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Old 03-22-2006, 03:57 AM   #1
mezman
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Default How long can the beer stay safely in the secondary?

Hi Everyone,

My Bitter has been in the secondary for a little over a week. Airlock activity has pretty much stopped and the beer is clearing.

Left to my own time-table I'd bottle tomorrow, however, that's not gonna be possible. It also might not be possible to bottle Thursday so I may not be able to bottle until Friday. Assuming that my sanitation was good, is that gonna negatively affect the beer? Last beer I left in the secondary for about two weeks (all airlock activity stopped) and it never carbonated well, I assume becasue all the yeast became dormant and drifted to the bottom.

So I guess my question is: Do I need to make time to bottle tomorrow or at the very least Thursday? Or is three more days in the secondary not gonna affect it much? Thanks!

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Old 03-22-2006, 04:06 AM   #2
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I'm not sure what the upper limit is, but I've left one in there for at least a month at it was fine. I guess your yeast would all die off eventually, but I'm not even sure about that. At any rate, no need to worry about getting to it tomorrow or the next day.

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Old 03-22-2006, 04:08 AM   #3
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I've seen the basic rule of 1-2-3, One week Primary, Two weeks secondary, and 3 weeks conditioning.

I've also read that you want to avoid keeping your beer on a substantial yeast bed for more than 14 days, and I'm sure the type of yeast being used could complicate things aswell.

So its basicly a personal call, but most people recommand 14 days. If you are using a yeast that ferments at higher temps, I would move it off the yeast bed as soon as possible.

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Old 03-22-2006, 04:13 AM   #4
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I don't think you can harm a beer by leaving it in secondary too long. It just clears out better. The yeast will stop working when it runs out of food and will slowly settle to the bottom, but I think you'd have to leave it a long, long time before it all settled out, if it ever does. I had a beer in secondary for two months once, and some recipes call for as much as six months in secondary. RDWHAHB.

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Old 03-22-2006, 04:21 AM   #5
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Cool, cool. My last beer just ended up kinda flat so I was a little concerned. But I probably shouldn't be. You know what they say about relaxing, not worrying and having a...uh...something, something...

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Old 03-22-2006, 12:41 PM   #6
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So long as your sanitation was good and you keep liquid in your airlock you'll be fine indefinately.

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Old 03-22-2006, 03:35 PM   #7
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Yep, as long as your sanitation was good, and your airlock is maintained, you're good to go. I have a feeling that your carbonation issue was unrelated. Under the right conditions, a beer left in secondary even for an extended period of time should have enough yeast left in suspension to carb a beer.

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Old 03-22-2006, 10:47 PM   #8
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What everyone else said...as long as you maintain water in your airlock you're good to go.

I've done 60-100 days lagering in a carboy.

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