« on: January 11, 2011, 12:02:42 PM »
I've found that many more brewers have problems caused by a secondary than have received benefits from one. One of the most frequent problems I encounter from newer brewers is beer transferred too soon and left with off flavors that the yeast most probably would have removed. In addition, contamination induced during the transfer or slight souring caused by oxygen introduction that allows acetobacter metabolism seems to be another frequent problem that might have been avoided without a secondary.
This is my experience as well. You would think the suspended yeast that is transferred would be enough to clean things up but apparently not. It must be that the cake, even while its sitting on the bottom of the fermentor, is still metabolizing these compounds at a far greater ate than the suspended yeast. Could be that the suspended "stragglers" are not as strong and the most active yeast drops promptly. Its kind of surprising considering the relative surface area of a yeast cake versus suspended yeast.
I think its odd to do a secondary and then bottle. Bottle conditioning just causes a new bloom of suspended yeast, undoing the week(s) of attempting to clear the beer. Plus you might have to add bottling yeast which iwould have been there to begin with if you';d bottled after primary. Bottled beer is its own secondary in my opinion.