I’m brewing my very first batch and I’ve got to the Secondary Fermentation phase, but since I racked it to Secondary, I can’t see any signs of anything happening at all! Did I do something wrong?
I’m brewing the Northern Brewer Phat Tyre Extract Kit. and Primary fermentation was happening in a 6.5 Gallon Big Mouth Bubbler.
The Original Gravity was 1.051 and the primary fermentation was very active. I maintained a temperature of around 68F for the first 5 days and 65 for the next 3. By Day 8, it had slowed down dramatically (one bubble every 3 minutes in the airlock) so I racked it to the 5 gallon Big Mouth Bubbler for secondary. I measured the Gravity again - this time it was 1.025.
Since it’s been in Secondary, for 4 days now, at around 67F, there has been no activity in the airlock and the beer looks still. I took another gravity reading and it’s still 1.025 (I have the BMB with the spiggot, so I could draw off some beer without opening the top)
Did I move to secondary to early?
Should I raise the temperature? (It’s in a chest freezer with heat bulb connected to my homemade controller)?
Typically, you would want to let the beer warm up a smidge just to make sure the yeast finish up primary fermentation. I would bump up to 68-70 and see how it finishes. My rule of thumb these days is 2-4 weeks in primary and I rack straight to the keg to finish up without bothering to secondary. Typically secondary is just a final clean up time for the yeast so they won’t appear to be super active once your vigorous obvious fermentation has completed. Give it at least 2 weeks. if it doesn’t drop below 1.025 in that time, it’s definitely done where it is.
Secondary fermentor is a very old, and long lasting misnomer. When using a second vessel no fermentation is to be expected in this vessel. Should be called a brite vessel, for clearing the beer, or addition vessel for adding oak chips or fruit, or for long term aging of big beers.
You can leave your beer in the primary until fermentation is done and the beer has cleared. The yeast cake will not cause any off flavors, unless perhaps the beer is in the primary for several months or longer.
Typically you would start the fermentation at low controlled temperatures then raise the temperature at final gravity, if you feel it is necessary, after a week of fermentation. Fermentation temperature depends upon the yeast being used. Fermentation time is not a certain number of days and then it is done. The yeast work on their own schedule.
I would leave this beer alone for two more weeks. Maybe the SG will drop a little more.
If you used a refractometer for the last SG reading, check the SG with a hydrometer. Refractometers do not read correctly in the presence of alcohol.
Thanks , both of you for your replies. I’ve raised the temperature slightly and I’ll let it be for a couple of weeks.
I did use a Refractometer. I wasn’t aware of the inaccuracies, that’s good to know. I’ll wait until I take a further measurement, it’s not like I can change anything now.
Using your OG of 1.051 and the Refractometer Calculator on NB’s resource page ( a little trial and error) I figured your Original Brix reading was 12.7. (using the non-fermented section)
Then using your FG of 1.025 and the non-fermented section of the Calculator I got a Brix of 6.4
Then using the fermented section of the Calculator and the original Brix and final Brix your corrected FG would be near 1.009
Thanks for doing that. I feel much better about the brew now. I guess I should have read the instructions!!. As I mentioned, this is my first batch, and I’ve been reading up on all of this for the last few months, much of it at this site. I can’t wait to start my second.