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Old 01-28-2011, 12:47 AM   #1
pete2601
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This is my first time brewing.I bought a kit of House Brew light lager.The instruction said to leave it in the primary fermentor for 3-5 days then rack to the second. is this the best thing to do?

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Old 01-28-2011, 01:11 AM   #2
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I'd just leave it in the primary two weeks or so. You're really best off getting a hydrometer to make sure fermentation is done before bottling, but a two week primary should be good.


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Old 01-28-2011, 01:15 AM   #3
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Just leave it in the primary for 3 weeks. Then another 3 in bottles before you chill and drink it.

If you don't have any pressing need to rack to the secondary just skip it. You will still have good beer without the secondary. This cuts out an opportunity for infection, too. The only reason I would suggest using a secondary for you first brew is in case you need room for the next.

If you do need to rack, keep it in the primary for 1 week, 2 weeks in the secondary, and 3 weeks in bottles.

Make sure to keep the bottles at room temp during those three weeks, chill it for a good 24 hours, and then give yourself a nice pour. Pour slowly and smoothly. Stop pouring when the bottle is horizontal. This will leave the yeast behind. Sit down and look at your prize. Look at the color, the opacity, the head, the color of the head, and stick your nose right down in it and smell it. My beer is best when I end up with it on my nose. Take a picture. You won't ever forget the first beer you made.

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Old 01-28-2011, 01:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete2601 View Post
This is my first time brewing.I bought a kit of House Brew light lager.The instruction said to leave it in the primary fermentor for 3-5 days then rack to the second. is this the best thing to do?
There's been a shift in belief over the past few years, now most of us leave our beers in primary for a month rather than rack to a secondary, and find our beers are better for being on the yeast that time. And clearer.

Fermenting the beer is just a part of what the yeast do. If you leave the beer alone, they will go back and clean up the byproducts of fermentation that often lead to off flavors. That's why many brewers skip secondary and leave our beers alone in primary for a month. It leaves plenty of time for the yeast to ferment, clean up after themselves and then fall out, leveing our beers crystal clear, with a tight yeast cake.

We have multiple threads about this all over the place, like this one http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/igno...10-days-78298/

If you leave the beer alone, they will go back and clean up the byproducts of fermentation that often lead to off flavors. That's why many brewers skip secondary and leave our beers alone in primary for a month. It leaves plenty of time for the yeast to ferment, clean up after themselves and then fall out, leveing our beers crystal clear, with a tight yeast cake.

This is the latest recommendation, it is the same one many of us have been giving for several years on here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Palmer


Tom from Michigan asks:
I have a few questions about secondary fermentations. I've read both pros and cons for 2nd fermentations and it is driving me crazy what to do. One, are they necessary for lower Gravity beers?
Two, what is the dividing line between low gravity and high gravity beers? Is it 1.060 and higher?
Three, I have an American Brown Ale in the primary right now, a SG of 1.058, Should I secondary ferment this or not?
Your advice is appreciated, thanks for all you do!

Allen from New York asks:

John, please talk about why or why not you would NOT use a secondary fermenter (bright tank?) and why or why not a primary only fermentation is a good idea. In other words, give some clarification or reason why primary only is fine, versus the old theory of primary then secondary normal gravity ale fermentations.

Palmer answers:

These are good questions – When and why would you need to use a secondary fermenter? First some background – I used to recommend racking a beer to a secondary fermenter. My recommendation was based on the premise that (20 years ago) larger (higher gravity) beers took longer to ferment completely, and that getting the beer off the yeast reduced the risk of yeast autolysis (ie., meaty or rubbery off-flavors) and it allowed more time for flocculation and clarification, reducing the amount of yeast and trub carryover to the bottle. Twenty years ago, a homebrewed beer typically had better flavor, or perhaps less risk of off-flavors, if it was racked off the trub and clarified before bottling. Today that is not the case.

The risk inherent to any beer transfer, whether it is fermenter-to-fermenter or fermenter-to-bottles, is oxidation and staling. Any oxygen exposure after fermentation will lead to staling, and the more exposure, and the warmer the storage temperature, the faster the beer will go stale.

Racking to a secondary fermenter used to be recommended because staling was simply a fact of life – like death and taxes. But the risk of autolysis was real and worth avoiding – like cholera. In other words, you know you are going to die eventually, but death by cholera is worth avoiding.

But then modern medicine appeared, or in our case, better yeast and better yeast-handling information. Suddenly, death by autolysis is rare for a beer because of two factors: the freshness and health of the yeast being pitched has drastically improved, and proper pitching rates are better understood. The yeast no longer drop dead and burst like Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life when fermentation is complete – they are able to hibernate and wait for the next fermentation to come around. The beer has time to clarify in the primary fermenter without generating off-flavors. With autolysis no longer a concern, staling becomes the main problem. The shelf life of a beer can be greatly enhanced by avoiding oxygen exposure and storing the beer cold (after it has had time to carbonate).

Therefore I, and Jamil and White Labs and Wyeast Labs, do not recommend racking to a secondary fermenter for ANY ale, except when conducting an actual second fermentation, such as adding fruit or souring. Racking to prevent autolysis is not necessary, and therefore the risk of oxidation is completely avoidable. Even lagers do not require racking to a second fermenter before lagering. With the right pitching rate, using fresh healthy yeast, and proper aeration of the wort prior to pitching, the fermentation of the beer will be complete within 3-8 days (bigger = longer). This time period includes the secondary or conditioning phase of fermentation when the yeast clean up acetaldehyde and diacetyl. The real purpose of lagering a beer is to use the colder temperatures to encourage the yeast to flocculate and promote the precipitation and sedimentation of microparticles and haze.

So, the new rule of thumb: don’t rack a beer to a secondary, ever, unless you are going to conduct a secondary fermentation.
THIS is where the latest discussion and all your questions answered.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/sec...-weigh-176837/

We basically proved that old theory wrong on here 5 years ago, and now the rest fo the brewing community is catching up. Though a lot of old dogs don't tend to follow the latest news, and perpetuate the old stuff.

The autolysis from prolong yeast contact has fallen by the wayside, in fact yeast contact is now seen as a good thing.

All my beers sit a minimum of 1 month in the primary. And I recently bottled a beer that sat in primary for 5.5 months with no ill effects.....

You'll find that more and more recipes these days do not advocate moving to a secondary at all, but mention primary for a month, which is starting to reflect the shift in brewing culture that has occurred in the last 4 years, MOSTLY because of many of us on here, skipping secondary, opting for longer primaries, and writing about it. Recipes in BYO have begun stating that in their magazine. I remember the "scandal" it caused i the letters to the editor's section a month later, it was just like how it was here when we began discussing it, except a lot more civil than it was here. But after the Byo/Basic brewing experiment, they started reflecting it in their recipes.
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:22 AM   #5
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If you really want to learn brewing, just do it. Books help, too. The Complete Joy of Home Brewing by Charlie Papazian is the bible of homebrew. How to Brew by John Palmer is another great one. The nice thing about How to Brew is that the book is completely online.

Don't read anything into the link. I just get a kick out of lmgtfy. Poor Sarah has to put up with it all the time.

and read all of Revvy's threads.

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