Racking

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Racking

Postby MarkF » Wed May 17, 2017 10:14

I have been brewing for a couple of years now, starting off with a Youngs kit, fermenting bucket and plastic barrel.

Last few months I have moved to a Fastfermenter and metal kegs with a Co2 bottle, cornelius counter cooler and dual taps.

In the past I have racked off halfway through the fermenting into a clean bucket so the beer isn't sat on a layer of yeast too long and left it to go for the remainder of the time, then added finings/gelatine let it stand for 3 days before kegging and adding 5 campden tablets then pressuring up to 20 or 35 psi for 3 days.

I have not had an issue with exposing the beer to air in the way of contamination so far.

Now I have added a brew fridge to the equation, so racking off is not quite so easy as with the fast fermenter it was a case of just remove the collection bottle empty and replace, taps on the bottom of my buckets means I don't have to syphon, but I am thinking it easier to just rack off once now once fermentation has ceased into a bucket then add the finings/gelatine before racking into the keg.

I guess my question is, what are peoples thoughts about transferring half way through to avoid the yeasty taste? I understand some brewers do rack off as soon as the really fast fermentation process is over ie 3-4 days and let the rest carry on in a cleaner container.

Also once the finings are added, any point dropping the temp in the fridge with bitter/ale or just leave it covered on the bench in the garage?

I am really still learning and experimenting, this advice was given to me by my brewshop owner who has been doing this for many years.

FYI its a Youngs American IPA on the go, at 5% after 7 days :notworthy: should take 15 days and its sat nicely at 22 degrees in the fridge, will be interesting to see if the lack of daylight affects things at all, previously my fermentation has been in a room with plenty of natural light.
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Re: Racking

Postby robwalker » Thu May 18, 2017 13:05

It's the old secondary argument! Wheee. The can of worms is open.
For most brewers there isn't much sense in transferring, unless you are racking into an ingredient (oak, fruit, dry hops) and want maximum exposure.
Removal of yeast is primarily used to salvage yeast in systems like Union, Yorkshire Squares etc. In a union system (Burton union, Firestone union) the fermentation pushes the brown yeast out leaving healthy yeast for the next brew.
Transferring to a conditioning vessel should only be done once fermentation has finished, otherwise you'll drastically reduce the amount of yeast in the beer which is needed for diacetyl removal, acetyldehyde removal and in some cases carbonation.
Adding Finings can be done at either point, if you add them in keg you'll need to remove them via the tap, or cut the spear short so the Finings stay below the level that the beers taken from. In primary it secondary you can simply rack away from them - both are easy.
You're doing nothing wrong for sure but I wouldn't call a secondary vessel an essential step.
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Re: Racking

Postby MarkF » Thu May 18, 2017 13:40

Thanks Rob, its all a big adventure for me still :)

I obviously need to do a bit of reading as i didn't understand some of the long words you used :), having read around a bit I am going to rack off at the end of fermentation, add dry hops in a bag or sprinkle, not sure yet depends if they float or break down. Leave for a few days then add finings and crash in the fridge, or is it okay to add finings at the same time as the hops? I did read about adding the dry hops after the crash as it can remove the aroma.

Lots to try and a good excuse to drink and make more.

Consider the lid back on the can.
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Re: Racking

Postby PhatFil » Thu May 18, 2017 16:08

i dont know that racking off will reduce any yeasty taste, the yeast in suspension will drop out as sediment eventually once all food has been exhausted and they die or fall into a dormant state. finnings may aid in the process but mixing them in undos a lot of the settling out and re-disturbs sediment thats already fallen out.

Lots of things done on the commercial scale dont always prove useful when brewing at home, We dont have a great demand to get the primary complete and over in a few days so the product can ship asap, So can be happy to leave primary chugging along for a week or two, which allows gravity to do most of what finnings do on the commercial scale.

may i suggest you try a few brews without a secondary transfer and finnings addition to see what impact (if any) it has on your final beer?

The Usual argument against a secondary transfer is the increase in risk of exposure to O2 and errant microlife however such risks can be minimised by careful procedures.

IF anything a crash chill should aid any finnings addition to clarify the brew even faster. afaik the two procedures are not mutually exclusive.


i dont think a crash chill can remove hop aroma, if served cold the aroma's will be muted as they represent the most volatile oils from the hops, if anything it would i consider consolidate the aromas? but thats just a lay opinion and not any statement of fact i can back up..

experiment to discover what falls into place naturally for you and what has the best impact on the brew, for every brewer who agrees with most of my post there will be another who doesent.. at the end of the day the common consensus isnt in agreement and the right answer is what suits you and your brewing best..
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Re: Racking

Postby MarkF » Thu May 18, 2017 17:50

PhatFil wrote:i dont know that racking off will reduce any yeasty taste, the yeast in suspension will drop out as sediment eventually once all food has been exhausted and they die or fall into a dormant state. finnings may aid in the process but mixing them in undos a lot of the settling out and re-disturbs sediment thats already fallen out.


So far all finings additions have been done in the fastfermenter where you can just shut off the dropped yeast with a valve, then reopen to let it all settle, so first time in a bucket hence my thought about transfer the beer off the trub first.

PhatFil wrote:Lots of things done on the commercial scale dont always prove useful when brewing at home, We dont have a great demand to get the primary complete and over in a few days so the product can ship asap, So can be happy to leave primary chugging along for a week or two, which allows gravity to do most of what finnings do on the commercial scale.

may i suggest you try a few brews without a secondary transfer and finnings addition to see what impact (if any) it has on your final beer?


I have done a few in the past without finings, but that was using secondary fermentation and plastic barrels/bottles, always cloudy with sediment, some like that I don't, so now I am force carbing. In the early days all the beers tasted the same and it was hit and miss with carbonation too.

PhatFil wrote:The Usual argument against a secondary transfer is the increase in risk of exposure to O2 and errant microlife however such risks can be minimised by careful procedures.

IF anything a crash chill should aid any finnings addition to clarify the brew even faster. afaik the two procedures are not mutually exclusive.


i dont think a crash chill can remove hop aroma, if served cold the aroma's will be muted as they represent the most volatile oils from the hops, if anything it would i consider consolidate the aromas? but thats just a lay opinion and not any statement of fact i can back up..

experiment to discover what falls into place naturally for you and what has the best impact on the brew, for every brewer who agrees with most of my post there will be another who doesent.. at the end of the day the common consensus isnt in agreement and the right answer is what suits you and your brewing best..


Thanks Fil, thought provoking and I am quickly realising there is more than one way to brew a beer, my aim ATM is a good tasting beer which is clear and correctly carbonated, so I may have to move away from kits and go grain :doh:
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Re: Racking

Postby Rolfster » Thu May 18, 2017 18:16

With my dry hops I put while hops in a mesh bag that's been sanitised or drop pellets straight in.
Whole hops can block up pipes and taps.
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Re: Racking

Postby MarkF » Thu May 18, 2017 18:27

Rolfster wrote:With my dry hops I put while hops in a mesh bag that's been sanitised or drop pellets straight in.
Whole hops can block up pipes and taps.


Thanks Rolfster, these are pellets so I take it they will either break down or sink to the bottom?
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Re: Racking

Postby Rolfster » Thu May 18, 2017 19:01

Yes. They break down and then over a few days sink to the bottom.
Even if you do get a bit of transfer to the bottling bucket it's no drama.
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Re: Racking

Postby MarkF » Thu May 18, 2017 19:26

Rolfster wrote:Yes. They break down and then over a few days sink to the bottom.
Even if you do get a bit of transfer to the bottling bucket it's no drama.


Great thats a good bit of info, thank you.
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