Very active secondary

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Gorm, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. Gorm

    Gorm New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2016
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Vacouver, BC Canada
    I would like to hear your thoughts on why my secondary(s) seem to be more active than my primary(s). My last two batches have had poor carbon release (visible gas release - air lock activity) in the primary. But when I transferred to the secondary the activity is what I would expect in the primary. I know "bubbles" in the air lock are not the end all and be all of measuring the status of my batch. But, the activity seems backward. Its very flat in primary, overactive in the secondary. I've only brewed about 10 to fifteen batches using partial mash but I haven't experienced this before.
    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Messages:
    315
    Likes Received:
    137
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Sunny So Cal
    My guess would be that you didn't get a complete primary fermentation in the primary, then triggered more yeast activity when you racked it into the secondary.

    As you mentioned, visible signs of fermentation are not the best way to monitor its progress. If you have a sluggish starting yeast you may be fooled into thinking that the primary stage is done when in fact it may be just getting started. The best bet would be to take SG readings and wait until at least 2/3 of the expected gravity drop has occurred before you rack it. Of course, a vigorous starter is the best way to be sure your fermentation gets off to a crisp, active start.
     
    Wood House Hall and J A like this.
  3. Myndflyte

    Myndflyte Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2016
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    59
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Keep in mind that when you transfer, not only are you stirring up yeast, so fermentation could kick up again, but the general agitation of the beer is going to release CO2 that is already dissolved in the liquid. So the increased bubbling may not be fermentation but just CO2 releasing from the liquid due to the transfer. The only way to really know would be to take gravity readings before and after transfer to see where the beer is at and how it ends.
     
    Wood House Hall and Trialben like this.
  4. Gorm

    Gorm New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2016
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Vacouver, BC Canada
    Thanks all. The first batch I used a first generation washed yeast from a previous primary (US05). This last one I used a single package of US05 with no starter. Both were 5 gallon batches. I always make sure the FG is stable (2 consistent readings over 2 days) before racking to the secondary. My biggest concern is how the yeast is holding over to the secondary and, how it may produce bottle bombs once I add sugar to prime for bottling. I've had that experience once already. Not Fun!
    I guess a solution is to repeat the SG/FG readings over a two day period prior to bottling to ensure it has completely stabilized.
    Thanks again for your feedback. I just wanted to make sure I'm not getting so grey-haired that I forgot something stupid in the primary process.
     
    Wood House Hall likes this.
  5. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Sounds like you're rushing it. That or infection is about the only reason to have bottle bombs. Patience.
     
  6. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    9,442
    Likes Received:
    9,512
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Pest control tech
    Location:
    Palmwoods QLD
    And temperature swings with fermentation. You might get a cold snap close to end of fermentation yeast floculate out as they are want to do with This yeast. Then you think sweet beers done I'll bottle then put in a warm place to carb then yeast are re suspended secondary or third fermentation kicks off in bottle then boom! No more beer.

    As is my least favourite part of Homebrewing "patience" is comely for a homebrewer.
     
  7. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    3,476
    Likes Received:
    2,694
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Seems to me that if you're reaching your projected FG in primary and continuing to ferment after transfer, you weren't done and didn't reach the full potential of the beer. The very active secondary fermentation is a good indicator that you had a stall and kicked up the yeast so that fermentation started up again and found more sugars or just transferred a little early.
    I wouldn't worry about getting 100% fermentation in primary and assume that there should be some activity in secondary. You don't mention how long your primary and secondary stages are, but if you're in primary for around 5 days and starting to slow way down before transfer and then in secondary for 10 days or so and dead clear with identical readings over a couple of days, you shouldn't have any trouble.
     
    Wood House Hall likes this.

Share This Page

arrow_white