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Old 01-14-2012, 08:29 PM   #1
mattne421
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Default Benefits of a secondary

what are some reasons one would rack to a secondary? cant you make the same brew using just a primary?

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Old 01-14-2012, 08:31 PM   #2
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I can't think of any benefits for most ales. For lagers, I still rack off of the yeast cake when primary and the diacetyl rest are finished.

If I was aging a beer more than a month or so, I"d probably rack to the bright tank (a "secondary") to age it.

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Old 01-14-2012, 08:59 PM   #3
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My beers are always way clearer with a secondary. Some people say no difference in flavor, but I see the difference in the pour.

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Old 01-14-2012, 09:05 PM   #4
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For my ales (which is what I'm brewing currently) I don't rack to another vessel without a damned good reason. Which is to get off the yeast for a flavor addition that works best off the yeast. Or to add another flavor addition while wanting to stop the previous one. I dry hop in primary without ill effect too.

If I'm going to age after the brew is finished, also for more than a month (as Yooper posted) then I think about racking. Otherwise, I leave it until it's going into keg. I've gone 7-8 weeks in primary without any issue, and getting very clear brew from it. I also go at least 4 weeks in primary, before going to keg. The brew is super clear at that point. I can't see it ever getting any clearer by moving it to another vessel before going to keg.

IF you're using a low flocculating yeast, it might be of benefit. Or, if you're trying to rush things along. Or you tend to swirl the fermenter as you move it into position to rack from. I do none of those things.

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Old 01-14-2012, 09:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrazord View Post
My beers are always way clearer with a secondary. Some people say no difference in flavor, but I see the difference in the pour.

I honestly do not believe in my experience that secondaries produce "clearer" beer. The same proteins, yeast, and other compounds are going to fall out of suspension no matter how many times you rack the beer to another fermenter. Its all about time and letting the yeast and gravity do their thing. You can produce the same clarity in a beer when left in the primary vs. a secondary.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:23 PM   #6
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I used to secondary everything early in my brewing "career" over worries of autolysis, but now that we know that isn't really an issue, I only do it for certain reasons:

- when using fruit as part of the beer
- when bulk aging in a carboy (barleywine, etc)
- when using a second kind of yeast (lambic, etc)
- when I don't plan my pipeline correctly and need one of my 6.5 gal carboys

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Old 01-14-2012, 10:07 PM   #7
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In order to dry hop - not that you'd have to - or just to clear your bucket/carboy. I have a batch sitting in my only big bucket since Dec. 21st that I'm going to secondary so I can fill it with another batch.

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Old 01-14-2012, 10:33 PM   #8
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I basically use primary only for the most part. You are going to hear conflicting opinions on this. Most people in here say Autolysis is not an issue. After reading Gordon Strong's new book I am less likely to believe that blindly. He mentioned being a primary only guy until he met an experienced judge who taught him what to look for in regards to Autolysis. Apparently it has more of a glutamate (savory) flavor and not a rubbery flavor that many attribute to Autolysis. He said he found the fault in several of his own brews once he knew what he was looking for and finds it while judging today. Of course this is one mans opinion. This man is a grand master judge who has brewed a ton of award winning beers

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Old 01-14-2012, 10:36 PM   #9
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I secondary everything. Usually at 2 weeks. Why:

1) I harvest yeast from most batches, and it is healthier if it is not left under the pressure of a couple of feet of beer for a long time.

2) I dry hop many beers and don't want the hops in the slurry I harvest (see 1).

3) Yeast are dying all the time, I like to get it off the yeast if there is no reason for it to stay on it.

4) I rarely bottle before 8 weeks. I think that is starting to be a long time if it stayed on yeast. Sometimes it sits for several months.

5) I do a lot of Belgians, and end ferment in the 80s. The higher temperature accelerates decay of the yeast.

6) Habit.

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Old 01-14-2012, 10:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradleyBrew View Post
I honestly do not believe in my experience that secondaries produce "clearer" beer. The same proteins, yeast, and other compounds are going to fall out of suspension no matter how many times you rack the beer to another fermenter. Its all about time and letting the yeast and gravity do their thing. You can produce the same clarity in a beer when left in the primary vs. a secondary.
I've only done 4 batches, but when I skipped secondary I got a lot more sediment in the pour. It could have been the style or just dumb luck. Perhaps I'll try it again.
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