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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Need a procedure recommendation. Long primary vs secondary
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:14 AM   #1
Trenchant
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Default Need a procedure recommendation. Long primary vs secondary

I know the long primary vs primary and secondary fermentation thing has come up quite a bit. Here's my situation.

I have a pilsner kit in my room elevated about 1.5' off the ground on a 2x12 stand. The last kit I left in a primary for 10 days and then went to bottling. It was a bit cloudy. The second batch I plan to put in a corny keg. What would you guys recommend? My room is in the basement and I don't really want to carry this thing all the way up stairs to work on it. I was hoping to put down some stuff on the floor and transfer the beer in my room. Because of that I'm thinking maybe I should just do a long primary and then I'm only transfering once.

What do you guys think? I have the carboy in the carboy box. I find thats the best way to keep light out of it. The only problem now is how to get the carboy out of the box so I can see how far down to put my siphon tube! The last thing I want is sediment after taking the extra time to clear my beer. Not only that but this will be kegged and I don't want to be drinking sediment.

Opinions, tips? I guess I should ad that this was put into primary last thursday.

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Old 01-22-2009, 05:29 AM   #2
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I have never had the experience of getting beer of adequate clarity without using a secondary. Others have done better.

You should not get enough sediment on the secondary for positioning of the racking cane to be critical. Just a 1/8" layer or so. It is not a big deal to get a little sediment into the corney keg. It will settle there too.

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Old 01-22-2009, 06:01 AM   #3
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I only use a primary and then keg my beer. That said I can see into it and adjust the siphon as needed to keep it above the level of trub. You could keep a good eye on the tube to monitor the trub as it should run pretty clear for the most part.

My kegged beers come out nice and clear after a couple of glasses and at least a week in the kegerator while carbing. Some folks bend the dip tubes or cut off a small portion to raise the level it draws at so it is not sucking right off the bottom of the keg.

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Old 01-22-2009, 04:59 PM   #4
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Take the carboy out of the carboy box. The sediment will swirl all around but who cares. Just wait an additional couple of days before you bottle/keg to let it settle out. If your set up is in the basement how much light is actually getting to it? If light is still a great concern just throw a t-shirt or towel over the carboy so you can take it off when you need to siphon.

Secondary is a great way to dry hop. Otherwise kind of a waste of time. Let it sit in primary for 2-4 weeks. The longer the better.

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Old 01-22-2009, 05:07 PM   #5
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A pilsner after 10 days?! For that beer I'd leave it around 45-50 degrees F for 4 weeks or so and then drop the temp down to 35 F for another 4 or so weeks depending on taste. All in the same vessel.

For ales, I leave it in the primary for 2 to 4 weeks depending on starting gravity. 10 days just ain't enough.

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Old 01-22-2009, 05:21 PM   #6
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Assuming it's a true pilsner with a lager yeast, it's far better to get it off the primary yeast soon after primary is done. All of the settled yeast and protein from the primary can produce flavor-active compounds that can result in off-flavors in your lager.

Since it is apparently a lager, it needs to be lagered in a "secondary" at near freezing temps. This can be done in another carboy or a keg. Some people lager in bottles, but I think bulk lagering is better for the beer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trenchant View Post
The only problem now is how to get the carboy out of the box so I can see how far down to put my siphon tube!
Just cut open the box with a utility knife... you can always tape it back together.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
Assuming it's a true pilsner with a lager yeast, it's far better to get it off the primary yeast soon after primary is done. All of the settled yeast and protein from the primary can produce flavor-active compounds that can result in off-flavors in your lager.
I disagree. Good lagers can be made either way, and it's debate, to be sure. But I think you'll have less diacetyl etc. if you leave it on the trub for a bit longer.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:40 PM   #8
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Ya I'm not to sure how "true" this kit really is. It smells almost identical to the other kit I used. The instructions are all exactly the same and they list 6 or 8 different types. I think I'll just pull it out of the box and let it sit for a day before transfering to a secondary.

I don't want to cut the box open because of how well they work. They allow me to see the fermentation lock bubbling at any time without letting light in. There isn't much light in my room as is. I have one window and thats covered in insulation. I am after all a college student

The batches overfill a single carboy and last time I had to throw some of the liquid out during fermentation. This time I decided to put the last little bit in an additional carboy and see how well it does. I think it might have a bit of an off taste because of how much oxygen is in the carboy. The one on the left has about 3" of liquid in it.

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Old 01-22-2009, 07:47 PM   #9
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You could just cut the bottom off the box and then you can just slip it over the carboy. Then when you don't need it you can fold it up and put it away.

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Old 01-22-2009, 09:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mew View Post
I disagree. Good lagers can be made either way, and it's debate, to be sure. But I think you'll have less diacetyl etc. if you leave it on the trub for a bit longer.
Sure the diacetyl rest is [often times] important and should be taken to completion. But Greg Noonan states its important to rack soon after primary fermentation so as to get the beer off of "decaying yeast cells and flavor-impairing precipitates." I don't think a few days is a big deal though.
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