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Old 08-18-2012, 05:45 PM   #1
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Default Secondary fermentation

This is only my fourth batch to brew up. So I am a newbie and am seeking advice. I have always fermented in a ale pail and kepted it there throughout fermentation and a few weeks to clear it up before putting into a bottling bucket and bottling. My question is, is there any real advantage to moving to a secondary fermenter after fermentation. I'm not adding any other flavors to the brew.

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Old 08-18-2012, 06:05 PM   #2
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i don't anymore. racking to a secondary seems to be falling out of favor with a lot of people recently (palmer and zainasheff i have heard recommend against it now) just because of the oxidization or contamination risk you run during transfer. i personally haven't noticed any off flavors or anything from having my beer sit on the trub a little longer in the primary.
opinions being what they are, i can only recommend giving it a try for yourself.

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Old 08-18-2012, 07:28 PM   #3
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I ferment almost all my beers 3 weeks in a primary and only use a secondary if I use fruits or something somewhat different. I'm not bothered by hazy or cloudy beers and in fact, most clear very well. I've found that thru the years transferring increases the chance of skunky beer unless done with much care. And as mentioned, more oxidation.
I usually dry hop after 7-10 days and then, after 3 weeks, directly to the keg.

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Old 08-18-2012, 07:41 PM   #4
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I started with secondaries so I have a bunch of them so I still do it. Never contaminated a batch or had oxidation issues. I only have a few kegs available so the secondaries also free up space in my primaries for me to brew another beer which I like.

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Old 08-19-2012, 02:12 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice. I'll stick with a primary only. I brewed it last night. Used carboys for the first time instead of buckets. And blow off hoses instead of airlocks. I think this'll be my best yet. Thanks again.

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Old 08-19-2012, 03:26 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by inhousebrew View Post
I started with secondaries so I have a bunch of them so I still do it. Never contaminated a batch or had oxidation issues. I only have a few kegs available so the secondaries also free up space in my primaries for me to brew another beer which I like.
This is the only reason I occasionally use a secondary but I have 3 fermenters so I rarely run into this problem. But it's about the only thing to do in this case.
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:03 AM   #7
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I've found no need for secondary. I've left beer on yeast/trub for several months with no off flavors, added fruit to primary, and dry hopped in primary before racking to my bottling bucket or keg with no ill effects. I figure why make more work for myself when I can make it easy and just primary only. Time and cold crashing (and fining agents if necessary) will clear a beer in primary, so no need on that front either.

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Old 08-22-2012, 11:03 AM   #8
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I just kegged my IPA that I brewed on the 28th of july. I didn't use any clarifying agents and I didn't cold crash. I am in store for a hazy beer. But it's crisp, fresh, and 7.44 percent by volume.

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Old 08-23-2012, 03:56 PM   #9
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.........My question is, is there any real advantage to moving to a secondary fermenter after fermentation. I'm not adding any other flavors to the brew.
That depends on your personal tastes. There are flavor advantages to using a secondary, and there are flavor advantages to leaving the beer in primary. The question is which flavor advantages do you prefer? The differences can be subtle in some styles. For some it is not worth bothering to transfer, while others think the difference is worth it. Plus there are a lot of folks who prefer the flavor from a long primary. Neither way is more correct than the other. Both make good beer.
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Old 08-23-2012, 04:31 PM   #10
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That depends on your personal tastes. There are flavor advantages to using a secondary, and there are flavor advantages to leaving the beer in primary. The question is which flavor advantages do you prefer? The differences can be subtle in some styles. For some it is not worth bothering to transfer, while others think the difference is worth it. Plus there are a lot of folks who prefer the flavor from a long primary. Neither way is more correct than the other. Both make good beer.
I agree there are pros and cons to both methods -

I have used the "primary only method" on my first several brews and while it worked and I got clear beer, especially if I cold crashed, It did add a few weeks to the process, and my beer, while good, had a "taste' that I did not quite care for.

On my last 4 or 5 brews - After 7-10 days in primary, I rack onto gellatin in a secondary, let that sit in the secondary for a 2-3 days, then cold crash for a day or 2, then rack to a keg.
Put 30 lbs of CO2 to the keg for 24-30 hours (no shaking...) and start to drink it. It gets a little "better" after a week or 2 in the kegerator and is crystal clear with out that "taste" I dont like, just clean crisp beer.

My last homebrew club meeting people were amazed that my Kolsh was not lagered for months... it was 6 weeks old from grain, but had not really changed at all since it was 4 weeks old.

like pgg2ba said -
both ways make good beer... do what works for you.

thanks Kevin
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