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31

From John Palmer in the "Ask the Experts" section of the AHA forum: Therefore I, and Jamil and White Labs and Wyeast Labs, do not recommend racking to a secondary fermenter for ANY ale, except when conducting an actual second fermentation, such as adding fruit or souring. Racking to prevent autolysis is not necessary, and therefore the risk of oxidation ...


11

To rack your beer simply means to siphon it from one vessel to another, such as from a primary fermenter to a secondary, or from a fermenter to your bottling bucket. Racking refers to transferring the whole of the beer or wine from one vessel to another, leaving behind sediment. Homebrewers usually only do it once or twice, whereas winemakers will rack ...


8

There are two things to consider when racking to secondary: Wait for primary fermentation to finish. The common rule of thumb is to wait until the gravity of the beer doesn't change over the course of three days. This will indicate that the primary fermentation has completed. However, it's helpful to leave your beer in primary a little longer, even after ...


7

That's a great question. The problem with plastic is that it can easily scratch and harbor bacteria. I'm fairly certain even rubbing your hand along the inside of a plastic bucket causes small scratching. I think your guideline is fairly good: check your equipment regularly, and replace something as soon as it begins to impart an off flavor. I've had my ...


7

Somewhat. Lack of carbonation can really alter the flavor, but you should be able to pick out major characteristics or flaws in the beer. But I wouldn't advise reaching any real conclusions until the beer is carbed and has an appropriate conditioning time. That time will vary from beer to beer.


7

I used to use the clear vinyl tubing also. The pros for this kind of tubing are it's transparent, so you can see the contents clearly it's relatively inexpensive it's food safe at room temperature But there are some significant cons also at typical mash temperatures, the tubing becomes soft, and doesn't support the weight of the wort, so it collapses ...


6

My technique Stick it in the carboy/bucket/keg that is full of sanitizer. You only have to get the part of the cane that will touch wort, but it doesn't hurt to splash or wipe sanitizer on the entire cane. A better way You can build a dirt cheap dedicated sanitizing vessel. Go to the hardware store and get a length of 2-4 inch diameter PVC pipe and a ...


6

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 ...


5

Go to your local hardware store and buy a wallpapering tray to use as a sanitizing bucket for these long tools. They're normally about 30" long, which is long enough to hold all my awkward tools like tubing, racking cane, autosyphon, thief, etc. Here's an example of one: Amazon.com - Standard Weight Wallpaper Tray


4

To best mimic the function of a racking-cane tip, I would crimp or plug the bottom of the tube and punch two opposing holes about 1/2 inch up the side of it so the liquid being siphoned it is above the trub. Then attach something rigid (like a strait section of plastic coat hanger) to the tube to stiffen it (after sanitizing well of course). This way you ...


4

"Sweet almost caramel-like flavor" doesn't sound like diacetyl to me. Diacetyl is "buttery," and is hard to get in normal Ale fermentations unless you are using a yeast strain known for it. (Ringwood, I think is noted for it?) What yeast did you use, and at what temps? I would attribute "sweet/caramel" flavors in your first batch to more likely be "extract ...


4

When you say fruit flavoring are you talking about extract? If you are I would use fresh fruit or a puree (Oregon brand) first. The extract can come out tasting like cough medicine. Using fresh or puree you can add directly to the primary fermentation vessel or if you are racking to a secondary you can add it then rack on top of it. I have had success both ...


4

By being safe and deliberate with your racking methods, I doubt you'll have much of a problem. I believe a fair amount of the problems stem from lack of improper methods of racking (among other things). Some of the things that cause oxidation include: Not getting the siphon tube to sit in the bottom of carboy/bucket/keg while transferring Getting a lot ...


4

Oxidization happens when there is oxygen dissolved in the beer, such when the beer is splashed or agitated in air. I've always been careful with racking, using either a regular siphon started by blowing into the carboy (through a sanitary air filter) or via an autosiphon. About 2 years ago, I had oxidization problems in a few batches which appeared after ...


3

If what you're getting is really air and not CO2, then yes, it can be a real oxidation issue. It's happened to me and I've tasted it in other people's beers. As has already been stated, check your connections to be certain that there are no leaks there. I've found that you can ofter clear the bubbles out of the line by pinching the tubing behind the ...


