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Secondary fermentation - do I have to?

Discuss problems, tweaks, or anything else related to your beer kit based brews.

Postby FlimFlamFlo » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:01 pm

Hello,

I've brewed three batches from kit now, so still learning....I'm wondering if someone can advise here, please?

I've got a Munton's 'Hand Crafted Belgian Style Ale' kit. (http://www.homebrewwest.ie/muntons-hand ... 4846-p.asp)

The instructions call for transfer to a secondary bin after 5 days, at which time 500g spraymalt and 'about half a cup' of the yeast sediment should be added.

I have 2 questions:

1. I've read in quite a few places online that secondary is just another opportunity to add bacteria and oxygen to the brew, spoiling it, and it's not *that* necessary. Could I get away with dodging the transfer to the new bin but adding the spraymalt or should I go exactly as per the instructions?

2. What do you reckon Munton's mean by 'about half a cup'? I've been reading Charlie Papazian's 'The Homebrewer's Companion' and he reckons 125-250mls of yeast slurry per 19.1 litres of wort, leaning towards the upper end. So for my 23 litre bin, I guess I should aim for 300mls+ ?

Any advice most appreciated :-)

Cheers,
Flim
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Postby TheBeerNut » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:07 pm

I'd be inclined just to put all the fermentables in at the start and not bother with a secondary. The instructions sound overcomplicated.

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Postby FlimFlamFlo » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:45 pm

Thank you very much - for both the advice and the welcome :-)

It did seem a bit convoluted for a box kit. Am looking forward to cutting my teeth on the extract+ shortly.

There's an amber and minor bottle shortage between me and this Belgian but looking forward to it.

Thanks again,
Flim
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Postby Ciderhead » Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:22 pm

BN is right thats a faff

Unfortunately you can't put all fermentables in at start as yeast like a virgin in a brothel will be overwhelmed and all sorts off flavours given off from stress.
You are doing it as the target ABV and starting gravity 1068-9 (assuming it finishes at 1010)is too much for the yeast although 500g in 23l will only add 8-10 points gravity
so options;

1)Whole lot in a bucket, but well aerated and 2 packets of yeast
2)With extra spraymalt make a liquid starter a couple of days beforehand to make sure you have enough cells, after letting it settle pour of as much of liquid as possible retaining yeast and pitch.
3)Follow instructions but boil spraymalt in a litre of water, put into secodary bucket, after cooling to same temp of primary to avoid thermal shock, siphon primary on top into a secondary bucket, just as you would if you were batch priming. With a sanitised ladel scoop off the top of your primary trub your half cup of yeast cells, dont worry about bringing some trub with it.

If you are doing a couple of these kits, wash the remaining yeast from primary or secondary and put in fridge allowing you do option 2 above next time.
Kit only comes with one packet for cost reasons :(
Keep us posted.
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Postby Tube » Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:53 pm

Recommend you follow the instructions.

At a guess the step is to bump the gravity without an over pitch of yeast (which you'll get by putting it all in the one bucket). It's not really "secondary", it's more a primary part 2.
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Postby FlimFlamFlo » Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:06 pm

I forgot to come back to this and say how it worked out, so here goes...

I skipped the scoop and secondary, but what I did do was keep it in the FV for a good 10 days over the recommended 2 weeks. I also dry hopped with 50g each of Challenger and Summit 4 days before bottling. Ended up with an ABV of around 7.5%... and an absolutely EPIC beer that only got better the longer it was conditioned. Great colour, head retention and flavour.

I'd recommend this kit to anyone - I've tried a lot of different extract kits and this one has produced the best final beer by far. I've since moved on to grain but will buy another few of these for standby - they seem to be sold out in Ireland at the moment.

FWIW the Oaked Ale kit didn't ring my bell - just tasted of ashtrays.

Anyway, thanks for your help, everyone.
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Postby Bob Bobkins » Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:24 am

FlimFlamflo, what was your FG with this?

I have it going myself at the moment and it is down to 1.010 after 14 days.

I tend not to rush these things and leave in the tank for another week or more to try settle/clean-up a bit myself too.

I added the boost maltose at the start rather than two-step it as I fear oxygenating the crazz out of it while transferring.
Was making 2 kits at once when I made this and messed up and made it to 23L /o , but to be fair I am happier with a weaker beer (~5.25 ABV as of now) as 7.5% beers are a bad idea for nights before work!

Tempted to add a boost of dry-hops to this as you did, have 5-6 varieties on hand but at the same time, it has a nice subtleness ( tasting from tester) that might be wrecked by that, specific varieties recommendations that might accentuate but not wreck would be appreciated.

Not tried the Oaked from Munton's but tried Young's Oak aged ale ( comes with a sprinkling bag of oak dust assuming shaved from the inside of Rum barrels) and I thought it was decent but a *tad* harsh/roughness to it, the Belgian Saison of that range is the best in my opinion, on my 3rd run of brewing it, can't get enough!
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