Use of a Secondary with Weizens

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

Moderator: slothrob

Use of a Secondary with Weizens

Postby Mitchell » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:10 pm

Hello All

I'm a relatively new brewer. Have my 12th batch in primary, a weizen. I have brewed a number of IPAs and Pale Ales and have used racking into secondary for most of them with excellent results.

The Weizen of course has a much lower OG and a much lower IBU (and hence leaf material) in it. R

Many recipes I have seen for Weizens bottle directly after primary fermentation is complete. I also note that some of them (even Ashton Lewis) keep the primary going for up to 2 ore more weeks (something I've never done before for concerns about yeast die-off and the off flavors that can result).

My primary is going at about 65 degrees. OG was 1056. Using an White Labs American Ale.

So, two questions:

1)Thoughts about racking into secondary with Weizens ? and

2)How long should primary fermentation go with Weizens( comments about measuring stability of TG appreciated too !!)


Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:21 pm

I rack

Postby brewmeisterintng » Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:59 pm

I rack to recover the yeast from the primay. There are folks out there that don't secondary and have good results. Thats with the beer sitting on the yeast for up to a month. I, myself, normally primary for a week and secondary for two before kegging.
Why are you not using a weizen yeast? Without it you will just have a wheat beer.
User avatar
Strong Ale
Strong Ale
Posts: 382
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:47 pm
Location: Clarksville, TN

Postby Mitchell » Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:18 pm

Thanks for the input. Appreciate it !

Excellent question as to the yeast. ...It's all I had !

I live in a small town in Western Colorado and just felt like going for it rather than waiting for my next trip to Denver to get Weizen yeast. Next time, I most certainly will !!
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:21 pm

Alternative source of yeast ...

Postby billvelek » Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:58 pm

I also live a good distance from my LHBS, so it's not very convenient to make a long trip just to pick up yeast if I already have everything else. Sooo ... what I do if I want to brew and don't have any yeast ... (which doesn't happen very often, but in 12 years of brewing, it does happened a few times) that I prepare a starter solution in a sanitized container (I use a 1 quart Tropicana plastic bottle). My starter solution consists of a relatively small amount of either DME (if I have it on hand) or regular table sugar (enough to reach a gravity of just about 1.020 so as to not shock the yeast or effect the character of the brew that I am making) ... plus some yeast nutrient/energizer (which I usually have on hand), plus about a tablespoon of bread yeast (the dissolved 'innards' contain what new yeast need) , and a drop of olive oil (for the trans-fats that reduce the need for oxygenation). I boil all of that to sanitize and also boil off chlorine in the water, and cool it to room temp. Then I get a clean pitcher and begin to fill it with about 6 or 8 homebrews, and then I swirl the bottles real well and then dump the last half-ounce or so of each bottle into the starter solution. Now, I drink my beers fairly quick, so I'm not talking about bottles that have been sitting on the shelf for three months; that might make a difference. Anyway, I put the pitcher in the frig and serve myself as needed, and periodically shake the dickens out of my starter to aerate it. By the time I'm ready to pitch, the yeast have awakened, and I've always gotten a good krauesen going by sometime the next day. If you will look at the amount of slurry in the bottom of a bottle, and then multiply that by 6 or 8, I'm sure that I'm pitching as much as a regular packet of dried yeast, or more. Anyway, it works for me ... but your mileage may vary.

Hope that helps someone.


Bill Velek
Visit - portal to my brewing sites: 3,100+ members on 'Grow-Hops', and 1,350+ brewers on my 'BrewingEquip' group.
Running BTP v1.5.3 on WinXP 2005 SP3 w/AMD Athlon 64@3800+, 1GigRam, Res 1024x768
User avatar
Imperial Stout
Imperial Stout
Posts: 801
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2004 10:44 am
Location: Arkansas, USA

Re: Use of a Secondary with Weizens

Postby slothrob » Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:11 pm

Mitchell wrote:So, two questions:

1)Thoughts about racking into secondary with Weizens ? and

2)How long should primary fermentation go with Weizens( comments about measuring stability of TG appreciated too !!)

1) I don't secondary Hefe Weizens, because you want the beer to have yeast in suspension. The secondary really only serves as a clearing tank except for beers that need to be bulk aged for an extended period. Unless the temperature gets very high, it takes a long time for the yeast to die and cause off flavors, probably months.

2) I primary a Hefe Weizen just until the gravity has stabilized for a few days. Once I think the beer has finished fermenting, and a few days before I hope to bottle the beer I take a gravity reading. Then I take a second reading on the day I want to bottle. If the readings are the same, I bottle. Two weeks is usually sufficient for a Hefe Weizen, because they also tend to ferment quickly. You really want to get a Weizen into the bottles as soon as it's safe, because they are best when young.

3) Here's an answer to a question you didn't ask. The beer you made has a lot of wheat malt in it, but it isn't a Hefe Weizen, so a lot of what I said doesn't apply. What you made was an American Wheat, which is essentially a Blond Ale made with a lot of wheat. For that kind of beer, I'd treat it differently. I'd primary for 2 weeks, secondary for another week or two to clear most of the yeast, then bottle. Unlike a Weizen, that usually is best as young as possible, a beer like this might improve with a little aging.
BTP v2.0.* Windows XP
User avatar
Posts: 1834
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:36 pm
Location: Greater Boston

Return to Techniques, Methods, Tips & How To

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest