The all grain sweet stout has very generic directions on the primary and secondary. It says 1-2 weeks for each and no final gravity. My original gravity was spot on. How do I know when to go to the secondary? Also, so much reading material says to not rack to secondary unless dry hopping or adding flavor. I am not doing this. Should I rack to secondary?
All grain brews or extract brews often do not need a transfer to a secondary vessel. Not even really needed for dry hopping. Time is the main consideration. Active fermentation can be done in as little as three days. A lot happens in the primary after the active fermentation. With some yeasts and grains/extracts off flavors are natural during the fermentation. These off flavors will be cleaned up without any of our help by leaving the beer on the yeast cake at a stable temperature. Couple main off flavors are sulfur aromas produced by some yeasts and diacetyl produced by some grains/extracts.
I typically leave my beers on the yeast cake for 21 days before considering racking to the bottling bucket. During this time the fermentation has completed. The CO2 produced has off gassed. The CO2 off gassing allows the particles suspended by the CO2 to drop producing a clear beer for the bottles.
It is a matter of personal preference. Since yeasts have greatly improved in the last couple of decades I’m not worried about autolysis. I’m not even worried about getting the beer into bottles as soon as it clears. Some beers have been in the primary much longer than 21 days because there was other work to do.
To secondary or not is one of the greatest debates of home brewing.
Welcome to the NB forum.
Edit: The first sentence is just my personal opinion and in no way reflects upon the practices of any other home brewer.
I’m one brewer who does secondary, but even I skip it on stouts and porters. My opinion is that I happen to get clearer beer with a secondary (because of my process… others can get clear beer without it). I care more about clarity with paler beers, so I don’t bother with dark beers (unless I dry hop).
I’ve reached my final gravity after 24 days. Should I bottle or let it finish out the 4 weeks? It tasted good. It was not nearly as sweet as i expected. I can’t imagine it getting any sweeter at this point.
I am also a bit disappointed in the temp. Last reading after 2 weeks was a good 68 degrees. Today’s reading was at 72-73 degrees. I moved it to a cooler closet. I guess my bucket thermometer isn’t as reliable as i’d hoped.
I would go ahead with bottling after 24 days in the primary and a confirmed FG. Your SG sample more than likely showed very few if any CO2 bubbles so suspended particles and excess yeast has dropped out.
The increase in temperature so many days after the active fermentation ended is not a problem at all.