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Old 08-10-2011, 04:33 PM   #1
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Default general guidelines for secondary, to skip or not to skip

I know generally the idea around here is to skip secondary and ride it out in primary for 3 weeks. And after my first brew, after seeing the extra hassle and risk of contamination, im on board for the primary only.
But my question is when should you secondary. I've heard of dryhopping and adding fruit in secondary. But what about styles of beer? Which styles benefit or even need secondaries? Do you need to lager in a secondary? Also what is the rule of thumb for high gravity beers? Do you secondary and if so, how long?

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Old 08-10-2011, 04:46 PM   #2
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Generally,you would secondary a high gravity beer to bulk age,as they can take a few months. Or light to medium gravity ales when oak,fruit,etc is desired but off the yeast cake to keep it cleaner tasting,& slow down any additional fermentation. I,like many here,dry hop in primary after a stable FG is reached. That way,it's settled out more so the hop oils from dry hopping don't coat the settling yeast & get lost.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:25 PM   #3
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I almost always secondary for several reasons

1. I have a 6.5Gal anda 5 gal carboy. Secondary frees up the 6.5 to brew another batch. I brew every 2-3 weeks and leave my primary in there for 2-3 weeks.

2. I feel like it clears out the beer a bit more and makes it easier/cleaner to rack since there is less trub in the bottom

3. Dry Hopping, fruit, wood chips, cocoa nibs etc

4. I feel like its easier to harvest yeast from the secondary since alot of the hop trub gets left behind in primary when I rack to secondary

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Old 08-10-2011, 05:44 PM   #4
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I always use a secondary, I have found that the beer comes out so much cleaner that way.

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Old 08-10-2011, 05:52 PM   #5
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I would probably use one again if I added fruit, but that's not likely going to happen. Probably for a very strong beer. I used to use for dry hopping, but I tried it in the primary and it worked just as well.

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Old 08-10-2011, 05:55 PM   #6
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Secondary for aging or storage. Something like an Imperial Stout needs time to mellow out.

If it's something to be consumed when fresh then it goes right into a keg after the primary and shortly after into the keezer.

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Old 08-10-2011, 06:12 PM   #7
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I also secondary. Ale or Lager, there will be trub, and if it's fully or almost fully fermented out, why have your beer sit on trub for no reason? Ales I generally secondary for shorter periods..get them off the trub and clear a little over a week or so, then I bottle. Lagers, though, obviously need to be lagered for a longer period of time - and I definitely don't want my beer sitting on trub for months.
There's more hassle and cleanup involved, but I think it makes for a cleaner beer with no trub off-taste, so I think it's worth it.

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Old 08-10-2011, 06:16 PM   #8
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I've always secondary'ed. Why? Well, because I've always done it of course

I like the ability to have 2 chances to remove most of the yeast. 90% stays in the primary, the next 8-9% stay in the secondary, and 1-2% make it to the keg.

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Old 08-10-2011, 06:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionrdr
Generally,you would secondary a high gravity beer to bulk age,as they can take a few months. Or light to medium gravity ales when oak,fruit,etc is desired but off the yeast cake to keep it cleaner tasting,& slow down any additional fermentation. I,like many here,dry hop in primary after a stable FG is reached. That way,it's settled out more so the hop oils from dry hopping don't coat the settling yeast & get lost.
+1
Instead of retyping.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:09 PM   #10
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I've brewed 5 batches now, and all made it to the secondary except for the last. This last beer was dry-hopped right in the primary after two weeks of fermentation. Gave it a week to dry-hop, transfered to my bottling bucket and bottled em up.

This last batch just finished, and was probably the best looking (lack of sediment) that i've done. This for me told me that 1) My misconception of secondary helping to clarify was, indeed a misconception. 2) If this batch turned out cleaner (no floaties, or visible yeast floating around) in only the primary, then I've definately improved my process.

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