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Old 10-27-2010, 02:26 AM   #1
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Default Risks of 1 month in primary & no secondary

So after learning on this forum that I don't need to rack to a secondary if I'm pitching enough good yeast and that my beer might actually taste better after 1 month on the yeast cake in the primary...off I went to my local homebrew shop. I told the shop "experts" my plan and they flat out told me it was a bad idea. They mentioned 2 risks that I hadn't heard of previously. I'd like some feedback from those that are not using secondaries:

(1) The upper ring of residue from after the krausen falls may mould if left too long. I said "even with no oxygen". They said "yep". Anyone seen mould from this? I'm thinking "if I sanitized...how could there be mould, right?"

(2) autolysis (the bogeyman) is still an issue if you are not controlling your temperature (i.e. using a temp-controlled room or fridge etc). A hot fermentation can cause the dreaded burnt rubber taste from yeast autolysis. This is especially so if you overpitch your yeast. This one scared me. I ferment at room temp...whatever my apartment happens to be. Anyone experienced autolysis who didn't control temp? Anyone not experience autolysis who didn't control temp?

I was going to buy an extra primary bucket and they scared me out of it...an act that is against their economic interests. Any thoughts or is everyone already convinced that secondaries are a thing of the past? Am I beating a dead horse here?

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Old 10-27-2010, 02:34 AM   #2
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Default Relax, Don't Worry... yadda yadda.

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Originally Posted by brewzombie View Post
Am I beating a dead horse here?
Yep.

I've left a beer sitting in the primary for six months. No Yeast. No autolysis could be detected. The beer tasted great.

This board is full of brewers experiences (you've obviously seen many of them).

The hombrew shop guys might not be motivated by profit. They might just still be towing the line of what was previously the "way things are done."

Just try it for yourself for one batch and see. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results.
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:47 AM   #3
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wont hurt a thing. keep temps stable. vodka in the air lock.

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Old 10-27-2010, 02:48 AM   #4
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The latest BYO, The Wizard says that autolysis is much more of a problem for commercial brewers because the yeast cake is so much larger. It follows that its not nearly as common for homebrewers.

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Old 10-27-2010, 02:53 AM   #5
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mold without oxygen? wow... maybe they're nasa scientists who know something... molds are aerobes, which mean they need oxygen; sometimes very little, but they do. we've all left beer in the fermenter for a month or more; depends on the style/yeast

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Old 10-27-2010, 03:02 AM   #6
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They're going by conjecture and out dated information, and plain old fashioned yeast fear. Or they're just idiots....You'll find that not every proprieter reads every forum or book or listens to every podcast, so the last book or info they may have learned may be in Papazian from 30 years ago. They also may only brew kits. Or simply JUST be of the "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" mentality.

But not every person, especially one of those "you can't teach an old dog" types aren't going to be up on the latest ideas.

Remember to a lot of LHBS'er or employees, it is only a job..not an obsession...so they are not always as necessarily passionate, or zealous learning new things, or trying new techniques, like we are....SOme even though they have been in the business forever, may never had progressed in the hobby beyond extract kits...some may rarely brew at all.

So often it is not surprising that we know more or are at least in touch with more info that someone who does it for a living....

This is an ever evolving hobby...Places like this is where you find the most state of the art information/wisdom about brewing, because of the sheer number of us trying new things, hearing new things, and even breaking new ground and contributing to the body of info on the hobby...Look at some of that inventions that came out of here, and then ended up later in BYO articles by our members...

It is podcasts and forums like this where you will find a lot more state of the art, or current views, and even scientific information...I mean if Jamil, John Palmer or Papazian even farts on a podcast, one of us beergeeks are going to start a thread on it within 10 minutes.

Remember- It is HUMAN nature to scorn that which we don't understand... It even happens on here sometimes, when someone attempt to break new ground, or suggest something different from common wisdom (we still get people who scorn the idea of long primaries, and still believe in autolysis)...but it really is not the norm here.

But not necessarily "out there" in the world of Home brew shops.

You'll find that more and more recipes these days do not advocate moving to a secondary at all, but mention primary for a month, which is starting to reflect the shift in brewing culture that has occurred in the last 4 years, MOSTLY because of many of us on here, skipping secondary, opting for longer primaries, and writing about it. Recipes in BYO have begun stating that in their magazine. I remember the "scandal" it caused i the letters to the editor's section a month later, it was just like how it was here when we began discussing it, except a lot more civil than it was here. But after the Byo/Basic brewing experiment, they started reflecting it in their recipes.

You will find that all the information you need to understand that topic and to have ALL your questions answered is here, there really is nothing on the topic that hasnlt been covered in this thread.

To secondary or not.....
FYI Last week I finally bottled the chocolate mole porter that I brewed on 5-27-10. I had car issues and then health issues and other things that prevented me from getting around to it til last night.

SO it is nearly 5 months old. And it tastes amazing, and is crystal clear (at least as clear as a jet black beer can be) and tastes perfect. No off flavors or aromas whatsoever.

I don't think I've ever had a beer that was so clear...and the yeast cake was so tight that it was like concrete in the bottom, and I racked off what appeared to be the entire 5 gallons of liquid, and almost no sediment or hops.

I'll know more in a month when it's carbed and conditioned, but I think it is going to be perfect when it is done. I'll have some BJCp judge friends blind taste it to see. But I don't think there is a hint of "autolysis" or other nasty nonsense in there.

There's enough info on here, in BYO magazine and on Basic brewing to back this stuff up...None of their arguments really hold much water anymore. They're about 5 years and several brewer's medals (even mine) behind the times.

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Old 10-27-2010, 03:07 AM   #7
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And yes,



We've done it to death here, there is little that already hasn't been said, asked, argued, and answered on this topic...it's all here. And easily searchable. It really is a done topic...it's all down to simply being a matter of choice anymore. Secondary, don't secondary it doesn't really matter, both ways work fine.

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Old 10-27-2010, 03:11 AM   #8
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...nevermind

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Old 10-27-2010, 04:41 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone! I knew this issue had been debated to death, but I wasn't sure the mould & over-pitch/heated yeast thing had been covered. I did search the forum, but didn't come across those exact details. I'm going back to get that primary!

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Old 10-27-2010, 04:42 AM   #10
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Also: nice animated pic Revvy!

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