3

Check all your connections to make sure they are tight. I've had problems at the connection point between the tube and the spigot coming off of the bucket, but the spigot had varying widths as it went up so I just shoved the tube on a little farther and it solved the problem. If you heat the tube up a little in some warm water, it will become more malleable ...


3

I use StarSan, which creates a wonderful foam when agitated that sanitizes on contact. I spread foam all on the outside of the racking cane, as well as any other "tricky" areas (like the bottom of my fermenting bucket lid). I also keep a spray bottle of sanitizer on hand at all times - this is a lifesaver. Need a bit of sanitizer on something? Spritz it a ...


3

I usually have a bucket of sanitizer made up with 3-4 gallons in it. I am constantly dipping things in and out of it. I tend to just flip the racking cane upside down in that bucket to get the top part AND all the tubing submerged in sanitizer. So it sits in sanitizer up side down and right side up for a time while I do other things. On a racking only ...


3

The current recommendation from homebrew experts John Palmer and Jamil Zainisheff is to never use a secondary unless you are doing an actual secondary fermentation...i.e., adding additional sugars or fruit. The previous ideas that you should move your beer off primary quickly came from commercial brewing examples. since we don't have fermentations on the ...


3

I've heard that beer can stay in the primary for several weeks, but I continue to rack to a secondary. I usually do it as soon as the head has died down and I'm pretty sure it's not going to flare up again in the carboy. I like to get the beer away from the grungy primary and get the primary cleaned. (I use a plastic pail for primary, and glass carboy for ...


3

I have never found moving a secondary around to disturb the stuff at the bottom of the carboy too much. Most of the fluid movement is at the surface and it takes a lot of sloshing to translate that through the entire fluid. Whenever possible, I have moved the carboy the night before so it would settle out by morning. Or I'd move it in the morning and do ...


3

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 ...


2

I'm not certain about grams per gallon (why are you mixing metric and english?). The general rule for wine (and probably cider as well) is one campden tablet or 1/8th tsp of k-meta per gallon. According to wikipedia one campden tablet typically weighs .44 grams and 10 campden tablets equals 1 tsp of k-meta so I'd guess between .44 and .55 grams of k-meta ...


2

If you use a non-transparent plastic bucket or carboy for your primary, moving it to a transparent plastic or glass carboy allows you to see the clarity of the beer before bottling. You will be able to bottle your beer when the desired clarity is reached. In most cases, moving to a secondary is purely cosmetic.


2

Using a secondary is a matter of preference for the brewer and the style of brew. While I highly recommend using a secondary it is not required. You move to secondary after primary fermentation is done. This is usually determined by taking specific gravity readings and once they've been the same for 3 days primary fermentation is considered complete (~2+ ...


2

I never understood the point of that experiment. 2 extra weeks is nothing. I know many brewers who routinely leave beer on yeast for 2-4 weeks with no ill effects. Nor is there any difference between the 2 and 4 week beers. If they really wanted to see if there was an issue they should have really turned up the time. Like 6 weeks extra. Or asked the ...


2

I suspect the sludge is starch and carbohydrates from the pumpkin. The only solution is to wait for it to settle out naturally. Getting the beer as cold as possible will make it happen faster. You wouldn't attempt to cold crash it until fermentation is done. But it might be hard to get an accurate gravity reading with the starches in there. Doubtless ...


2

Pumpkin leaves a ton of goo in the fermentor. It's mostly fiber, which is what makes pumpkin such a good food for you. Whatever is oozing around in the beer will undoubtedly settle down and sink to the bottom over time, it might just take a few extra weeks. The colder you can keep the secondary, the better. Go ahead and rack it if it smells good. If after ...


2

I have a long plastic bin that I use for sanitizing. It is long enough to lay all of my racking cane's, auto siphons, hoses, anything can lay flat lengthwise in the bin to soak, then you just rinse with cold water. I guess you could have another bin the same size filled with clean cold water to rinse the stuff. I usually just do that in the sink though. ...


2

3-6 weeks is the usual time to do the first rack of a mead, but it's best to check with a gravity measurement first. Gravity should be around 1/3 the starting gravity, and some of the yeast should have flocculated on the bottom of the fermentor. If you didn't add any yeast nutrients to the mead, then fermentation will go slower as the yeast have a harder ...



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