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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: klickitat jim on December 11, 2013, 03:47:54 AM

Title: Secondary Poll
Post by: klickitat jim on December 11, 2013, 03:47:54 AM
On the homepage at AHA. Looks like I'm a low percentage brewer. Never use a secondary
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: tschmidlin on December 11, 2013, 04:29:24 AM
They're a good idea for extended secondary or actual secondary fermentation (like if you add fruit or something).  Completely unnecessary otherwise.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: majorvices on December 11, 2013, 12:55:57 PM
If you can transfer to an o2 free secondary (like a corny keg or bright tank) then it's great or, as Tom says, for fruit or other actual secondary fermentation.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: alestateyall on December 11, 2013, 01:12:33 PM
I never use a secondary either. Even for a beer which needs extended aging I would just move to a keg and store there on gas and in the fridge. I am not sure which beer would need to be aged off gas and at a warm temp. I suppose such beers exist.

Also I suppose some brewers age in secondary while they wait for an empty keg. I don't brew enough to have that problem.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 11, 2013, 01:22:01 PM
If you can transfer to an o2 free secondary (like a corny keg or bright tank) then it's great or, as Tom says, for fruit or other actual secondary fermentation.

+1.  I use one for these reasons too, and I use a purged secondary for dry hopping now as well.  Otherwise it isn't necessary.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: theDarkSide on December 11, 2013, 01:43:35 PM
I will use a secondary if I am dry hopping a beer and planning to reuse the yeast.  If I'm not reusing the yeast, I'll dry hop right in the primary.

Any other additional (spice, wood, etc) get added to the keg.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: thebigbaker on December 11, 2013, 02:04:02 PM

If you can transfer to an o2 free secondary (like a corny keg or bright tank) then it's great or, as Tom says, for fruit or other actual secondary fermentation.

I've stopped using carboys as a secondary fermenter.  If I do a secondary, it's in a purged keg. 
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on December 11, 2013, 03:16:11 PM
I was surprised by the poll, especially since I have heard of so many homebrewers going away from secondary.

I guess I haven't been homebrewing long enough to remember it being 'mandatory' in the general homebrew SOP.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: Jimmy K on December 11, 2013, 03:42:37 PM
I was surprised by the poll, especially since I have heard of so many homebrewers going away from secondary.

I guess I haven't been homebrewing long enough to remember it being 'mandatory' in the general homebrew SOP.
I think it's still common with beginner to intermediate homebrewers. Equipment kits are still sold with 'deluxe' versions including a carboy for secondary. Ingredient kits include secondary in their directions. Beersmith uses a two-stage ale fermentation schedule as it's default schedule. People learn this stuff early and are uneasy about letting go. Plus, it's a thing to do. It's hard to grasp doing nothing being more advanced than doing something.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: morticaixavier on December 11, 2013, 04:02:06 PM
I was surprised by the poll, especially since I have heard of so many homebrewers going away from secondary.

I guess I haven't been homebrewing long enough to remember it being 'mandatory' in the general homebrew SOP.
I think it's still common with beginner to intermediate homebrewers. Equipment kits are still sold with 'deluxe' versions including a carboy for secondary. Ingredient kits include secondary in their directions. Beersmith uses a two-stage ale fermentation schedule as it's default schedule. People learn this stuff early and are uneasy about letting go. Plus, it's a thing to do. It's hard to grasp doing nothing being more advanced than doing something.

Also, with recent finding about how yeast and hops play together I think some people are reconsidering secondaries for dry hopped beers regardless of yeast reuse plans.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: duboman on December 11, 2013, 04:02:15 PM
On the retail side, knowing several owners of LHBS around, it is one more item they can sell to the new brewer along with some of the other things you eventually find you didn't really need.

That being said I know a few brewers that still use them even though they know they don't need to for every beer. I just use them when oaking or adding fruit, that's it.

I'll bulk age in a purged corny or extended bottling conditioning cold.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: reverseapachemaster on December 11, 2013, 04:17:48 PM
Last week a guy in my club had two glass carboys break in the same brew session. One was full of beer in his fermentation chamber and slid off the hump and broke. The other had just been cleaned so it was wet and slid off a table. Fortunately it was empty. Even more fortunate, nobody got injured.

The next day several members put their glass carboys up for sale.

It's probably a good thing people are moving away from using those things in homebrewing. They are quite dangerous, especially if you are moving them around by hand rather than a carrier.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: kramerog on December 11, 2013, 04:24:14 PM
On the retail side, knowing several owners of LHBS around, it is one more item they can sell to the new brewer along with some of the other things you eventually find you didn't really need.

That being said I know a few brewers that still use them even though they know they don't need to for every beer. I just use them when oaking or adding fruit, that's it.

I'll bulk age in a purged corny or extended bottling conditioning cold.

Yeah, +1 to the cynical reason for the persistence of routine use of secondary
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: denny on December 11, 2013, 04:36:52 PM
Also, with recent finding about how yeast and hops play together I think some people are reconsidering secondaries for dry hopped beers regardless of yeast reuse plans.

I'm one of those.  No dry hops, no secondary.  But if I plan to dry hop, I'll go 3-4 weeks in primary, then rack to secondary and dry hop.  I prefer the results from doing it that way.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: yso191 on December 11, 2013, 05:58:02 PM
I'm one of those.  No dry hops, no secondary.  But if I plan to dry hop, I'll go 3-4 weeks in primary, then rack to secondary and dry hop.  I prefer the results from doing it that way.

