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How long in secondary?

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colm89

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Brewed an imperial stout last Sunday (10 litre batch in a spiedel 12l fermenter), pitched it with Nottingham ale yeast, lobbed it in the ferminator and left it to get to work at 17 degrees.

I don’t know why but I thought I’d have a peek today (4 days in) and was greeted with this delightful sight:



It was a stroke of genius that I popped it in a container on Sunday otherwise there might have been a right old mess!

Anyway, it had fermented right out to the target fg so I racked 5 litres each to the two glass demijohns I had knocking around (and took the opportunity to throw a small splash of bushmills into one) and cleaned everything up:



But here’s my question, seeing as it has reached target fg, and I’ve racked it to the secondary with no trub, how long should I leave it here before bottling? Could I get away with bottling this weekend? Or should I leave it til next weekend as planned (full two weeks)?
 

Obadiah Boondoggle

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Brewed an imperial stout last Sunday (10 litre batch in a spiedel 12l fermenter), pitched it with Nottingham ale yeast, lobbed it in the ferminator and left it to get to work at 17 degrees.

I don’t know why but I thought I’d have a peek today (4 days in) and was greeted with this delightful sight:



It was a stroke of genius that I popped it in a container on Sunday otherwise there might have been a right old mess!

Anyway, it had fermented right out to the target fg so I racked 5 litres each to the two glass demijohns I had knocking around (and took the opportunity to throw a small splash of bushmills into one) and cleaned everything up:



But here’s my question, seeing as it has reached target fg, and I’ve racked it to the secondary with no trub, how long should I leave it here before bottling? Could I get away with bottling this weekend? Or should I leave it til next weekend as planned (full two weeks)?
The key is really that your fg is stable for 2 days plus. Fermentation usually happens faster than people imagine it will, however

Even if you have reached target gravity there might still be some fermenting to go. So if it is at the same gravity on Sat you could bottle then

At the same time you do need to allow time for it to condition properly - either by leaving it in the demijohns or after you bottle. An Imperial Stout in particular would benefit from allowing its flavours to fully develop through conditioning

The best flavour will come if you allow sufficient conditioning time (as boring as this is). A simple rule is allow a week for every 10 points above 1000 the OG was i.e. OG = 1050 then allow 5 weeks

Conditioning is best in a cold environment

So leave it in the demijohns for the appropriate number of weeks in a cold place then bottle it and let it secondarily ferment (in a warm place) for another two

Or bottle at the weekend, let the 2ndy fermentation happen for two weeks in a warm place then leave them somewhere cold place to condition for the appropriate number of weeks

I always leave my brews to condition properly before, in my case, kegging them
 

colm89

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Thanks for the response!

To be clear, my intention was to leave it in the primary fermenter for 2 weeks at 17 degrees, then bottle condition for 2 weeks (or more likely, indefinitely, because I don’t get through 10 litres of 9.2% stout in a hurry).

I never had any intention to rack to a secondary but the circumstances forced my hand and I took a gravity reading while I was at it.

Would it matter if it conditioned in the secondary fermenter or in bottles?

Is it likely there’d be any yeast in suspension given all of it was left behind in the primary?
 

Obadiah Boondoggle

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Thanks for the response!

To be clear, my intention was to leave it in the primary fermenter for 2 weeks at 17 degrees, then bottle condition for 2 weeks (or more likely, indefinitely, because I don’t get through 10 litres of 9.2% stout in a hurry).

I never had any intention to rack to a secondary but the circumstances forced my hand and I took a gravity reading while I was at it.

Would it matter if it conditioned in the secondary fermenter or in bottles?

I never had any intention to rack to a secondary but the circumstances forced my hand and I took a gravity reading while I was at it.
Sounds like you were spot on with what you did

Would it matter if it conditioned in the secondary fermenter or in bottles?
No - whatever suits

Is it likely there’d be any yeast in suspension given all of it was left behind in the primary?
It's as certain as Christmas that there are some yeast cells left, in the FV there will have been several trillion of them, and it is a good thing that they are there as you need them for 2ndy fermentation

Don't be over concerned about trub at this point

Trub is made up of yeast cells, hop residue and blobs of protein molecules (which form when you boil the beer - and cause it to be hazy). The good thing about stout is, because it is not clear, it can hide a multitude of sins

Clearing agents such as Irish Moss or Protafloc help these protein molecules clump together and hence fall out of the beer

On the subject of Irish - what a lovely place Sligo is - it's where I introduced my father-in-law (now sadly no longer with us) to real Guinness as opposed to the muck that gets served over. He loved it

Best Wishes
 

colm89

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Yeah it’s a lovely spot indeed! I’ve only just moved here (from Dublin via 7 years in London)!
 
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