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Old 01-20-2013, 06:44 PM   #1
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Default Are bottle conditioning and secondary conditioning the same thing?

So going over the mechanics/chemistry/biology of all of these fermentation and conditioning processes, I've begun to wonder-- why do a secondary conditioning at all? Why not just bottle and allow the conditioning to happen there in each bottle? Is the conditioning that happens there different from using a secondary?

A second and related question is: so after bottling with priming sugar, aren't the yeast back in fermentation mode and producing all the esters, diacetyl, etc that the secondary conditioning was supposed to remove (and may again just be removed by bottle conditioning)?

Thanks for any ideas.

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Old 01-20-2013, 07:00 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by bgpbrew View Post
So going over the mechanics/chemistry/biology of all of these fermentation and conditioning processes, I've begun to wonder-- why do a secondary conditioning at all? Why not just bottle and allow the conditioning to happen there in each bottle? Is the conditioning that happens there different from using a secondary?

A second and related question is: so after bottling with priming sugar, aren't the yeast back in fermentation mode and producing all the esters, diacetyl, etc that the secondary conditioning was supposed to remove (and may again just be removed by bottle conditioning)?

Thanks for any ideas.
A seconday ferm is not necessary at all. Moving to seconday is most useful when you are adding additional ingredients such as dry hops, oak, etc. It could also be called a brite tank, as the beer will continue to clear in secondary. Another reason is for bulk aging. During this process, the beer is usually moved off the trub from primary and aged all together. Aging will occur differently in bottles due to temp and volume. Bottle conditioning is carbonating in the bottle with sugar, then aging (if necessary).

The fermentation that occurs in the bottle with priming sugar is so small and fast that any off flavors produced are undetectable.
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:53 PM   #3
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Along the same line of thinking, not meant to be thread hijack, is cold crashing your secondary the same as chilling your beer for drinking? My assumption is that both work but the crashed bottles will have sediment?

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Old 01-20-2013, 07:57 PM   #4
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yeah beer in a bottle is the same as beer in a carboy.

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Old 01-20-2013, 08:04 PM   #5
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hmmmm, so the benefits of bulk conditioning are a myth?

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Old 01-20-2013, 08:10 PM   #6
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hmmmm, so the benefits of bulk conditioning are a myth?
I'd rather have the sediment drop out in my bucket than my bottles.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:23 PM   #7
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hmmmm, so the benefits of bulk conditioning are a myth?

Which benefits?

The only the only downside to letting the sediment fall in bottles instead of a carboy would be effects seen after 1 year in the bottle. This would only be due to the oxygen that is in the bottle. There would also be a slight very slight flavor from the sediment of dead yeast, but this only effects a very small bit of the beer near the bottom assuming the bottles were stationary. But who really sits on homebrew for a year anyways?

I suppose if you had like a barley wine or something that the yeast would take a long time to drop, then limiting the time in the bottle exposed to oxygen would be beneficial.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:26 AM   #8
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Thanks for such quick responses!

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Old 01-21-2013, 01:24 AM   #9
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Which benefits?

The only the only downside to letting the sediment fall in bottles instead of a carboy would be effects seen after 1 year in the bottle. This would only be due to the oxygen that is in the bottle. There would also be a slight very slight flavor from the sediment of dead yeast, but this only effects a very small bit of the beer near the bottom assuming the bottles were stationary. But who really sits on homebrew for a year anyways?

I suppose if you had like a barley wine or something that the yeast would take a long time to drop, then limiting the time in the bottle exposed to oxygen would be beneficial.
There are many benfits to bulk aging. Your beer conditions faster and more uniformly by bulk aging. I have many beers that I let sit for a year or longer, there are many that are best when they have sat that long. And its not about letting the yeast drop out, that happens quickly in the fridge, it is about blending the flavors, and there are no bad flavors in the beer on the bottom of the bottle.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:43 AM   #10
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One more question-- so would the advice about not using a secondary be the same whether I use a carboy or bucket for my primary fermentation?

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