Fermenting Barleywine: to secondary or not to secondary...

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Xendelaar, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. Xendelaar

    Xendelaar New Member

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    That's the question! ;)


    I’ve been working on a big bad barleywine:

    Batchsize: 10 liters (2.64 gallons)
    Yeast: WYEAST 1214 (with starter)
    OG: 1.106
    FG: (hopefully somewhere in the range of 1.023)
    Link to recipe
    Link to brew day album


    The wort has been fermenting for 3 days now and as soon as primary fermenting is done, I want to add rum soaked wood chips in the batch to enhance the flavor. I’m planning to submerge the wood chips for 3 weeks (or so).

    The beer is currently stored in a plastic 30 liter container. I’m thinking of transferring it to a glass container to avoid oxidation due to permeation. Here's a picture of the container:

    [​IMG]


    My questions:
    • Should I transfer the beer to the glass container to avoid autolyze and oxidation? Or should I just let the beer stay in the current container?
      If I should transfer the beer, when should I do this? After 4 days? 7 days? 14 days?
    • For bottling (carbonation) , will I be able to activate the dormant yeast after 3 weeks of being in secondary? Or will they be dead?
    • Any other tips? :)
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Mmmm oxidation is of course a result in taking a peep at fermentation after high krausen is finnished which i looks to me like it either is heading towards or dropping off lol. For a barley wine i guess complete fermentation or attenuation may take some time a week or two ive rarely had a beer ferment longer than two but im low gravity.

    Id like to see what others opinions on wood chips and beer aging are ive got some french oak chips awaiting a day like yours;). If it were me and this is uneducated hypothetically speeking id ferment it out in the primary fermentor till no gravity movement after 3 days rack to purged recieving keg which has my oak chips at the bottom carb it up slightly and leave it there for a year!:)
     
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  3. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    I would leave it in primary until fermented, probably about 2 or 3 weeks. Then rack on chips and leave there for as long as you can stay away. When aged in barrels it can sit a month or a year. Even after a year there should be yeast to bottle carb with or if your concerned you can add a little. How long on chips is a matter of your taste.
     
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  4. Xendelaar

    Xendelaar New Member

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    so what you guys are saying is not to transfer the 10l beer to a 10l glass vessel and just let the beer age with the chips inside the 30l plastic permeable barrel as long as i can?
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    You let more O2 in by taking the lid off than will ever leak through the plastic - oxidation is not your concern. How long do you intend to age it before bottling? If you intend to leave it in the bucket longer than a couple months, rack the beer off the yeast cake to another vessel to avoid autolysis flavors from dying yeast. Otherwise, why move it unless you have to? Again, you're exposing the beer to more oxygen by racking it, assuming you don't purge your carboy with some inert gas, than the plastic will ever allow through.
     
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  6. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    What I meant was yes move it after it has finished fermenting.
     
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  7. Xendelaar

    Xendelaar New Member

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    I'm planning to soak the wood chips for a month or so.

    so I'll let the beer do its thing in the first container and after fermentation ill transfer it to the glass bottle where i add the wood chips to avoid autolyse.

    thanks for the advice everybody
     
  8. Beer_Pirate

    Beer_Pirate Active Member

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    Have you used wood chips before? I'm sure a barleywine can stand up to it, but a month on the wood can add a LOT of wood character to the beer. You may also want to consider putting the chips in some cheap alcohol (water will work in a pinch) for a few days and dumping whatever liquid comes of that. Then, add your rum of choice and use to your liking. This helps extract tannins and will make your added flavor much smoother.
     
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  9. Xendelaar

    Xendelaar New Member

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    Hey @Beer_Pirate

    Very good question! This will be my first time using chips! I already pretreated the chips as follows:

    - I baked the chips 30 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees celcius (man, the aroma from the oven was awesome!)
    - I stored the chips in a jar filled with 2000ml vodka (40% alc) and 100 ml strorum (90% alc) for 4 weeks

    The tannins should be extracted by now, right? Honestly, I'm kind of worried that I had the chips stored in the alcohol mixture a bit too long..

    I´m planning to use 3 grams chips / litre beer (sorry, don't know the imperial units by heart)

    Do you think steeping the chips in the beer for 3 to 4 weeks is long enough? Or is it still too long? I'm planning to taste a sample every week! (Y)
     
  10. Beer_Pirate

    Beer_Pirate Active Member

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    Sounds like you've got this process under control! I wouldn't worry too much about the chips being stored for too long. I've heard of people storing them at alternating hot/cold temperatures for months to try to mimic a barrel aging in a warehouse (waaaay too much work for something that I doubt is noticeable in the finished product, IMO). And if you are taking a sample weekly, sounds like you'll be able to tell when it's where you want it. Personally, I sample closer together when it's nearing my desired level of flavor contribution, but then you have to balance that with how many times you want to risk contamination, losing beer, etc.
     
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  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    The only time I used wood chips I steamed them to kill any baddies and racked onto them.
     
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  12. Xendelaar

    Xendelaar New Member

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    #12 Xendelaar, Dec 1, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
    @Beer_Pirate : Thanks for the re-assurance. There so many small choices to make that can impact the beer. :)
    I will sample more often after one week to measure the flavour of my oaked beer. :D Should I let the chips soak at room temperature or a bit lower temp? Sooo many questions hehe. I love this hobby.

    @Trialben: how did you steam the chips? in a pan? Didn't the chips give a bitter tannins taste after steeping the beer with it? I read that you have to extract the tannins to get a smooth flavour. What concentration of chips did you use? how long did you soak them in your beer? how did it taste? :)

    In other news:
    Tomorrow, the beer will be fermenting for a week (at 17 degrees C (62.6F) , which is pretty cold for the WYEAST 1214).
    This evening, the bubbling has subsided .Since I don't have a climate controlled fridge for my fermenter (yet), I'm thinking of transferring the container to a warmer room (21 degrees C (70F) to get a higher attenuation during the second week in primary... but I will first check the SG. I don't want half of the sugars being fermented at a higher temperature because then it gets a distinct banana smell which isn't what I'm looking for.

    any suggestions are very welcome.
     

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