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Old 02-19-2011, 02:33 PM   #1
ultimahitzu
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Default Irish red secondary fermentation?

I am a beginner at this and only ask this because I read a few posts saying secondary fermentation isn't needed a lot of the time. I am brewing an irish red. Does that require single our secondary fermentation? How long usually on either? How do you determain what kind of fermentation you use? Thanks for the help.

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Old 02-19-2011, 02:40 PM   #2
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I'm a beginner myself so hopefully someone more experienced can add to this but from what I understand most people only use a secondary to improve clarity or for a higher gravity beer. A lot of people seem to live by the single only rule. Either way I think as long as your careful transferring it can't hurt to use a secondary.

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Old 02-19-2011, 02:41 PM   #3
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It's turning into a more common practice to just leave it in the primary for four weeks or so. Transferring to a secondary is only suggested now if you add anything like fruit. I just transferred my small batch to two separate one gallon jugs so I can test out two different dry hops. I did this though by using my co2 tank and a carboy cap to transfer. This way I didn't introduce any o2 and I didn't have to elevate my carboy, thus rousing yeast/trub. Long story short, keep it in the primary until your hydrometer says it's done. Then let it all settle for another couple weeks till it clears.

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Old 02-19-2011, 02:47 PM   #4
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I am new also and I am staying away from a secondary unless I am going to dry hop or add fruit. Every time you open your fermentor you risk the chance of contamination and also every time you transfer.
I have been doing ale extracts and I usually leave them in for three weeks total and bottle on that third week. I believe this is a safe time frame. The only way to know for sure it to take a gravity reading. I do that at the two week mark and then before I bottle to make sure nothing has changed.

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Old 02-19-2011, 02:48 PM   #5
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Most of us are leaving the wort on the yeast for 2-4 weeks (longer for bigger brews)... Hydrometer readings taken across multiple days determine FG (or when everything that can be fermented, has been)... BUT, you need to let the yeast do more... Leaving it on the yeast cake means there's more yeast in the wort to clean up after themselves, making your brew even better...

BEFORE you rack, or bottle, taste the hydrometer sample... When it tastes good, wait a few days and test/taste again... Eventually, you'll be able to get a baseline for different OG ranges, so you sample less often.

With today's yeast, you can safely leave a brew on a yeast cake for months... Unlike days of old (such as over 10 years ago) when yeast wasn't so good, and so were too many of the ingredients used...

Tight temperature control of the fermenting wort can help reduce the time on yeast, but usually that requires a fermentation chamber, or close monitoring and moving things around. A fermentation chamber is on my list of things I need to get soon... Right after the grain mill (set to order this week coming)...

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Old 02-19-2011, 05:02 PM   #6
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Thanks, that basically answers my question. I basically wasted money on a carboy for now then. oh well, I might need it in the future.

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Old 02-19-2011, 05:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultimahitzu View Post
Thanks, that basically answers my question. I basically wasted money on a carboy for now then. oh well, I might need it in the future.
Wasted on it?? Hell no!! Use that as another primary... If it's glass, get a blow-off tube to fit into the bung hole (don't use TP). If plastic, get tubing to go into the airlock hole in the bung... Use a large container, or one of the 2 gallon pails most LHBS sell and fill it about 1/4-1/2 way with sanitizer solution (StarSan is great there) and let it go to town...

I use my 5 gallon carboy's as primaries now too... Otherwise, I'd only be able to have one brew fermenting at a time (I have only one 6 gallon carboy)...
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Old 02-19-2011, 06:00 PM   #8
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Its a 5 gallon better bottle with bung, will that work as primary or will it be too small and overflow or something?

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Old 02-19-2011, 06:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultimahitzu View Post
Its a 5 gallon better bottle with bung, will that work as primary or will it be too small and overflow or something?
I use that all the time as a primary... Just get a length of tubing to go into the bung's airlock hole (your LHBS should be able to provide it, or get another length of tubing for the racking cane) and put the other end into the sanitizer solution bucket/pail/container... I do that when I'm not sure how active the fermentation will be, or when I know I'll need it... Usually, after a few days (week tops) you can pull the tube and install an airlock... Or you can leave the tube in, since that is (essentially) your airlock...

Using the carboy as a primary, means you'll be able to have two batches going at one time... I try to have 2-3 running at a time, with another just a weekend away... Gets your pipeline established, and then maintains it without worry... It also means that you can give each brew as much time as it needs to be as good/great as possible (always a good thing)...

Happy brewing...
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:36 PM   #10
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Why do I need the length of tubing, can't I just use an airlock for that?

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