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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > To Secondary or Not? John Palmer and Jamil Zainasheff Weigh In
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Old 06-01-2010, 12:39 PM   #101
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I like the idea of keeping my beer in primary for 3-4 weeks. It makes better beer AND I get to be lazy.

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Old 06-01-2010, 06:57 PM   #102
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Revvy thanks for answering...

I suppose I didn't realize that the blanket of CO2 will easily sit on top of the beer for a good month as long as it is not opened, I figured that since it will never be perfectly still inside that some would leak out even though the CO2 is heavier than air. Does cracking the lid a but really cause the blanket of CO2 to disappear that fast then?

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Old 06-01-2010, 08:02 PM   #103
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You have to take this 'CO2 blanket' with a pinch of salt. In a non-airtight system, the air above the beer may be slightly higher in CO2 than elsewhere, but certainly nowhere near 100% CO2 because of the basic laws of diffusion. If you cause air currents around the top of the fermenter then any CO2 blanket will certainly blow away, but it's effect is not life-changing.

If water is flat and undisturbed (with no 'CO2 blanket'), given the physics of the pressures and equilibrium at room temperature, oxygen will only diffuse into it slowly (instead of yeast, try keeping fish in an non-aerated, undisturbed fish bowl with a small opening, they will fairly quickly begin to suffer!). The flow rate of oxygen into your beer without a CO2 blanket would certainly not be enough to allow the yeast to respire aerobically, hence why many people successfully use open fermentation. However, obviously bacterial infection is another aspect of keeping air currents out...

Remember that if you read 'CO2 blanket' as 'all-encompassing heavy layer of pure carbon dioxide' then you have much greater things to worry about - given the current global warming crisis we all would have drowned in a blanket of the stuff covering the surface of the earth many years ago!

Wow, a couple of homebrews and I start spurting science, I hope if I read this in the morning it makes sense...

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Old 06-01-2010, 10:45 PM   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Well, I don't know where you are getting YOUR information from, but most of us who have been leaving our beer in prmary for a month, would say that you are wrong; that leaving our beer on the yeast for a month has led to a VAST improvement in our beers. In terms of clarity, in terms of clearing up those by products of fermentation, and in terms of an overall crispness to our beers.

We're not ARBITRARILY doing it, we are doing it because it makes our beers BETTER.

It may be hard for you to grasp, maybe because you are new to brewing and the thought of not having your beer to drink immediately is painful. But it's not some plot by the experienced brewers to torture the newbs by holding their beer back.

We do it because we've found that our beers are better this way. I've started placing in contests, and inevitably my scoresheets have comments from the judges about the visual clarity, and the CLEAN FLAVOR PROFILE of them. And I don't do anything special to my beers, except leave them in primary for a month.

We've already done the arguments against this, we aught flack and arguments like your for the years we have been doing this. And people citing Palmer and Jamil and others as to why this doesn't work, all the while we have been consistently getting great results by doing this.

And finally the folks in the larger brewing community, like Jamil, and Palmer, the podcasts and even the magazines are starting to realize that they passed on "common wisdom" based, I believed on the yeasts of the old days, that was crappy. And now they have to protect their egos and their cred as brewing gurus, so rather than just saying that they may have been wrong they are backpeddling a bit and saying "well maybe it's ok for homebrewers, but the pressures of a commercial vat of beer is different and THAT'S where we got the info from."

I don't know if that's true or not, and I don't care, all I know is that it works for our beers. And that's why we tell the new brewers to hold off awhile. It's not arbitrary, and we're not saying it because we think it just doesn't harm our beer, and therefore it's OK.

