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Old 10-28-2005, 12:01 AM   #1
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Default secondary fermentor

I've been curious about the effectiveness of the secondary fermentor. It works great for clearing up the beer but all the recipes that I see say to let it sit in there for a couple weeks. Does anyone have a good explanation for this? Are you really going to get that much more yeast activity?

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Old 10-28-2005, 12:22 AM   #2
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Read this:

http://www.allaboutbeer.com/homebrew/secondar.html

There's a lot more going on there than just clearing. The flavors are changing and harsh notes are mellowing. IMO, it's a very necessary step for really good beer.

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Old 10-28-2005, 12:22 AM   #3
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That is the point of them, no activity they tend to fall out and down to the bottom and you get clearer beer. And most beer will benifit from aging for a little more than the two in the primary.

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Old 10-28-2005, 12:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottT
That's a really good read scott, thanks
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Old 10-28-2005, 12:44 AM   #5
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Good info on what's going on during the secondary here too:

http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter8-3.html

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Old 10-28-2005, 02:17 PM   #6
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ok, so, mostly related to this thread

does anyone keep their secondarys somewhere elevated so they dont have to move them at all when its time to rack? i just went through racking yesterday and was thinking it would make a whole lot more sense to keep them up on a shelf a couple feet off the ground instead of having to move them (and disturbing the sed.) when i want to rack

just an idea....hadn't seen it mentioned

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Old 10-28-2005, 03:26 PM   #7
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I don't keep mine elevated the whole time (because the carboys are in a fridge), but I keep it very near the racking station. I carefully move it up to a counter about 3 hours before I rack. Very little disturbance to start, and three more hours to settle before I touch it.

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Old 10-28-2005, 03:27 PM   #8
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I absolutely place my primary and secondary fermenters where I don't have to move them a centimeter when it comes time to rack. They're about 4' above the floor.

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Old 10-28-2005, 09:56 PM   #9
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I keep mine on a work surface and rack into a vessel placed on a chair below it.

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Old 10-29-2005, 05:22 AM   #10
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I typically let my beer sit in the secondary for some time while I wait on 50+ bottles to become available. If some yeast is stirred up when I lift the secondary up onto the counter then I figure it's fine - it'll just help the beer carbonate a bit faster. Besides, yeast will also settle out while the beer is sitting in the bottle.

To answer the original question:
A secondary will allow a surprisingly large amount of yeast to settle out - you'll have clearer beer. It also affords you the opportunity to "dry hop" your beer - this is very popular and some would argue necessary for IPAs. Lastly, bulk aging your beer will allow it to mellow and it will age more effectively in bulk than it will in bottles. So in short, yes a secondary is a very good idea. While it's not imperative that you have a secondary it is one of those things that will definately contribute to quality beer.

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