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When to rack to secondary?


Nov 21, 2010
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I'm wondering when to rack to secondary? The airlock is bubbling about every 20 seconds and measured gravity after 1 week and is 1.034. Is this ok or is there something wrong with the yeast?

12.50 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 90.06 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 3.60 %
0.50 lb Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) Grain 3.60 %
0.38 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 2.74 %
1.00 oz Vanguard [5.00 %] (60 min) Hops 15.0 IBU
1.00 oz Cascade [5.00 %] (2 min) Hops 1.3 IBU
0.10 oz Cinnamon Stick (Boil 10.0 min) Misc 
1.00 tsp Ginger Root (Boil 10.0 min) Misc 
1.00 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min) Misc 
1.00 tsp Nutmeg (Boil 10.0 min) Misc 
1 Pkgs European Ale (Wyeast Labs #1338) Yeast-Ale 

Beer Profile

Measured Original Gravity: 1.070 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.022 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.86 %  Actual Alcohol by Vol: 8.50 %
Bitterness: 16.3 IBU Calories: 310 cal/pint
Est Color: 22.4 SRM Color: Color 

Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 13.88 lb
Sparge Water: 3.85 gal Grain Temperature: 68.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 150.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 17.35 qt of water at 166.7 F 154.0 F

Let it stay on the primary for 3 weeks and then (keg-bottle) Let it stay there for at least 3 weeks and then try it. I had a similar beer and it took months to mellow out. Don't bother with a secondary unless your adding additives (hops,spices,fruit). Good luck, I hope it turns out well.
It's doing fine.  1.070 down to 1.034 in one week is good; as it slows you might rouse the yeast occasionally. 

Just watch the ferm temps and try to keep steady if you have it in a room.  Temperature swings can affect fermentation.

16 IBUs in a 1.070 beer will be a malt-bomb, so you definitely want it to finish.  Did you make a starter to build the yeast count?  5+ gallons of 1.070 is pushing a 'package-only' pitch.
Avoid racking to a secondary as it introduces unwanted oxygen and risks contamination.  The high quality yeasts of today don't have the autolysis issues that forced folks to use secondary fermenters years ago.  Since this is still fermenting, it is also  taking care of diacetyl and acetaldehyde.

As with big beers, proper pitching rate (sound like you underpitched) and proper aeration ensure there is enough healthy yeast to attenuate the beer down to the levels you want.  It will take longer if not.  be sur eyou have the beer at a constant temp.  Fluxuations can stress yeast or make then want to do dormant.  Neither you want right now.


After 2 weeks the gravity is 1.028? There is a lot of krausen though. Any advice?
60% attenuation is not great with less 1# of dark grains; sounds like it was just the package with no starter?

The only thing I've read that 'sometimes' works now is to get some new yeast going in a starter, and pitch it when it hits peak activity, and hope it keeps eating in the presence of the alcohol. 
How do I rouse the yeast? Should I add more yeast?
I think most people put it on the counter and push it in circles to get yeast back up in suspension.

I use this lazy susan race...carboy fits right on ring.


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I use Better Bottles and put a tennis ball under it and roll it around in a circle.
After 3 weeks measured 1.023, tastes too sweet. Will bottle conditioning with yeast help eat some sugars? Or should I add some yeast to the primary it is in?
Bottling at this point will stop most of the fermentation due to the carbonation pressure and with an SG of 1.023 you may risk over pressuring and bursting some bottles.  With a OG of 1.070 don't be in a hurry; fermenting for 5-6 weeks will not hurt the beer.  You can try to stir up the yeast by agitating or pitch more yeast.  Create a starter and pitch a high krausen of the starter as stated above.  You could also rack to another carboy and suck up a large portion of the trub to get the yeast back in suspension, but see the warnings above. 

Most of all patience.

What is your fermentation temperature?
Is it still bubbling at all?  If so just leave it alone you are only about 8 points from the finish.

Some people like the flavors they get from a long stay in the primary.
What happens in that time is the dead yeast falls apart and eject the contents of the yeast cells into the beer.  It's called autolysis.  The enzymes in the dead yeast are chewing the cellular components up. 
I don't like the result of that sort of approach. 

My primary ferment is over when the main action is over I rarely let the beer sit on the yeast cake beyond a week.

So your answer is not so simple as being told that it's some period of week/s.  It's one of taste. What do you like?
Maybe you'll need to brew both ways and find out.