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Old 04-05-2006, 05:29 PM   #1
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Default Do I have to use a Secondary?

Q: I'm not really too concerned about the the clarity of my brews. Do I really have to use a secondary fermenter?

A: No, it's not absolutely essential to use a secondary...many home brewers make perfectly good beer without one. However, will your beer be better if you do use a secondary? ABSOLUTELY! Secondary fermentation is about clarity, but also about removing off flavors from your beer. To quote one of the masters:

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During secondary fermentation, the yeast reduces or removes certain undesirable flavor components (diacetyl, acetylaldehyde, and some sulphur compounds), thereby maturing the beer into a more drinkable condition. During this latter phase of fermentation, the majority of the yeast in the beer also settles to the bottom of the fermenter, leaving the beer clear and bright. Thus, at the end of secondary fermentation, beer is generally ready to be carbonated and consumed.
The above comes from a Ray Daniels article on secondary fermentation.
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Old 04-05-2006, 05:40 PM   #2
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When I first read your post I thougth it said "I'm not really too concerned about the quality of my brews!"

Clarity is definitely different than quality, eh?

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Old 04-05-2006, 05:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmditter
Clarity is definitely different than quality, eh?
Actually, my guess would be that the vast majority of non home brewers would say that clarity and quality are the same thing.
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Old 04-06-2006, 06:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pistolero
Actually, my guess would be that the vast majority of non home brewers would say that clarity and quality are the same thing.
I dunno... I've enjoyed Hefeweizen and other "cloudy" brews for many years before seeing the light about home brewing, and it didn't take long to learn that clarity and taste were not the same thing, especially when it came to the smaller, local breweries. Granted, I'm hardly an authority on the matter but clarity and quality are certainly not one and the same. Great White is a local brew (Eureka, CA) that is almost friggin' all-white but it kicks butt nonetheless.
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Old 04-06-2006, 04:48 PM   #5
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I use the slight chill haze in my beers to discourage others from drinking them: "Yeah, I know, they are just a little cloudy, huh? Maybe it is a bit of anquired taste - here's a nice MGD for ya, I will settle for this."

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Old 04-06-2006, 05:34 PM   #6
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i secondary everything even dark beers...just becasue.

clarity isn't an issue for stouts but i think i get a cleaner result.

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Old 04-25-2007, 07:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pistolero
Actually, my guess would be that the vast majority of non home brewers would say that clarity and quality are the same thing.

Haha, yeah. Pretty sad i would say. That bud light is so much better than a home brewed IPA, eh!
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Old 10-04-2008, 10:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM View Post
I use the slight chill haze in my beers to discourage others from drinking them: "Yeah, I know, they are just a little cloudy, huh? Maybe it is a bit of anquired taste - here's a nice MGD for ya, I will settle for this."
That's a good one and it sounds just eactly like something I would say to a homebrew nay-sayer!

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Old 10-04-2008, 10:49 PM   #9
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I quit using a secondary. When about a week of fermentation has happened and the active part is done I move the fermenter to a spot about 55 F and leave it two or three more weeks before bottling. This gets the yeast to flocculate out leaving extremely clear beer. I don't know if the "flavor improvement" of the secondary is occurring during that time or not, but I have not noticed any difference in beer taste. So while for most of our ales I don't see a compelling reason we should use a secondary, but there are a couple of good ones not to, like increased risk of infection and extra work and cleaning. Papizian's book says it doesn't matter unless you are lagering.

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Old 10-05-2008, 08:07 AM   #10
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WOW - blast from the past.

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