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Old 12-19-2009, 04:42 AM   #1
permo
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Default Too Secondary or not to secondary...that is the question.

Well, I have always used a secondary or clearing vessel since the beggining of my brewing carreer. Believing this was the way to clear, delicious beer. I have brewed 10 good all grain beers using a secondary for all of them...

I decided to take some of the advice of the folks on the boards here and go with an extended primary and skip secondary on a maple nut brown ale of mine. To make a long story short I couldn't be more impressed. I brewed up a 1.052 nut brown and pitched a nottingham starter in. I fermented at 63 degrees for two weeks and just bottled tonight. This beer was CRYSTAL clear...amazing. The most impressive part was the flocculation. The nottingham was about 1/2 inch thick and stuck like glue to the bottom of the fermenter. I siphoned every last drop of beer off the the cake and it didn't cloud up or get roused at all. AMAZING!

So, here are my thoughts. Unless, you are adding fruit, spices, dry hopping, aging a heavy/imperial , or lagering....secondary is for the birds.

needless to say I am impressed. I took a taste of this beer while bottling and it was so smooth..dangerously smooth for a 5.7% ABV brew..almost bock like.

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Old 12-19-2009, 06:25 AM   #2
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I also stopped using secondarys a long time ago. After a recent issue of BYO, I'm starting to think it doesn't really matter either way though. If you really want to test it....split a batch evenly down the middle. With one half, ferment it for 4 weeks in primary. With the other, ferment in primary until almost finished and then transfer to secondary. You'll get a good idea of how "bulk aging" on the yeast helps.

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Old 12-19-2009, 12:50 PM   #3
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This horse has been beaten to within a inch of it's life. Some brews I secondary, some I don't. It's that simple.

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Old 12-19-2009, 03:13 PM   #4
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"This horse has been beaten to within a inch of it's life". Yeah the general consensus on this board is not to secondary unless you are going to dry hop. etc. and even then some dry hop in primary and do everything in pirmary.

However if you have been doing the primary-secondary routine you have to take a bit of a leap of faith particularly if your beers have turned out very well and now you are trying to improve them further. Further, I still find a great deal of variation in the threads as to how long to keep a beer in primary. The OP of this thread talks about a nut brown in a 2 week primary prior to bottling. That seems on the short side to me. I keg and have a nut brow ale that is going on 3 weeks. I thought that 4 weeks in primary was the rule of thumb. How long is a sufficient time in primary? Is it dependent on the style of beer involved? Thanks, Montanaandy

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Old 12-19-2009, 03:20 PM   #5
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It is dependant on style, but you're right. Rule of thumb is 4 weeks. If you're doing a wheat or an IPA, then less time is acceptable. Two weeks is generally the minimum amount of time I will leave a beer in primary.

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Old 12-20-2009, 01:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suthrncomfrt1884 View Post
I also stopped using secondarys a long time ago. After a recent issue of BYO, I'm starting to think it doesn't really matter either way though. If you really want to test it....split a batch evenly down the middle. With one half, ferment it for 4 weeks in primary. With the other, ferment in primary until almost finished and then transfer to secondary. You'll get a good idea of how "bulk aging" on the yeast helps.
Like you, I stopped using secondary's a long time ago. I keep it in a primary anywhere from 2 1/2 to 4 weeks. Rack it to a keg for another week or so. My beer came out great either way. I just like the doing one less step.
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Old 12-20-2009, 07:59 AM   #7
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I secondary every batch.

The cleaner the brew going into the bottle/keg the cleaner the brew coming out.

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Old 12-20-2009, 02:03 PM   #8
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Only if I am dry hopping or bulk aging do I use a secondary. Other wise it is a waste of my time. Went to this method a while back and am also very impressed with results.

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Old 12-20-2009, 02:49 PM   #9
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I'm in the "secondary optional" camp for most of my beers. For higher gravity stuff, I like to do a long primary (at least four weeks) and the same amount in secondary.

I've found that a secondary makes no appreciable difference versus placing the beer in a keg directly. Sometimes I will use the keg as a secondary before chilling and carbonating (usually because there is no room in my kegerator).

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Old 12-20-2009, 04:41 PM   #10
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I used to secondary only for the fact that I was brewing every week and I only had one 6.5 gal carboy.

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