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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > High Gravity Brewing - Secondary Fermenter
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:56 PM   #1
jbambuti
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Default High Gravity Brewing - Secondary Fermenter

I've done a couple of higher gravity brews and am considering doing a Wee Heavy with an SG of 1.083 or so. This will be an extract brew with some grains for steeping.

I've read quite a few of the debates on primary only vs. moving to secondary and I was wondering if a secondary is absolutely necessary for a beer with this gravity. I have 2 plastic fermenting buckets, but no carboys. I'm really not in the position to pop for a carboy right now, so if it absolutely needs a secondary, I'll just work with another style.

Any thoughts on pluses/minuses of doing 3 weeks in primary and then bottle conditioning, like I've done with my other brews, would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 02-05-2009, 04:29 PM   #2
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If you were to do a secondary this beer would be a great cadidate. I think you should try it not only because its a high gravity beer, but also because you can compare it to other beers that you have done. This way you will know what YOUR preference is and thats whats most important.

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Old 02-05-2009, 06:16 PM   #3
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You could even let it sit in the primary a little longer, some people have primaried for up to six weeks with good results. Just make sure that you won't have wild temperature fluctuations & you should be good.

On the other hand, as long as fermentation is complete, just bottle that sucker. Good luck!

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Old 02-06-2009, 12:03 AM   #4
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I can't think of any reason why you'd have to secondary...it should be fine to just leave in the primary for 3-4 weeks and then straight to bottling. It might need a bit longer bottle conditioning before it hits it's prime, but using a secondary wouldn't change that unless it was a really long one.

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Old 02-06-2009, 12:13 AM   #5
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Agree. I do high gravity ales almost exclusively and never secondary. I just see it as one more place for an infection to spring up.

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Old 02-06-2009, 05:02 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. My gut was to keep doing what I've been doing, as I've enjoyed the few beers I've brewed, but it's nice to have the reinforcement, as I want to make the best beers I can with my limited experience. I've gone ahead and ordered supplies for the Wee Heavy and will post when it's done.

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Old 02-08-2009, 08:32 PM   #7
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Personally, I'd primary for 3 weeks, then rack to secondary for at least a month. There's no need to let the beer sit on a yeast cake for more than 3 weeks, and chance picking up off flavors/aromas. Racking to secondary will let the beer finish doing what it's doing, and let it clear up and blend a bit more. Time makes the beer, especially HG brews.

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Old 04-22-2010, 03:55 AM   #8
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Thanks for the insights on this... lots of good experience here. I'm doing a trappist double right now, OG = 1.080. Not sure if I can say its AG, since there's candi sugar and the like in there, but it's based on a full mash.

I'm two weeks into primary, and everything seems good. Was going to rack to a secondary this weekend, but sounds like another week on the yeast can only help. I've got some oak chips and some dry hopping I want to do (some say inappropriate to this style, but it will be subtle, and belgians are known for being non-conformist... .25 oz Willamette and .50 oz Cascade in a 6.5 g batch)

Any thoughts on duration and timing for secondary, and when you think the oak and dry hops would best come into play? My gut says the .50 oz of oak for a full 4-6 week secondary, and the hops in the last 1-2 weeks. Finally, based on this schedule, what experiences in bottle conditioning after? Thanks in advance.

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Old 04-23-2010, 08:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5gBrewer View Post
Personally, I'd primary for 3 weeks, then rack to secondary for at least a month.
this is what i'd do. bulk aging in secondary will allow a BIG beer like this to come into its prime much quicker than bottling and aging in small portions (12-22oz bottles). bulk age in secondary = good idea for beers >1.080
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Old 04-24-2010, 01:42 AM   #10
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Thanks... will leave it in the primary for another week, then rack it up for 4 to 6.

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