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Old 03-26-2008, 03:44 AM   #1
tomman
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Default How long in primary/secondary

Any thoughts on how long I should keep my stout in primary and secondary? I have an OG of 1.082 and I will be aging it with some oak chips and vanilla. I have read the 1-2-3 recommendation on here, but I have also read that conditioning happens quicker in the primary with all the goodiess still in there than it does in either secondary or bottles. So. given the high OG, should I keep in on primary beyond the 1 week? I guess its just a matter of personal preference as to how strong I want the vanilla/oak flavor, but is there a a general length of time that it should be in secondary?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 03-26-2008, 03:49 AM   #2
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Alot of potential ways you could go about this. Here is what I would recommend. Leave in primary a minimum of three weeks. Rack to secondary, and with that high of an OG, I'd shoot for at least another month to develop some of the flavors.

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Old 03-27-2008, 03:12 PM   #3
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Wouldnt going over 3 weeks in the primary start to introduce off flavors? I thought that it was widely agreed upon that you shouldn't go over 3.

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Old 03-27-2008, 03:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McKBrew
Alot of potential ways you could go about this. Here is what I would recommend. Leave in primary a minimum of three weeks. Rack to secondary, and with that high of an OG, I'd shoot for at least another month to develop some of the flavors.
That's exactly what I'd have suggested.

Leaving your beer in primary for three weeks will be absolutely fine. I know a few of the beginners books talk about trying to get the beer off the the trub quickly, but that seems to be a theoretical worry rather than an actual problem. Lots of people on here do three or four weeks in primary, and I've never heard of anyone at all getting off flavors from it - the consensus generally seems to be that the beer is either no different or actually better than beer that was moved out of primary quicker. As McKBrew says, you have a high gravity beer, so it'd benefit from some secondary conditioning as well. I'd do three or four weeks in primary, and then a month or longer in secondary.
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Old 03-27-2008, 03:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomman
Wouldnt going over 3 weeks in the primary start to introduce off flavors? I thought that it was widely agreed upon that you shouldn't go over 3.
The only thing that is ever widely agreed upon is that beer can be made in all manner of ways.

The risk for keeping in Primary more than 3 weeks is to Autolysis and that process is not widely understood nor is there any hard and fast data as to when it happens. HB'ers tend to err on the side of caution and most of what we do is based on commercial practice.

"If" I were brewing 40bbl at a time, heck no I wouldn't leave anything in primary for more than 3 weeks but, considering that we are brewing a 1/6th of a bbl at the least is a different situation all together.

I have left beer in Primary for 6 weeks and had no sign of Autolysis but do not recommend this as a practice.

Just remember, "... aren't really laws, they're more like guidelines.."

My personal practice is 3 weeks Primary (Ales and Lagers) and then straight to a keg for conditioning. Regardless of style. Of course, it helps if you have kegs and a stock of beer.
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Old 03-27-2008, 03:43 PM   #6
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Given the high gravity of your beer I'd have to toss my vote behind McKBrew's suggestions.

While the 1-2-3 method works great for your average beer, it is not appropriate for high gravity beers or for aging with oak.

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Old 03-27-2008, 04:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GilaMinumBeer
I have left beer in Primary for 6 weeks and had no sign of Autolysis but do not recommend this as a practice.

My personal practice is 3 weeks Primary (Ales and Lagers) and then straight to a keg for conditioning. Of course, it helps if you have kegs and a stock of beer.
I've also left beer 6 weeks (in a plastic bucket nonetheless) on the trub and not got any autolysis... I no longer use plastic (just out of preference), but 3-4 weeks is totally safe IMO.

I also do 2-3 week primaries followed by either a) kegging or b) a week or two secondary/clearing/conditioning (usually if its a big beer, or other factors like I'm out of kegs, get too much trub accidentially at transfer, etc.)...
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