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Old 04-06-2014, 10:53 AM   #1
nicklawmusic
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Default Secondary Fermentor

I've just purchased a Festival of London Landlord's Porter beer kit and the instructions say that after two weeks in the primary, I should rack to a secondary.

Are secondary fermenters necessary and what purpose do they serve?


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Old 04-06-2014, 11:06 AM   #2
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Most of the time they're not really necessary. Some people like to use them, and some don't. The main reason most people will use them is if they're adding something after primary fermentation is done (fruit, oak, things like that).

The kit intends the secondary to be used to let the beer sit to clear and let the yeast finish working. Really though, this can all be done in the primary without the risk of infection or oxidation when you transfer it. I'd say the best bet is to leave it in the primary for about three weeks, then, as long as your FG is stable, go ahead and bottle/keg it.

Good luck.

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Old 04-06-2014, 12:04 PM   #3
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I rack to secondary after 2 weeks in primary . I do that because when you rack directly from the primary to the bottling bucket, you have to be real careful not to suck up the trub from the bottom of the primary. That will make your beer hazy. Racking to Secondary, for me, solves that problem. Tried both ways and my way, I never get a hazy beer.

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Old 04-06-2014, 12:20 PM   #4
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I agree with dmashl. I my beer is a lot clearer when I do it. Is it absolutely necessary? No. It's all just preference really.

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Old 04-06-2014, 12:36 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone. That's helpful.


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Old 04-06-2014, 04:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by nicklawmusic View Post
Thanks everyone. That's helpful.


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There have been a ton of posts on this forum both pro and con regarding the use of a secondary vessel. And you'll probably hear strong opinions from both sides.

The idea of 10-14 days primary then 10-14 days secondary is an old technique. It was probably useful 20 years ago because the malts that were available weren't as well developed as what we now have. Lately, though, some of the prominently published brewing gurus have gone on record as saying it is not necessary and probably not particularly helpful, especially with the excellent malts we have to work with now.

I like to use a secondary vessel, especially with lighter colored beers such as APA, Cream Ale, etc. but not in the way your kit called for. Once fermentation is completed (usually 8-14days) I will rack the beer to a 5 gal. carboy and drop the temperature to 38-40F for 3-5 days. This cold crashing causes most of the chill haze and other proteins that make your beer cloudy to drop to the bottom of the carboy. When you rack your beer off of this last bit of trub into the bottling bucket or keg you end up with a very clear beer and a minimum of trub in the bottom of the bottle or keg.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:41 PM   #7
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Thanks for that. I can put my money to better use and buy more kits/ingredients!


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Old 04-07-2014, 12:28 AM   #8
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One thing to remember if you do transfer to secondary is that time is just a guideline.. Your hydrometer is the key indicator of when to transfer. I've had beers that were supposed to take 2 weeks finish in 8 days or as long as 3 1/2 weeks. The important thing is to have at least 2 consecutive consistent readings. Transferring before the end of fermentation can have negative side effects.

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Old 04-07-2014, 12:51 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Atticus1019 View Post
One thing to remember if you do transfer to secondary is that time is just a guideline.. Your hydrometer is the key indicator of when to transfer. I've had beers that were supposed to take 2 weeks finish in 8 days or as long as 3 1/2 weeks. The important thing is to have at least 2 consecutive consistent readings. Transferring before the end of fermentation can have negative side effects.
+1 to the above.
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Old 04-08-2014, 03:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puddlethumper View Post

The idea of 10-14 days primary then 10-14 days secondary is an old technique. It was probably useful 20 years ago because the malts that were available weren't as well developed as what we now have. Lately, though, some of the prominently published brewing gurus have gone on record as saying it is not necessary and probably not particularly helpful, especially with the excellent malts we have to work with now.
I have heard this theory regarding yeast strains (more developed in the sense that they are healthier and less prone to autolysis in the 3-6 week range), but not regarding malts. What's the theory on malts?
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