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Old 07-08-2008, 03:50 PM   #1
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Default Latest trend - NO Secondary?

It seems that many seasoned pros are skipping using a secondary and just keeping everything in the Primary for two to MANY weeks).

The reasoning is to let the yeast clean up the diacetyl they've produced.

Is the reason for a secondary only for clearing the brew before bottling?

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Old 07-08-2008, 03:53 PM   #2
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You can dry hop in the secondary as well.

My kit (Coopers) has no secondary fermenter so I've never used it (also no need for a siphon!) and I don't really feel like I need to either.

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Old 07-08-2008, 03:53 PM   #3
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Yes and/or to give n00bs something to do so that they don't drink green beer or create bottle bombs.

Did I say that out loud?

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Old 07-08-2008, 03:54 PM   #4
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Yes, a secondary is actually more of a clearing tank. There are a couple of other reasons (benefits) to using one, though. First, for aging a length of time. You'd risk autolysis if you left the beer in primary for as long as you can leave it in secondary. So, you can rack from the primary and leave the beer in the clearing tank for a long, long, time. Also, in my case anyway, I always seem to drink the beer before it's actually at its peak. If I just use a primary, I might keg that and want to drink it before it's really time. If I put it in the secondary, I can't drink it too early!

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Old 07-08-2008, 03:58 PM   #5
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I will continue to secondary everything but wheat/rye beers. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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Old 07-08-2008, 03:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by olllllo View Post
Yes and/or to give n00bs something to do so that they don't drink green beer or create bottle bombs.

Did I say that out loud?
BWAHAHAHAHA +1!!!!

Secondary is good for many things...if you have added fruit in primary or during the boil (like a pumkin ale that calls for it in the boil).

Or adding Fruit, dryhopping, or adding something like vanilla to the beer after fermentation is complete.

Making room if you only have one fermenter...

Long term aging of beers, like barley wines that may take upwards of a year to mellow.

The fear of autolysis is a big reason that people are afraid of leaving it on the cake...But like Palmer said (and people usually miss)

Quote:
As a final note on this subject, I should mention that by brewing with healthy yeast in a well-prepared wort, many experienced brewers, myself included, have been able to leave a beer in the primary fermenter for several months without any evidence of autolysis.
I did it by accident the first time, I used to secondary all the time, but I accidently let Yooper's Dead Guy Clone sit for a month, and it was the best beer I ever made...then I started doing it to all my beers, even some repeat recipes...Then I heard about other's doing it and did some digging.
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:04 PM   #7
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I have come to view the use of secondary as a step that potentially introduces oxidation or contamination to my beer, and I only use it when necessary. For example, if I want to bulk age a big stout or porter, I will rack to the secondary after 3 - 4 weeks in the primary and let it sit for 1 to many months. If I am dry hopping a beer, and I can't do it in the keg, I will use a secondary. Post-ferment fruit additions are also another reason to use a secondary.

Aside from special circumstances like these, I can see no real advantage to using a secondary. The often-cited concerns regarding autolysis within a week or two of brewing are grossly over-stated, and as long as you are always pitching an appropriate amount of healthy yeast there is no concern with leaving your beer on the yeast for up to a month (possibly more). In fact, I think home brewers should be MUCH more concerned about REMOVING their beer from the yeast too quickly, which can lead to all sorts of off-flavours, like diacetyl, acetaldehyde, etc. In the latter stages of fermentation, yeast naturally clean up a lot of these compounds, so why take your beer off the yeast too quickly? Leave your beer in the primary for about 3 weeks, skip the secondary unless you need one, and I suspect you will notice an improvement in your beer.

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Old 07-08-2008, 04:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyGuy View Post
I have come to view the use of secondary as a step that potentially introduces oxidation or contamination to my beer, and I only use it when necessary. For example, if I want to bulk age a big stout or porter, I will rack to the secondary after 3 - 4 weeks in the primary and let it sit for 1 to many months. If I am dry hopping a beer, and I can't do it in the keg, I will use a secondary. Post-ferment fruit additions are also another reason to use a secondary.

Aside from special circumstances like these, I can see no real advantage to using a secondary. The often-cited concerns regarding autolysis within a week or two of brewing are grossly over-stated, and as long as you are always pitching an appropriate amount of healthy yeast there is no concern with leaving your beer on the yeast for up to a month (possibly more). In fact, I think home brewers should be MUCH more concerned about REMOVING their beer from the yeast too quickly, which can lead to all sorts of off-flavours, like diacetyl, acetaldehyde, etc. In the latter stages of fermentation, yeast naturally clean up a lot of these compounds, so why take your beer off the yeast too quickly? Leave your beer in the primary for about 3 weeks, skip the secondary unless you need one, and I suspect you will notice an improvement in your beer.
Well said!!!

I think a lot of new brewers simply have a hard time of conceiving this, simply due to excitement and impatience and a desire to taste their first beer...That's natural, I was the same way when I started...What happens is that once you have a pipeline built up you have plenty to drink, so you beer does end up sitting longer, and you have multiple batches in various stages of fermentation, secondary and bottle conditioning...(see most of our siglines for examples.)

The excitement of trying a new batch or recipe is no less for me keeping them longer, I just know that they are going to be great when I drink them...I still stare lovingly at my fermenters every day.
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:15 PM   #9
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Since I started kegging, I've stopped secondarying. I haven't had any negative impact. YMMV, RDWHAHB, to each their own, etc...

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Old 07-08-2008, 04:15 PM   #10
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If you secondary as a new brewer, you get twice the racking practice!

I'm actually serious, there are many wrong ways to do it and as FlyGuy stated, you can oxidize your beer or expose it to contaminents. Better to get the process down earlier than later.

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