Originally Posted by IowaStateFan
The FIRST week in the secondary is NOT necessary, either. You can get by without a secondary at all. Just bottle when you're at your expected F.G. and the reading stays the same for a couple of days. The secondary helps blend the flavors and clear your beer. There are people around here that don't do a secondary at all, but you'll find that most of us secondary for at least 2 weeks - some much longer. It will help your beer.
That's true, but the ones that don't use a secondary have cloudy beers or they have a lot of sediment in their bottles.
The point of a primary is to ferment in. Prior to racking to a secondary your beer should technically be done fermenting...it's beer!
The secondary is used to allow your brew to age, mellow, blend and clear. Most importantly -- clear.
If you use the 123 method your brew is beer, but it's still green.
If you leave it in the primary for 2-3 weeks then secondary for 3-4 weeks your brew will taste better and be more clear when you rack to bottle it.
Another method is to crash cool it. When this is done the yeast falls out of suspension faster. The beer is still young and aging will greatly improve the flavor and the experience will be more enjoyable.
The biggest problem most new brewers have is they have no patience and want to drink it overnight.
Fermentation is a natural process. Let it run it's course.