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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Longest time in the secondary for your ales?
View Poll Results: Longest time in the secondary for ales?
Secondary for ales? Why bother... 29 19.46%
2-3 weeks tops - that's the rule 47 31.54%
Up to one month, but that was pushing it 20 13.42%
Two months, but you really gotta get it out of there now 11 7.38%
Three months or more - RDWHAHB 42 28.19%
Voters: 149. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-15-2007, 03:32 PM   #1
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Default Longest time in the secondary for your ales?

The topic of [secondary fermentation] (EDIT: I really mean conditioning in the secondary) has come up frequently in recent months. For those of you who believe in using a secondary, I am wondering how long you keep your beer in it, particularly bigger beers like porters, stouts, IPA's, double-IPAs, etc.?

For beers like big, hoppy IPAs especially, I really like the idea of a long [secondary fermentation] (EDIT: i.e. period of time in the secondary) to condition the beer right in the carboy. One distinct benefit is that you can dry hop it after a few months, and get back some of that aroma.

Does anyone else use a lengthy volume conditioning period in the secondary? My longest was about 5 months for a stout (that was incredible!).


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Old 04-15-2007, 03:57 PM   #2
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Why bother. Sorry, just had to. I'm interested in the results for stouts. Thats the next style that I'm going to try and get good at. I'd like to no the characters that it adds with time. Does it mellow it out? Is that what is traditionally done? I will consult Designing Great Beers and get back.

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Old 04-15-2007, 04:34 PM   #3
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For me it depends. My rule of thumb is that I try to age the beer for one week for every 10 points of OG. This rarely happens but when it does, the beer is always awesome. I also almost always 'secondary' in my kegs and serve when ready.

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Old 04-15-2007, 04:34 PM   #4
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I think a long rest in the secondary can REALLY benefit an ale. I've let some big ones sit for several months with no problems. My meads have sat in primary for months at a time.

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Old 04-15-2007, 04:53 PM   #5
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First, let's clear up any confusion about the secondary (EAC?):

Unless you're pitching another yeast strain or adding more fermentables, you are not affecting a "secondary fermentation" when you rack your beer to another fermenter/container. You are simply moving it away from all of the trub and avoiding off flavors caused by autolysis. Better terms for the "secondary" are "clearing tank," "conditioning tank," or "bright tank."

Ok, that aside, I like to let my beers condition for as long as I can stand it after removing the trub. If I'm running low on homebrew, it can be as short as 2 weeks. Preferably, I let it go for 3 weeks or more (up to several months).

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Old 04-15-2007, 05:05 PM   #6
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i'd have to agree with the above definition, makes sense!!
Thats why i just go to the keg which acts as the conditioning/clearing tank if you like.

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Old 04-15-2007, 05:13 PM   #7
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seems like lots of people swear by the 1, 2, 3 rule. 1 week primary, 2 week secondary, 3 week conditioning. Personally I tend to do more like 1, 3, 1. I almost exclusively keg and force carb so waiting for carbonation is not an issue. I tend to go 5 days to 1 week in the primary, 15-20 days in the secondary and when it hits the keg I'm drinking in 2 or 3 days. I know it gets better with age in the keg but I usually have 2 or 3 kegs tapped at any given time so it sits around plenty long and the second half ins invariably better than the first.

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Old 04-15-2007, 05:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage
Better terms for the "secondary" are "clearing tank," "conditioning tank," or "bright tank."
Agreed, and using that definition I never secondary ales. I will dry hop in a "secondary" carboy before kegging, but that's just to keep the hops out of the keg. Once kegged, I let them condition until I "need" them I had a recent batch that was pouring from the tap 5 days after brew day...it certainly was better by the end of he keg, but it was pretty good at the beginning too.
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage
First, let's clear up any confusion about the secondary (EAC?):

Unless you're pitching another yeast strain or adding more fermentables, you are not affecting a "secondary fermentation" when you rack your beer to another fermenter/container. You are simply moving it away from all of the trub and avoiding off flavors caused by autolysis. Better terms for the "secondary" are "clearing tank," "conditioning tank," or "bright tank."
Yuri, thanks for the clarification. I re-read what I wrote and that was definitely misleading. I certainly meant conditioning in the secondary fermenter. But some people confuse conditioning with carbonation, so I was trying to steer clear of that confusion. Thanks for clarifying.

I'll edit the original post now.
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Old 04-15-2007, 07:56 PM   #10
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I think this is a tough question to answer because it is not specific. Different beers have different needs. For example, my bigger beers will go to a conditioning 2ndary for 4-14 days at times. Yet other beers will go straight to the bottle after primary, like my stouts... they are amazing beers that never needed 2ndary conditioning time. My tripels on the other hand definatley go to a conditioning pail.

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