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Old 03-11-2010, 02:39 PM   #1
fbones24
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Default Big Beer -- Secondary Necessary?

Okay, I am getting ready to brew my third batch this weekend. So far my first two have come out great. I left both of them in primary for 21 days and then straight to bottles.

The beer I will be brewing this weekend will have an estimated OG of 1.080. I have not been able to get a clear consensus on here as to whether a secondary is necessary. I would really like to avoid a secondary right now if it is possible. What will happen if I just leave this one in primary for 4 weeks?

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Old 03-11-2010, 02:53 PM   #2
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I would think the majority of people on here would just leave it in the primary. I do not use a secondary for my beers unless I am adding fruit or oak. Just leave it on the yeast cake to let them do their work.

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Old 03-11-2010, 02:57 PM   #3
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I have yet to brew a big beer but the impression I get is that the most important part is the time spent bottle conditioning.

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Old 03-11-2010, 02:59 PM   #4
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Okay, so I will leave it in primary for four weeks and then bottle, but I am slightly worried about the bottle conditioning. This is an IPA with a lot of hops. Will longer conditioning in bottles reduce the hop flavor/aroma? How long after bottling do you usually see a degradation in hop flavor/aroma?

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Old 03-11-2010, 03:00 PM   #5
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I personally secondary most of my beers. A beer that big will probably need at least 2 months (again IMO) before if goes into the bottles. I would do 2-3 weeks in primary and then the rest in secondary. All my opinion.

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Old 03-11-2010, 03:02 PM   #6
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Not necessary, especially with an IPA. If it were a barleywine or RIS, something like that, I'd recommend putting it in a secondary for a few months for "bulk aging" as that works faster than bottle conditioning.

The second you remove the hops from your IPA you will start to lose flavor/aroma but not bitterness. It's just the nature of the beast, I'd give it around 4 weeks at 70F in the bottle then give it a try.

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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by fbones24 View Post
What will happen if I just leave this one in primary for 4 weeks?
You'll make beer.

The primary is for fermenting and you shouldn't move out of your primary until it's done fermenting. I take gravity readings once a week and when I get the same reading two weeks in a row, it's done. Sometimes that takes two weeks, sometimes it takes six. Just be aware that a big beer can take longer to finish. It might be done in four weeks but it might not. Let your hydrometer tell you when it is really ready.

After that, you can go straight to bottle or keg. Personally, I kick every batch into a secondary for a few weeks to let it clear up a bit. That's a totally optional step and if you don't want to do it, don't.
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbones24 View Post
Okay, so I will leave it in primary for four weeks and then bottle, but I am slightly worried about the bottle conditioning. This is an IPA with a lot of hops. Will longer conditioning in bottles reduce the hop flavor/aroma? How long after bottling do you usually see a degradation in hop flavor/aroma?
I would bottle condition for a minimum of three weeks, then have at it. IPAs need to be drank young if you dry hopped. You dont want to loose your hop slap.

EDIT: I have noticed a noticeable degradation in hop aroma in my IPAs after about 4 months. However, I still love the beer. Its not like it was undrinkable, it just didnt have the same kick from the dry hopping.
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Primary 1 - Mike's Mess up APA
Primary 2 - Kiwi Lime Hefe
Primary 3 - Nut brown
Primary 4- Pinot Noir

Kegged - Blonde Bimbo
Bottled - nada

Up Next: ESB, Chocolate Stout, Apple Wine


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Old 03-11-2010, 03:07 PM   #9
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woops, didn't see it was an IPA. Yeah, these should be drank younger.

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Old 03-11-2010, 03:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by gtpro View Post
I have yet to brew a big beer but the impression I get is that the most important part is the time spent bottle conditioning.
From my experience with big beers it seems like bulk conditioning matures the beer faster than conditioning in the bottle.
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