I told you that I would try to share with you when I transfered my most recent batch of beer into the secondary fermenter. In case you missed my original brewing posts about a week ago you can check it out here...
First of all, the reason for transferring into a secondary fermentation container is to get the beer off of the sediment that falls out of the original mixture. This includes malt & hop sediment as well as dormant yeast. If the beer sits on this sediment "cake" for too long it can lead to off flavors.
Having explained that I can now explain my first task here in getting ready for the transfer. This task is sterilization and it is another way to keep odd flavors or (God forbid) batch ruining contaminates from creeping into your beer. I know that I talked about sterilization in the earlier steps but I want to stress it here. I may be a little more neurotic than I need to be in keeping everything clean but from what I have learned that is the best way to make sure you produce good beer.
Now, what you see here is my 5 gallon glass carboy, B-Brite cleanser sterilizing agent, bottle washer, garden hose, funnel, and a sink of sterilizing solution with a stopper and a new air lock. These tools are what I use to get hot water and sterilizer into the carboy (this is the secondary fermenter BTW). Let me stop here to talk a bit about the use of a 5 gal. secondary fermenter as opposed to the 6+ gal primary. The primary fermentation is REALLY active. It produces a large head on the beer and releases a lot of carbon dioxide. It is enough CO2 to push the oxygen out and keep it out for the period of fermentation. For the secondary fermentation stage you want as little space for air in your container as possible. The fermentation has slowed WAY down by this point and you don't want to allow oxidation in your beer. That can cause off flavors too so keeping air away from your beer in this stage is a good idea. The only other tool that I really want to mention here is the bottle washer. This is a MUST have if you are bottling your beer. Think about trying to sterilize and rinse your bottles without the right tool. It basically provides a pressure release nozzle that you can place your bottle on to shoot clean water through your container for quick and thorough rinsing. It is also great for rinsing the carboy to get the sterilizing mixture out. That is what I am using it for here.
OK, this post is already long enough. Now that everything is sterile time to get ready to transfer the beer.
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