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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Secondaries are for sucks! (eh?)
View Poll Results: When brewing ales do you...
Use the 1-2-3 method 103 62.80%
Long primary (more than 2 weeks) no "secondary" 46 28.05%
short primary (a week or less) no secondary 3 1.83%
I drink it as it ferments. 4 2.44%
Ralph Nadar is my fermentation vessel! 8 4.88%
Voters: 164. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-16-2007, 08:10 PM   #1
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Default Secondaries are for sucks! (eh?)

Okay, I have decided. As an ale brewer I am forgoing the "secondary" or clearing vessel from now on! Lately most of my best beers have only been in one vessel and in for about 3 weeks at that. Which really is great on many levels... No more being bogged down in having to wait for a sceondary to free up (which lead to this revelation).

I think the results are excellent. I still get crystal clear beers (okay so the stout does not count), they taste much better, and one even one an award. Less time cleaning/ sanitizing/racking. I think I really can stand behind the theory that the yeast requires time to "clean-up" after the initial fermentation.

No more 1-2-3 for me. Just thought I would share my thoughts. Your results may vary...

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Old 07-16-2007, 08:16 PM   #2
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I use 1-2-3 just because I haven't been doing this long enough to try another way. Although for my hefe's I do 2 weeks primary and then into the bottle.

I also like to pitch onto previous yeast cakes and I don't want to wait weeks for the primary to free up.

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Old 07-16-2007, 08:17 PM   #3
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To each his/her own. I've got 11 vessels in all, so it's rare that I worry about carboy space. I like to rack to secondary for a few reasons:

  • I don't have to be as careful when racking to the bottling bucket, because the trub is minimal.
  • I dryhop and add oak periodically, and if I want to harvest the yeast from the primary, that screws that up.
  • I often age my high-grav beers in carboy for months before bottling; I don't want my beer sitting on the yeast for that long.
  • I ferment in large vessels; with extended aging, I would worry about the headspace.
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:26 PM   #4
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I voted for the 1-2-3 method because that's the closest to what I use. I don't use any set method. I monitor the beer during its primary and when I see the kreusen fall and the airock activity slows way, way down I rack to a secondary. I leave it in the secondary for...um..."a while" and then bottle. If it's a big beer or a stout, longer in the secondary, if it's a pale ale or a brown ale, shorter in the secondary. Oh, and my hefe never sees a secondary.

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Old 07-16-2007, 08:34 PM   #5
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I voted long primary (2 weeks max). I also crash cool it to 39 degrees for a couple days before kegging. My beers are clear without using any finings or scottish moss.

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Old 07-16-2007, 08:34 PM   #6
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I started using gelatin in my secondary and my beers are completely cleared (depending on the yeast strain) within 5-7 days.

You'll get yeast cleared out in a primary alone, but think of it like this:

A 20x20 room with 50 people crammed inside. Now, ask everyone to clear the room as fast as possible through the two exits. Pretty slow going...

Now, instantly remove about 40 of those people and then ask the remaining 10 to clear the room as fast as possible...takes no time at all.

Moving your beer into a secondary speeds up the clarifying process by leaving behind about 90% of the yeast and creating a much less concentrated (or crowded) environment, making it easier for the yeast to fall out. IMHO.

EDWORT - When we gonna see this recipe???

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Old 07-16-2007, 08:44 PM   #7
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I keg after 3-4 weeks in the fermenter. I rack the occasional barleywine and once in a while filter keg to keg.

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Old 07-16-2007, 08:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher
A 20x20 room with 50 people crammed inside. Now, ask everyone to clear the room as fast as possible through the two exits. Pretty slow going...

Now, instantly remove about 40 of those people and then ask the remaining 10 to clear the room as fast as possible...takes no time at all.

Moving your beer into a secondary speeds up the clarifying process by leaving behind about 90% of the yeast and creating a much less concentrated (or crowded) environment, making it easier for the yeast to fall out. IMHO.
Hey Munch, just curious whether you've seen any science behind this, or whether it's truly "IMHO"? I've searched and can't find anything. I always kinda figured that the yeast get tired, and then gravity gets them, and that wouldn't depend on how many other yeasties were around but I really don't know.

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EDWORT - When we gonna see this recipe???
I though he said in another thread it was an AHS kit, maybe?
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:54 PM   #9
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I am going to be using 1-2-3 method until I get the hang of how things go. The exception will be SWMBO's hefe as I have heard of others having great results with primary only on hefes.

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Old 07-16-2007, 09:25 PM   #10
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I'm not a big fan of secondaries myself. In my experience, the beer is just as clear after 3 weeks in the primary as 1 week in the primary and 2 in the secondary.

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