First time brewer,I brewed a ipa extract kit.There is no airlock activity after 3 days.I had an og reading of 1.060, I took another reading today of 1.020.I want to ravk into a secondary should i do it now or how long should i wait.
5You don't know how happy it made me to see a hydrometer reading in this question.– fire.eagleFeb 15, 2013 at 16:10
Is the question that airlock activity stopped after 3 days, or no airlock activity occurred at all? If the latter, it's possible there's a leak and the gases are escaping by a different path. Regardless, taking a gravity reading was the right thing to do.– Galapagos JimFeb 15, 2013 at 21:56
Going against the recent dogma. I always rack to secondary for the very useful clarifying effect which is caused by a second round of yeast sedimentation. In primary you are usually good to rack to secondary after the krausen, the yeasty bubbly head, subsides which usually happens simultaneously with reduced activity of bubbling in the airlock. After that I wait till I see a nice layer of yeast cake on the bottom of the carboy (I always use glass caroys, which I cover with a towel or blanket). Then after seeing the yeast cake and lack of activity I transfer to secondary making very careful to sanitize everything.
Then after you see a second solid yeast cake in the bottom of the carboy (3 to 7 days later usually) take a hydrometer reading and if the beer is at the FG you want then bottle. Otherwise let it sit and wait. I still get bubbles although very infrequent in the secondary. But I always get much clearer beer if I transfer to secondary, which I think is a really good reason to do a secondary. I submit this photo from Basic Brewings experiment as proof:
Thanks guys alot of help.The airlock went crazy for a day and a half and slowed down drasticly.My question relly is there any benifits to leaving it in primary for any extented period of time, rather than racking it into a secondary. THANKS!– leeFeb 16, 2013 at 14:52
Benefits to staying in primary not that I can think of. But there is a benefit to racking it in terms of clarity of the final beer. Feb 17, 2013 at 18:23
For an IPA you typically want to finish in the 1.010 to 1.018 range, so let it go for at least a couple more days and take another gravity. If you want to rack it into secondary at that point go for it, but most of the time an average IPA (especially a beginner's kit) is good to bottle/keg straight from primary. Depending on the type of airlock you are using it may just be difficult to see movement, and the beer is likely fermenting away happily.
Since you are a first-timer there's another question that comes to mind: Did you account for temperature when you took the OG? For example, was the wort still warm when you took the sample? If so, it can affect your gravity reading, in which case there's less of a guarantee that things are fermenting properly. Furthermore, if the wort was too hot (over ~100 degrees F depending on the yeast) when you pitched, it could have shocked the yeast, in which case it could take much longer than normal to start fermenting.
Answer those questions as best you can, but don't get nervous about it because if your gravity really has changed that much, your yeast is probably quite healthy and happy :)
For reference, here's a decent style guide for IPAs that will give you some insights on how to handle it: Brewing India Pale Ales
Best of luck to you, let us know how it goes! First brews are always exciting!
Edit: I just remembered an old rule of thumb that when the airlock (if you have a 3-piece or an S-style) bubbles less than once every 5 seconds you are probably safe to rack or bottle (depending on the recipe and what you want to do with it) because the primary fermentation is basically done. This of course is a very general estimation and varies per style and per yeast strain, but it's accurate enough for most basic ale extract kits.