Author Topic: Secondary yes or no  (Read 3270 times)

Offline krustybb

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Secondary yes or no
« on: December 21, 2011, 03:36:18 PM »
So I have been reading a bunch of posts from another forum about not ever racking to a second fermentor. They claim to get the best beer when they leave it in primary for a month and then bottle. They are talking about flavor and clarity. I was going to rack to a Carboy in a few days but not sure. They had some good arguments. Thoughts?

Offline denny

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Re: Secondary yes or no
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2011, 03:43:58 PM »
I almost never use a secondary any more.  If you're an AHA member you can access the Ask the Experts area of the website and see what John Palmer has to say about it (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/lets-brew/ask-the-experts/john-palmer?cid=wr6B8CL9lj0q%2bJT6ImywRQ%3d%3d&redirect=http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/lets-brew/ask-the-experts/john-palmer), but here's an excerpt...

"I, and Jamil and White Labs and Wyeast Labs, do not recommend racking to a secondary fermenter for ANY ale, except when conducting an actual second fermentation, such as adding fruit or souring. Racking to prevent autolysis is not necessary, and therefore the risk of oxidation is completely avoidable. Even lagers do not require racking to a second fermenter before lagering."
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Offline musseldoc

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Re: Secondary yes or no
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2011, 04:10:03 PM »
I crash cool in the primary, then straight to the keg.
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Offline krustybb

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Re: Secondary yes or no
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2011, 05:25:55 PM »
Fair enough. This forum is great.

Offline euge

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Re: Secondary yes or no
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2011, 05:58:40 PM »
Not needed. Straight to the keg. I'd also be leery of leaving your ale on the yeast for a month. You can do it but for most beers 14 days are plenty.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline hokerer

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Re: Secondary yes or no
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2011, 07:31:35 PM »
Except for the exceptions mentioned earlier, secondary isn't necessary.  I've left ale in primary for two months with no ill effects.
Joe

Offline markaberrant

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Re: Secondary yes or no
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2011, 08:20:22 PM »
No secondary for me either.  However, I do find the new mantra of leaving it in primary for 4-6 weeks to be just as silly and unnecessary.

Offline euge

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Re: Secondary yes or no
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2011, 09:23:11 PM »
No secondary for me either.  However, I do find the new mantra of leaving it in primary for 4-6 weeks to be just as silly and unnecessary.

+1 And I have experienced problems by leaving beer in primary for over a month in the 70's temp range. If I were to park a beer for some ungodly reason in primary it would be at cold temps.

I've even seen autolysis with a saison- the beer turned dark and smelled meaty and rank after five weeks on the yeast at room temp.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline bo

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Re: Secondary yes or no
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2011, 09:27:57 PM »
I've gotten lazy and left ales on a cake for 8 weeks plus without any problem. If problems do arise, I would check my sanitation or yeast health.

That said, if I want a really clear beer in a short period of time, I'll use a secondary. Nothing wrong with it.

Offline phillamb168

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Re: Secondary yes or no
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2011, 03:12:18 AM »
Can the yeast cake still strip hop essential oils and stuff from the beer even after floculation? Seems like a secondary would be useful for dry-hopping...
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Secondary yes or no
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2011, 06:37:37 AM »
I crash cool in the primary, then straight to the keg.

+1.  Me too.
Dave Zach

Offline bo

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Re: Secondary yes or no
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2011, 06:38:46 AM »
Can the yeast cake still strip hop essential oils and stuff from the beer even after floculation? Seems like a secondary would be useful for dry-hopping...

A secondary is a great way to DH. You can harvest your yeast from the primary and in the end you'll get clearer beer.

Offline eltharyon

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Re: Secondary yes or no
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2011, 06:54:57 AM »
Crash cool and keg here too

Even dry hop in Primary, since I'm not reusing the yeast.

Maybe if you ware planning a long conditioning period it is worth it. 

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Re: Secondary yes or no
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2011, 07:16:28 AM »
If you keg there is really no need to use a second carboy as a secondary. The keg serves as a far better secondary (or bright tank) because you can purge it completely with Co2. You can then either blow the yeast out through the dip tube or, if you want to be sure the beer is completely clear so that the sediment doesn't stir up when you move the beer, rack the beer to another keg via a jumper. A shortened dip tube on the secondary or bright tank keg can help you leave the yeast behind.

If you bottle I can maybe see why a carboy secondary can be useful because you can leave a lot of sediment behind, but be aware that by using a secondary and bottling you will be racking the beer up to 3 times (ones to the secondary, once to the bottling bucket and then once to the bottles) so you will most definitely be picking up some oxygen and potential contaminants.

OTOH as others have mentioned you can get the beer really bright by cold crashing on the yeast cake and racking directly from primary to bottling bucket. But there are a good share of homebrewers who don't have the cold storage space to cold crash 5+ gallons of beer.

As far as yeast stripping the hop oils and aroma, it is best to dry hop once the yeast has flocculated. But you can always just add more yeast or crash the yeast in the primary first and then add the dry hops. I don;t understand why the yeast cake would affect hop oils or resins. My understanding is it is the yeast floccing out that drags these oils out of suspension.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 07:28:52 AM by majorvices »
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Secondary yes or no
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2011, 07:38:14 AM »
I leave the beer in the primary until the krausen drops and the beer clears somewhat, then I check the gravity and rack when I get at least two of the same gravity readings on two consecutive days. I like to crash cool the primary at this juncture to allow a lot of the remaining yeast in suspension to drop out. I'll then keg the beer and raise the temp to 60-65F to dry hop or I'll keep the beer chilled if I want to force carbonate.
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