Author Topic: How long in the secondary?  (Read 3589 times)

Offline dons

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How long in the secondary?
« on: September 10, 2011, 06:48:10 AM »
I've read opinions all over the book and would like a few of yours.  Right now, I'm well supplied for beer and I have
a kegerator on the way in a few weeks (whoopee!!).  My "problem" is that I have an IPA that I brewed 3 weeks ago
and I have yet to rack to secondary and dry hop - which I plan to do today - at least the racking.  And, yes, I do want
to get it out of the primary.

Question:  If I rack to secondary today, how long can I wait before I HAVE to bottle/keg it?  I would prefer to wait
on the arrival of the kegerator obviously.  But I have a good beer coming in and don't want to mess it up.  What I've
heard is that if I rack it, I should be able to wait anywhere from 3-6 weeks. - or more.  In this case, I will dry hop it just a week
or so before I bottle/keg.  If I DO bottle in a week that means I have to brew again (to check out the kegerator) and
that really leaves me with too much beer.  I know, that's not a HORRID thing, but I already have bottles over-carbed from age.

Thanks.
Don
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Offline hokerer

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Re: How long in the secondary?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2011, 06:50:14 AM »
I just posted in another thread that, in cleaning up notes last night, I realized my latest ESB had been in the fermenter a total of 77 days - carbed up fine and was really clear.  As long as you do the dry hop at the end like you mentioned, you should be fine.
Joe

Offline dannyjed

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Re: How long in the secondary?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2011, 08:17:59 AM »
You can always keg it and throw some hops in there.  I use a little hop bag.
Dan Chisholm

Offline denny

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Re: How long in the secondary?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2011, 09:46:33 AM »
Question:  If I rack to secondary today, how long can I wait before I HAVE to bottle/keg it?

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Offline majorvices

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Re: How long in the secondary?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2011, 10:18:56 AM »
Yeah, keep it cold and it will last a long time. I wouldn't secondary it at room temp. And an IPA should be consumed young so I really wouldn't recommend storing it any longer than necessary. Also, be sure to purge the head space with Co2.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: How long in the secondary?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2011, 11:14:18 PM »
I wouldn't rack to secondary until you were ready to dry hop. 

I already have bottles over-carbed from age.
Bottles don't get over carbed from age, they get over carbed from too much sugar in the beer at bottling or from too much pressure on the keg for the temperature.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline davidgzach

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Re: How long in the secondary?
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2011, 05:04:01 PM »
The old addage was to get the beer off the yeast before autolysis sets in.  With the quality level of yeast much higher than in the past, I've heard of people leaving beer in primary for up to 6 months without a problem.

That being said, I still take my ales off the cake after 3 weeks and condition in the keg for 1-many.  If I were you, even though I hate 2 transfers, I would dry hop in the secondary now and keg as soon as your equipment arrives. 
Dave Zach

Offline tubercle

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Re: How long in the secondary?
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2011, 05:47:04 PM »
Tubercle would leave it where it is and dry hop in the keg.
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Offline dhacker

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Re: How long in the secondary?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2011, 06:21:33 PM »
I wouldn't secondary it at room temp.

Are you talking about any temp above normal fermenting temps for a given strain, or a particular beer style? I've kept beer in secondary (and I assume many others have) at room temp . . 68 to 74 degrees for several weeks and have no memory of ill effects or off flavors. . . all ales of course.
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Offline rjharper

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Re: How long in the secondary?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2011, 11:11:13 AM »
The question of whether or not to secondary is probably about as controversial as the question of wet or dry BBQ, but also not what the op was asking...

For me, with the exception of wheat beers, I always transfer to a secondary / conditioning carboy after fermentation is done.  My typical schedule is 7 days primary fermentation, 21 days secondary conditioning, then bottle/keg.  My primaries are temp controlled, my secondaries are not, so its room temp.  I've never CO2 purged a secondary, but I also rack carefully and avoid any splashing or surface disturbance.  I dry-hop in secondary.  Seeing how much extra yeast falls out within 48 hrs of secondary from the disturbance is justification for me enough.  I'm frequently complimented on my clear beers, and asked if I filter.  I know hot/cold breaks are important too, but the more yeast that settles out before bottles / kegs the better as far as I'm concerned.  My bottles always carb well, and I don't usually have much of a yeast cake left in them.  The yeast cake from the secondary however, is often harvested for future batches; its clean, flocculent and viable, with much less break and trub then the primary cake.

To (finally) answer the op's question, I've had session brews sit in secondary for 3 months when I've not had a keg available (or I've been too lazy), without any flavor issues.  My strong brews often spend at least that in secondary.
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Offline bonjour

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Re: How long in the secondary?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2011, 12:45:34 PM »
The old addage was to get the beer off the yeast before autolysis sets in.  With the quality level of yeast much higher than in the past, I've heard of people leaving beer in primary for up to 6 months without a problem.

That being said, I still take my ales off the cake after 3 weeks and condition in the keg for 1-many.  If I were you, even though I hate 2 transfers, I would dry hop in the secondary now and keg as soon as your equipment arrives. 
Ducking and hiding, I really didn't mean to, honest


two years under a table and in a corner of the basement.   ::) ::) :o :o ;D ;D
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Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline davidgzach

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Re: How long in the secondary?
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2011, 09:54:10 AM »
Ducking and hiding, I really didn't mean to, honest


two years under a table and in a corner of the basement.   ::) ::) :o :o ;D ;D

2 years!  Wow, that's the longest I've heard by far!  What was the style and how did it turn out?
« Last Edit: September 15, 2011, 10:47:41 AM by dbeechum »
Dave Zach

Offline surfin_mikeg

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Re: How long in the secondary?
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2011, 10:30:56 AM »
Could someone share a bit more about secondaries and autolysis? 

My Rye/Wheat IPA (8%ABV, 88 IBU, 65 degrees F) spent two months in the secondary, and this white film started surfacing at the top of the beer's surface in carboy.  It didn't change colors, tasted like yeast, but looked like mold forming.  I bottled immediately but am not sure of what I have nor what to expect for shelf life, was going to wait a couple more weeks before sampling & maybe dumping.  All the samples I've done with this have been great so far.

Thanks!

Offline bonjour

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Re: How long in the secondary?
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2011, 10:50:52 AM »
A big RIS (15=%) with a high FG.  I thought I would have a great example of yeast autolysis to demo to a class.  I didn't detect it.  So I asked several brewers (good BJCP Nationals) to evaluate it and told them there should be a flaw and I was looking for it, but I wouldn't tell them until after their evaluation.  They didn't find any.  Comment was that it presented with a quality of a Sam Adams Triple Bock.  Served under-carbonated (intentionally) during a BJCP exam and scored mid-30's due to insufficient carbonation at 6 years of age.
Fred Bonjour
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: How long in the secondary?
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2011, 10:56:57 AM »
A big RIS (15=%) with a high FG.  I thought I would have a great example of yeast autolysis to demo to a class.  I didn't detect it.  So I asked several brewers (good BJCP Nationals) to evaluate it and told them there should be a flaw and I was looking for it, but I wouldn't tell them until after their evaluation.  They didn't find any.  Comment was that it presented with a quality of a Sam Adams Triple Bock.  Served under-carbonated (intentionally) during a BJCP exam and scored mid-30's due to insufficient carbonation at 6 years of age.

Figured it had to be a high gravity beer.  6 years!  That is sweet!  Cool story.
Dave Zach