Author Topic: Recipe says rack to secondary after 4 days, but fermentation is still vigorous  (Read 6932 times)

Offline Deanman

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Hi all,
I brewed my second BIAB effort, a Bell's Two Hearted IPA, all went well on brew day except I missed the target OG of 1.068, instead I got 1.060. I also had more wort than would fit in my carboy, so I know I need to adjust the water volume I start with.

I recently got a free working refrigerator, bought a temp controller for it, used a tiny electric dry z air for a heater, and the batch has been fermenting along at 67 degrees for 4 days now. All well and good.

However, the fermentation is crazy active. It looks like a lava lamp, almost like it's being agitated. There are bubbles coming out of the airlock every couple seconds, which is normal, but I've never seen such activity in the carboy. Seriously, it looks a lot like a lava lamp.

So, should I go ahead and rack it to secondary or wait until things settle down? And is this "normal" for it to be so active?

Seems to me the whole point is to get the wort off the trub and crap at the bottom of the carboy, and if it's all still swimming around I'll just transfer it into the secondary.

I appreciate any feedback.

Thanks, Dean

Offline Brewmex41

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Wait two or three weeks then if there is a dry hop addition add them for a week to the primary. Then cold crash 2 days to 2 weeks and package the beer.
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Offline Scott Ickes

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You probably don't need to even use a secondary, if you don't want to.  At the home brew scale, leaving it on the trub for three weeks or so won't risk autolysis (which is the main reason to rack it to a secondary) and will only increase the chances of oxygenation and contamination.

If you still "want" to use a secondary, wait until the activity has slowed down considerably.  Back in my early days, I had a beer that was fermenting along nicely, and since I had to leave on a business trip, I decided to rack it to secondary early.  I ended up with a stuck fermentation.  I never was able to get it down below 1.030.  The starting gravity was in the 1.065 range, so my attentuation was very poor.  I started off with a really sweet, out of balance beer, that ended up eventually being bottle gushers after about 6 months in the bottle.

When to move to the secondary is not always the easiest thing to know, but here is the general guideline from Palmers book "How to Brew".

Allow the Primary Fermentation stage to wind down. This will be 2 - 6 days (4 - 10 days for lagers) after pitching when the bubbling rate drops off dramatically to about 1-5 per minute. The krausen will have started to settle back into the beer.

Using a sanitized siphon (no sucking or splashing!), rack the beer off the trub into a another clean fermentor and affix an airlock. The beer should still be fairly cloudy with suspended yeast.
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Offline Deanman

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Thanks for the replies!
I have typically just followed the recipes, which tell me to rack to secondary, although I've read many peoples opinions that it's not necessary. And in this case, the recipe specifically said to secondary in 4 days.
The other thing I'm still kind of surprised by is how much everything is swirling around in the carboy. This is batch #12, (3rd BIAB) and none of the preceding batches had anywhere near this much movement.
But, it smells fine, and I have way better (that is to say I actually have) fermentation temperature control, so I know it's not because it is too hot or cool. So I will take your advice and wait until it calms down.
Again thanks for the advice.