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Old 02-21-2013, 07:40 AM   #1
xurgee
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Default Should I rack to a secondary?

It's my first go at brewing and the recipe calls for a secondary fermentation. My problem is that when I brewed I only had a 5 gallon carboy so that's where the primary is taking place. I went out and purchased a 6.5 gallon carboy because in the future I want to be able to primary in that and secondary in the 5 gallon. Should I rack to the 6.5 even though there will be quite a bit of headspace or should I skip the secondary altogether?

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Old 02-21-2013, 07:52 AM   #2
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I would not rack it. Seems like a lot of the time when we see infections it is in a container with a lot of head space.

If you need to brew again go ahead and brew into the larger one and then by the time you need to secondary your smaller one will be open.

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Old 02-21-2013, 11:53 AM   #3
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Many of us have quit using secondaries except for a very few specific conditions. It's doubtful your first brew meets any of these conditions so I'd say leave it in the primary.

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Old 02-21-2013, 12:16 PM   #4
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Ok so originally when I started brewing I was told by my LHBS that if you leave it in the primary for 2 weeks or more you will start getting off flavors from the trub. Any truth to this?

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Old 02-21-2013, 12:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by SCBrewster View Post
Ok so originally when I started brewing I was told by my LHBS that if you leave it in the primary for 2 weeks or more you will start getting off flavors from the trub. Any truth to this?
No no truth at all to it. But it is something you need to decide what you want to do. I harvest my yeast so I transfer it into a secondary all the time thinking it is better for the yeast if I get it into a jar in the fridge and asleep as fast as I can. I have no evidence that I am right doing it but it is what I do.

Lots of people leave it in the primary for the whole time and that is just fine as well. Less chance of oxidation and contamination leaving it in the primary the whole time.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:31 PM   #6
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Hmmmm that's interesting. I want to start doing yeast harvesting. The main reason is I'm going to harvest some bells house yeast and once I do it id like to just save it rather than having to do it again.

Can you dry hop in primary? I'm doing an Oberon clone and if I can just dry hop in primary that'd be awesome and not have to worry about risking contamination. I have an ale pail for my primary and a 6.5 gallon carboy that I usually use for secondary but now all this talk about headspace in the carboy is starting to worry me

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Old 02-21-2013, 01:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCBrewster View Post
Hmmmm that's interesting. I want to start doing yeast harvesting. The main reason is I'm going to harvest some bells house yeast and once I do it id like to just save it rather than having to do it again.

Can you dry hop in primary? I'm doing an Oberon clone and if I can just dry hop in primary that'd be awesome and not have to worry about risking contamination. I have an ale pail for my primary and a 6.5 gallon carboy that I usually use for secondary but now all this talk about headspace in the carboy is starting to worry me
Well I do not dry hop at all so I would not be the right one to ask but I know several people who do dry hop right in the primary and do very well with it. I do not think I would dry hop though and try to harvest the yeast since I do not wash the yeast just store the slurry.

I cannot prove that the headspace has any bearing on infections but I have noticed that whenever some one posts a photo in the forum of a infection in a secondary they have a large headspace going on. Being one that does not want a infection I fill my secondary right up into the neck of the carboy. So far it has worked for me
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCBrewster View Post
Ok so originally when I started brewing I was told by my LHBS that if you leave it in the primary for 2 weeks or more you will start getting off flavors from the trub. Any truth to this?
One of the guys I know from another forum reported that he left an ale in the primary for 8 months without off flavors so i think the info you are getting from you LHBS is wrong. Now it should make you wonder that if this is wrong, how much more info you get is......

I've dry hopped in the primary. It works good, just make sure you are at FG before you dry hop.

Someone here suggested that instead of trying to save part of the yeast cake and do yeast washing that you take a part of the original yeast source and make a starter with that to save as you wouldn't have to wash it and worry about mutations.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:58 PM   #9
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On Friday I was in the same boat as you. I've got a 5 gallon bucket and a 6.5 gallon carboy. I racked into a secondary for my first brew and it got infected. The brew store here where I live recommends racking to a secondary, but I'll never do that again. Plus now you can brew two beers simultaneously. All you need is a bottling bucket and more bottles! I know that's what I'm going to do!

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Old 02-21-2013, 11:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCBrewster View Post
Hmmmm that's interesting. I want to start doing yeast harvesting. The main reason is I'm going to harvest some bells house yeast and once I do it id like to just save it rather than having to do it again.

Can you dry hop in primary? I'm doing an Oberon clone and if I can just dry hop in primary that'd be awesome and not have to worry about risking contamination. I have an ale pail for my primary and a 6.5 gallon carboy that I usually use for secondary but now all this talk about headspace in the carboy is starting to worry me
I think HBers take this way to personal. Go to most of the breweries in Belgium and they are wide open.

If it stays in on vessels the yeast are producing co2 and that is pushing all of the air out through the bubbler
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