 gallon batch I made recently, and they're working nicely. That also lets you experiment with different kinds of yeast in the same wort, etc.


4

One option is to get an appropriately sized funnel with a removable screen. I just bought one of these recently (the funnel cone is huge) and used it for the first time last night. The only downside is that I had to stop a couple times to unclog the screen, and of course I realized after doing so that my fingers hadn't been sterilized (should have had a ...


3

I have had a Porter and an IPA go for 5 months in primary. They were even in plastic buckets. They were in a cool garage for the winter time and never froze. The beers were as good as I'd expect them to be. The IPA had lost some of its aroma, so I just passed it off as a normal Pale instead. Both beers very drinkable with no off flavors. I just ...


3

I've always used a tube that was biggest enough to fit snug into the neck of the carboy with no stopper. I use a standard mix of sanitizer and a pot/bucket with enough in it sitting at the right height so that the open end of the tube is submerged. That's pretty much all you need to do. What you have in the pics is just fine. You're goal is to have some ...


3

It's pretty common to split. There are upsides: it allows you to experiment with different yeast temperatures, pitching rates, and dry hop additions. If you want to go with one big fermenter, then you can use a converted keg, bigger plastic bucket, or drop some cash on a stainless conical.


3

Every batch of homebrew is contaminated. You can't hope to have zero airborne contaminants in your wort especially with it just sitting there mostly open during the chill process. (depending on how you chill). That said brewers yeast loves wort. Brewers yeast starts to create an undesirable environment for wild yeasts and bacteria. Primarily through ...


3

Could be that the warm summer temperatures are creating a more vigorous fermentation than you're used to. Aside from the problem due to blow off described above, I'd be a little worried that the temperature of the fermenting beer has gotten too high. Ale yeasts produce the cleanest tasting beer at temperatures below 65 F. Above that the yeast produces ...


3

Vigorous fermentation is good. But loosing beer is bad. As suggested, for this batch, just keep cleaning the air lock. There are some things you might try on your next batch: Purchase some "Fermcap-S" at your local homebrew store or here or here, for instance. This stuff, like magic, breaks up the foam, and does not cause significant ill effects on ...


3

That looks like yeast that is sitting on top of a foam (krausen) that was produced by more yeast. I assume you poured dry yeast directly into the fermenter? All it means is that some of it clumped up top instead of sinking down. The rest took over quickly and have been happily munching away. A worst case scenario is the yeast was old and some of it had ...


2

The best way to tell when fermentation is complete is to take gravity readings. You should be able to calculate what the gravity should be when fermentation is complete, based on the original gravity and the attenuation factor of your yeast. Then, just take gravity readings every so often (maybe every day, or every other day), and watch how the readings ...


2

I've visited one particular brewery (not SN; this one will remain un-named) that used open fermentation, with dubious results. Judging from the open-fermentation room, their sanitation was subpar, with mold an funk on the walls. Not good. The beer reflected that, with heavy pediococcus infection in every single batch. That's not to say it can't be done, ...


2

I'm in Vegas and have the same challenge. During the summer my house is usually at or near 80 degrees inside. I intend to eventually move to a chest freezer and thermostat, but for now I use a low-dollar method similar to what Jordan recommended. I just put the carboy in a Rubbermaid storage bin (instead of a cooler), fill it half-way with water, then drape ...


2

Plastic primary fermenters are made of a food-grade plastic that resists contamination. The plastic has few surface imperfections that would allow bacteria and unwanted yeast to camp out for the next big lunch. The cleaning agents used in preparing brewing equipment are brutal. PBW, for example, will take out any organic substance upon which the "bad ...



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