Denny I'm somewhat surprised by how long you leave your beer in the primary.  I understand that there isn't a problem in doing it, but I find myself wondering if there is a benefit (other than ensuring FG).
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on December 11, 2013, 06:02:50 PM
I'm one of those.  No dry hops, no secondary.  But if I plan to dry hop, I'll go 3-4 weeks in primary, then rack to secondary and dry hop.  I prefer the results from doing it that way.

Denny I'm somewhat surprised by how long you leave your beer in the primary.  I understand that there isn't a problem in doing it, but I find myself wondering if there is a benefit (other than ensuring FG).

He's too busy writing books!
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: klickitat jim on December 11, 2013, 06:18:23 PM
I have found benefits, such as no more acetaldehyde problem. To my understanding, hitting FG doesn't mean the yeast is done doing its job. I've also found that it depends on how big the beer is and the temp. My personal method is finding FG and no off flavors, not just FG. For me, generally that's 3-5 weeks
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: denny on December 11, 2013, 06:35:36 PM
Denny I'm somewhat surprised by how long you leave your beer in the primary.  I understand that there isn't a problem in doing it, but I find myself wondering if there is a benefit (other than ensuring FG).

Steve, laziness is the main reason I think.  It all kinda depends on when I get around to taking a gravity reading or feel like I have time to deal with it if a reading shows me it's done.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: realbeerguy on December 11, 2013, 06:37:34 PM
I too may go 3-4 weeks in primary, no secondary except for fruit, dry hop in keg.  Less transfer, less chance for problems.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: erockrph on December 11, 2013, 07:09:47 PM
The only time I rack to secondary is if I'm splitting a batch, or adding bugs after primary. Otherwise everything stays in the primary for at least 2 weeks (I've gone as long as a couple of months for big beers - haven't picked up any autolysis flavors yet). I dry hop, add fruit/spices, whatever. I just haven't seen a need for it. I don't have a lot of free time, so I go for the simplest method that makes good beer.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: Jimmy K on December 11, 2013, 09:00:00 PM
Denny I'm somewhat surprised by how long you leave your beer in the primary.  I understand that there isn't a problem in doing it, but I find myself wondering if there is a benefit (other than ensuring FG).

Steve, laziness is the main reason I think.  It all kinda depends on when I get around to taking a gravity reading or feel like I have time to deal with it if a reading shows me it's done.
Good to get advice like this from a professional - reaffirms my current 'methods'!
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: Joe Sr. on December 11, 2013, 10:23:45 PM
I rarely keg before for weeks and never use a secondary.  Most of my beers are bigger beers, and they seem to need longer to finish.  Smaller beers may get kegged at three weeks, but I don't pay that much attention.

I used to use secondaries a lot, but often it was to free up a larger fermenter by transferring a beer to a 5 gallon carboy so I could have more batches going.  I was brewing more frequently at that time.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: ynotbrusum on December 12, 2013, 04:57:56 AM
I rack to keg for smallish beers after 2-3 weeks (kegging), but for lagers and bigger beers, I primary for a month. For Belgians (especially oaked Flanders or other similar beers that are well served for aging) I will age in secondary, including oak barrels.

You can't take the secondary out of all processes, of course.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: Three on December 12, 2013, 05:28:44 AM
If you can transfer to an o2 free secondary (like a corny keg or bright tank) then it's great or, as Tom says, for fruit or other actual secondary fermentation.

+1.  I use one for these reasons too, and I use a purged secondary for dry hopping now as well.  Otherwise it isn't necessary.

+1 +1 This is exactly what I do.....  Oxygenation is my fear on some of my bigger hoppier beers.  So into a co2 purged keg it is.....
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: dkfick on December 12, 2013, 08:52:43 PM
I only use a secondary for extended aging, using fruit, or dry hopping.  I find dry hopping in the primary the yeast absorb too many of the hop oils...
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: davidgzach on December 12, 2013, 10:37:33 PM
My recollection of using a secondary when I first started homebrewing in the mid-90's was so the beer was not on the yeast for an extended period of time and inviting autolysis.  With the quality of the yeast now at our disposal, this is not really an issue.  So I stopped using a secondary several years ago and have not looked back.  I'll leave a lager or big beer on the cake for 6-8 weeks. 

However I can understand why one would use a secondary for fruit, oak aging or major dry hopping. 

Dave
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: jaftak22 on January 13, 2014, 04:59:55 AM
Just came across this topic. This is the best advice to date for me. This whole time I have been brewing ( 1 1/2 years), I have been transferring to a secondary for no damn good reason. I will probably on transfer now if I am dry hopping or finishing on fruit. I have a great feeling about future batches. Can't wait to see how my 10 gallon American Wheat will turn out.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: fmader on January 13, 2014, 11:02:24 AM
When I dry hop, I use a secondary. I also harvest the yeast, so it's good to get it before there's 6 oz of hops in with it. I also use a secondary fir fruit additions.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: Pi on January 13, 2014, 02:57:31 PM
I dont bother with a secondary either. If dry hopping, i like to wait till fermentation slows (3-4 days) then toss the hops in the primary. The light fermentation activity helps carry away the O2 in the hops. After dryhopping i may transfer to another carboy for a day or so before kegging to make sure i dont pick up any hops. Nothing more frustrating than sucking up a hop leaf clogging the pin lock.
Title: Re: Secondary Poll
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 13, 2014, 03:02:06 PM
When I dry hop, I use a secondary. I also harvest the yeast, so it's good to get it before there's 6 oz of hops in with it. I also use a secondary fir fruit additions.

+1