My brother and I are making a batch of Scottish Ale, and it was recommended to rack it into a secondary fermenter after a week. Then leave it for two more weeks. We haven't really double-fermented anything before and I was just wondering if you guys could answer a few easy questions.
Should we pitch yeast with the secondary fermenter? I've heard contradictory things everywhere else I have investigated.
Will there be a lack of yeast when we go to bottle if we don't pitch a second round of yeast?
Any recommendations beyond those simple questions? Hints for a newb?
Secondary fermentation is a misnomer. What you are really doing is racking off the yeast cake into a new vessel. It's really more appropriate to consider this stage as a clearing stage and the secondary fermenter your brite tank.
If you are able to keep your fermentation temperatures low, your beer should brighten up quite a bit. The Scottish ales really only differ from the English ales because of long cold fermentations.
There should be plenty of suspended yeast in the beer, s oI wouldn't worry about adding yeast. You'll want to let the beer warm up some at bottling to re-activate the suspended yeast.
Ditto. You're really not refermenting at all, brewpup. Racking to a secondary is not a necessary step, per se, but depending on the style of beer you're brewing, and where you wanna go with it, a secondary is a good idea for the reasons olllllo already stated. There may continue to be a little bit of activity in the airlock whilst in secondary, but this is expected (release of more CO2), but your fermentation should basically be complete before racking over to secondary ... you can confirm this with a hydrometer reading to see if you've hit your target F.G.
Racking to a secondary also buys you some time with regard to bottling, since you've removed the beer from the large amount of trub at the bottom of the primary and you're far less likely to risk off-flavors from the autolysis of yeast (dead yeast). You'll note a layer of trub in your secondary, too, but this is normal. As the beer clears, the yeast and other particles (hops, husks, coagulated proteins, etc.) in suspension will settle out.
Here's to clear beer! Unless, of course, you're brewing a Bavarian-style wheat! ;)
I wouldn't worry about repitching yeast in the secondary. IMHO, the only time that is an issue is when you are lagering a beer at cold temperatures - 34 to 42 degrees F - and keeping it at these temperatures for six or more weeks.
Generally when I put an ale in the secondary (usually glass for my process) I keep it there generally 7 to 10 days so it clears more and I don't get as much settling in the bottom of my bottles. I have never had an issue with yeast availability and viability for carbonation. I'd be more afraid of creating 'bottle bombs' by adding too much yeast.
Hope this helps! Good luck, I know it will turn out fine.
I know ALOT of brewers who dont secondary anything... I only secondary if the beer is going to take a long time to ferment out(more then 8-12 weeks...) but then alot say it helps clear the beer they are making....
IMHO leave it in primary for 3 weeks then bottle and condition for atleast 2 weeks then enjoy.... Racking from one place to another in just introducing more of a chance for the beer to get an infection....
And to answer the second question about the yeast... you will have MORE then enough yeast for bottleing no matter in you keep it in primary for 3 week or rack to a secondary ..... biggest beer I have brewed took 6 months to ferment out and another 3 months in the bottle to condition.... was still plenty of yeast to get the job done....
P.S. your not double fermenting BTW... when you secondary your moving the beer off the trub and yeast cake to another fermenter to let it continue working and or bulk age and mature.... A double fermentation would be either adding more wort to a secondary fermentor after racking or adding something such as fruit juices or other fermentables to a secondary fermentor and racking... and letting it ferment all over again... (technically bottle conditioned beers are double fermented and some beers will say as much on the labels...)