Building A Winter Warmer #3

After about a week, maybe ten days, the yeast has mellowed out enough that it’s time to put the beer into secondary. I made this beer after Justin asked if I’d been giving beers enough time in primary, so since then I’ve been paying more attention to see if the yeast has really settled or if I’m just rushing through things by rote.

The trick is, each beer is different and when I re-use a yeast, as I did with the warmer, the take off and slow down times shift, usually accelerating, then when I start with a fresh yeast. When I use a fresh yeast it usually takes twenty-four hours to really get going. With a yeast that’s already been used in a beer, the activity can start within two hours. I’m pretty sure this is because by re-using the yeast I’ve essentially made a starter for the beer and the yeast is primed and ready to go, instead of needing to acclimate and grow.

However, in this case I waited for nine days before putting the warmer into secondary and it sits nicely here: winter warmer in secondary

It’s not an exciting process or one that has a lot of interesting photo opportunities. Beer starts in carboy A, goes into carboy B and that’s about it.

Prior to that, of course, everything has to be sanitized; the syphon, the airlock and the empty carboy. Again, not a real exciting process, but this is as good a time as any to mention that I use iodophor to sanitize my equipment. I try to give things about a day to dry out; I know small amounts of the sanitizer won’t kill me but others have told me that in some of my brews a touch of the iodophor remains when I don’t let things dry for very long.

Nothing enhances the flavor like sanitizer, right? Right?

I’m kidding of course; I just want to make the best beer I can so letting equipment dry overnight seems like a good precaution.

Anyway, after it’s transfered, the equipment needs to be cleaned, especially the primary fermenting carboy. The mess that’s left at the bottom of a carboy looks much like this: wort sludge

You can imagine why cleaning is so important, yes?

I suppose it’s also worth mentioning that this photo-which isn’t that awesome to begin with-was taken after I’d dumped a good portion of the sludge out already. Usually this goes into compost or to feed the raspberry plants outside. The point is; there’s usually a couple inches worth of sludge at the bottom, minimum. It’s not lethal-yeast, hops and the grains leftover from the boil that made it in-but I wouldn’t eat it, you know?

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2 thoughts on “Building A Winter Warmer #3”

  1. Ack! Sanitizing and cleaning! Thanks for reminding me why I haven’t picked up home brewing in such a long time. Sanitizing isn’t thaaaaaat difficult, but I always stressed about it after getting an infection in one of my early beers. Anyway, I need to get over that as, in general, this series of blogs has been inspirational.

    1. I get a little aggro about cleaning things right away, because I’m lazy and don’t want to have to do it when it’s difficult. But sanitizing I just do piecemeal throughout a day. Sometimes I forget and leave things in overnight but for the most part it works pretty well.

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