NO we advocate it because IT MAKES BETTER BEER.
I get MY information from a lot of places but I try and learn from experience. I like to think I know a thing or two, but I certainly don't know it all.
I've brewed the same recipe and left it in the fermentor for two weeks, The next time I brewed it I left it for 4 weeks and I really couldn't taste much difference. I've also kegged beer after a week and learned that's not such a great idea.
I think telling folks there will be a "vast improvement" by letting the beer sit for an extra two weeks is stretching it a bit. Letting it sit might help or it might not. Would you at least agree to that?
My point is that each beer is different and each brewer is different let the beer and the brewer decide when it's ready.
oh and
" NO we advocate it because IT MAKES BETTER BEER."
that my friend IS an arbitrary statement
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Old 06-02-2010, 04:11 AM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dzlater View Post
I get MY information from a lot of places but I try and learn from experience. I like to think I know a thing or two, but I certainly don't know it all.
I've brewed the same recipe and left it in the fermentor for two weeks, The next time I brewed it I left it for 4 weeks and I really couldn't taste much difference. I've also kegged beer after a week and learned that's not such a great idea.
I think telling folks there will be a "vast improvement" by letting the beer sit for an extra two weeks is stretching it a bit. Letting it sit might help or it might not. Would you at least agree to that?
My point is that each beer is different and each brewer is different let the beer and the brewer decide when it's ready.
oh and
" NO we advocate it because IT MAKES BETTER BEER."
that my friend IS an arbitrary statement
If I were a betting man, I'd wager that the folks here who actually primary for an entire month are a very vocal minority. I'm personally not going to contradict them. A month won't hurt anything and will ensure the batch has plenty of time as long as the brewer is ok with knowing the beer possibly could've been done sooner. But at the same time, there's no way I'll wait that long myself. I go grain to glass in 10-14 days on a few of my regular batches. I use big starters of yeast strains that aren't apt to leave a lot of diacetyl or sulfur behind. I don't do big beers. I use gelatin. I force carb. I do everything I can to reliably cheat time. I'd filter if I had the setup. Maybe I'm just the Vader to Revvy's Yoda But I won't go out there an preach it because unless you know what you're doing, these shortcuts could lead to disasters like bottle bombs and secondary fermentations kicking off in the keg. And these shortcuts are in no way universal. For example, any time I use Wyeast's Kolsch strain, it really does get a month in the primary. That strain of yeast really needs it. US-05? It gets a week of fermentation tops (counting from first signs of krausen). Fortunately for all of us, there are many different ways to handle fermentation and most of them work just fine.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:45 AM   #106
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Default why should you not dry hop in a primary fermenter?

i'm a relatively novice home brewer. i've brewed three batches, and in the midst of my fourth.

i've never used a secondary fermenter, but i have dry hopped my last two batches of beer - an IPA and a red ale. both have turned out fine.

i've now got a red ale, that i dry hopped a couple of weeks ago and is about ready to bottle. but, also in the primary fermenter (a glass carboy).

should i change up my practices?

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Old 07-03-2010, 03:16 AM   #107
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It's up to you. My SOP is to try stuff for myself and see what I think rather than strictly doing what somebody says I should do. If I was in your place, I'd try a xfer to secondary, dry hop there, and evaluate the results.

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Old 07-03-2010, 03:27 AM   #108
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Default Dry hopping in primary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kumarc42 View Post
i'm a relatively novice home brewer. i've brewed three batches, and in the midst of my fourth.

i've never used a secondary fermenter, but i have dry hopped my last two batches of beer - an IPA and a red ale. both have turned out fine.

i've now got a red ale, that i dry hopped a couple of weeks ago and is about ready to bottle. but, also in the primary fermenter (a glass carboy).

should i change up my practices?

Dry hopping in the primary fermentor is fine, as long as you do it after the majority of fermentation is finished. If you add your hops while the beer is still actively fermenting, most of the hop aroma will be driven out by the C02.

I have done both methods, but much prefer to dry hop in the primary. The less beer is transferred, the less chance for oxidation and contamination.

Today most experts in home brewing consider secondary fermentation to be "old school". Yeast quality is light years ahead of what it was back in the old days. As long as you use clean, healthy yeast, they will not impart off flavors from prolonged contact with the beer.
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Old 07-03-2010, 04:51 AM   #109
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I like secondaries. They give your beer a chance to clear a lot better. If I let it sit for a month in the primary then I end up sucking out a lot of the trub with my auto siphon because the yeast cake is too thick. When I rack to secondary and let it clear then when I auto siphon the level of the cake tends to be under the level that the auto siphon sucks from. The same goes for kegging. When I keg from the primary I end up with that perfect level of cake on the bottom of my keg so just a little bit gets sucked into my beer which results in cloudy nastiness. Yeah yeah yeah...dead yeast is a superfood...a little yeast never hurt anybody...blah blah blah. I like clear beer.

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Old 07-03-2010, 05:10 PM   #110
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I stopped doing secondaries for several years and I'm now back to doing them more often than not, for precisely the clarity reasons that artyboy mentions. I apprecaiet what the "experts" may say, but ultimately I prefer to experiment and decide for myself.

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