I know not everyone transfers to a secondary but for those that do, when do you move yours? I’m on my fist batch ever and have read alot of different times to move it. I’ve read when the bubbles in your airlock are about 20 seconds apart, i’ve read 1 minute apart, i read some people transfer based on gravity, some just go by 7 days. my batch has been in the primary for 5 solid days now. bubbles are about 13 seconds apart. i’m in no rush to move it to dry hop but just wondering when the best time to do it is.
You want to transfer when fermentation is complete. How ever long that takes can vary. Please don’t use the air lock as a means of telling when your beer is done with fermentation. I would start checking gravity after 2 weeks. I take it you have a hydrometer? If you don’t. I would keep it in the primary for 4 weeks And skip the secondary. if you do want to go into a secondary,make sure you sanitize well before racking.
thanks for the response. i do have a hydrometer. i took my initial reading before i transfered wort into primary. if i shouldnt go by the airlock how do i know the fermentation is complete? my recipe calls for dry hopping in a secondary, which i have. do i realy wanna put fresh hops in with all the dead yeast? i’m new at this so my last question might not even be a problem. 4 weeks in the primary seems like a long time.
Get yourself a hydrometer and a tall tube-looking flask. You could also get a beer thief but a regular turkey bastener will do.
Sanitize everything, then sample a little bit of beer from the carboy, pour it into the flask and then insert the hydrometer. It will float and scales inside the hydrometer will show you the gravity. Read it at the liquid line. If you get the proper, stable reading for a few days then it’s ready for secondary.
Obviously, don’t just sample 2 days after, give it a week or more and then start checking up on it.
Edit: I see you do have a hydrometer but I’ll cover the whole process just in case.
Honestly I have never thought it was worth that much fuss. I say forget the hydrometer. Unless you are cold fermenting a lager or something like that it should be done in 5-7 days. You should be able to tell just by looking at it if it has fermented most of the way out.
Personally, I try to rack after 7 days, but sometimes leave it longer if I am lazy. Since it is not completely necesary anyway, I just tend to do it to get it off the major part of the yeast cake. Then I leave it another 7 days for more sediment to drop out and keg it.
The only time I use a secondary is for dry hopping or to bulk age a bigger beer. In both cases, I wait at least 3 weeks before transferring. I usually will do a gravity check to make sure it’s as low as I want it, too.
I secondary occasionally but for the most part it is a waste of effort. If you want to rack to secondary, you really need to wait until fermentation is like 95% complete, if not 100%. If you’re not sure if you should rack yet, then wait longer. That is the best advice I can give. Otherwise it is like pulling the rug right out from under the beer – not fair to the yeast beasts and not fair to the beer either.
thanks for the response. i do have a hydrometer. i took my initial reading before i transfered wort into primary. if i shouldnt go by the airlock how do i know the fermentation is complete? my recipe calls for dry hopping in a secondary, which i have. do i realy wanna put fresh hops in with all the dead yeast? i’m new at this so my last question might not even be a problem. 4 weeks in the primary seems like a long time.[/quote]
You want to basically take hydrometer readings a few days apart. So say you think fermentation is over today, then on Sat you take another reading to make sure the gravity is the same as today’s. If it is the same it’s done. Also make sure you pour back and forth and tast the sample to see if it’s flat. I did not do that the first time and thought it had stopped but when i checked again (and the gravity was still at 1.012) i did the pour to get rid of bubbles and it dropped another .002. might help with accuracy a little…
I did the Black IPA and it was ready to transfer in about 10 days. Just depends on the gravity.
When reading “Brew Chem 101”, the author recommends a 2-week primary fermentation, which accounts for the majority of yeast action to clean up. Transferring to a secondary can rely on this “rule of thumb” or for fail-safe assurance, use the hydrometer to determine the appropriate final gravity.