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Old 11-24-2012, 10:24 PM   #1
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Default Primary, Secondary, then bottle?

Hi all,

I learned to brew from my brother-in-law, who always does a primary fermentation (~2 weeks), then bottles and waits another ~2 weeks.

Lately, though, I've been hearing from friends that starter kits are urging a primary fermentation, then a secondary (in carboy, pail, etc.), /then/ bottling.

What gives?

Can anyone clear this up for me?

Thanks!

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Old 11-24-2012, 10:43 PM   #2
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Longer primary, NO secondary, then keg/bottle and carbonate. I keg now, but I use the two week slow method. I ONLY move a batch [of beer] to another vessel IF I'm aging it for an extended period with something that works best off the yeast. Such as 4-8 months on oak/wood. I've gone about three months in primary so far without any negative effects.

IMO/IME, those urging you to go with a secondary are using outdated methods. You don't need to do this by any stretch (especially with ale yeast).

BTW, look into the bazillion posts/threads about not using a second vessel/bright tank these days...

Queue Revvy...

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Old 11-24-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
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How are your brother-in-law's beers?
You can primary ~ week, secondary ~week, then bottle & let condition for ~2 weeks.
Or you can primary ~2 to ? weeks, then bottle and condition ~2 weeks.
I'm pretty impatient, for me it's usually 1 week in primary, 2 in secondary, and 2 in bottle for most ale's, longer for each phase with heavier beers.
and Some will say why secondary at all, primary 2 to 4 weeks (or longer) then bottle or keg.
After a while it becomes a seat of your pants thing, you find what works for you. Most important of course is sanitation, and temperature control of fermentation, those two done wrong will ruin a batch quickly.
Good luck, have fun!

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Old 11-24-2012, 10:49 PM   #4
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Yea, Goldie hit it. That's a long discussion based on preference. I do secondary almost everything (outdated or not) because I like the clarity of the pour. Secondary is really for lagering.

Also, check out the carbonation thread. Two weeks is a bit soon for bottling. Others better over time so RDWHAB and start laddering brews.

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Old 11-24-2012, 11:44 PM   #5
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I wil ONLY secondary a beer nowadays for clarity. But that's not often.

Gary

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Old 11-24-2012, 11:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GASoline71 View Post
I wil ONLY secondary a beer nowadays for clarity. But that's not often.

Gary
Never needed to do that. Almost all the yeasts I've used (and will use) are rated at least 'high' for flocculation. The one that's not, is going to spend a good long time in primary anyway (a 15%+ barleywine, brewed 10/27 and STILL fermenting away ). I've made plenty of pale ales that have been super clear in glass, without using any additional steps/methods once they go into fermenter. Only 'agent' I've used is Irish Moss (or versions of it) and time. IMO/IME, time is your best ally, tool, resource when it comes to brewing.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:52 PM   #7
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this is helpful

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/media..._in_carboy.pdf

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Old 11-24-2012, 11:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codfather View Post
I call BullSheet on that...

Since Revvy hasn't appeared yet (Turkey induced coma??) I'll post the link... To Secondary or Not? John Palmer and Jamil Zainasheff Weigh In
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:16 AM   #9
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Thanks for all of the super-prompt and helpful responses.

They do, though, raise for me a secondary (pun intended) question: What, exactly, does one do that makes it count as secondary fermentation? Just re-rack with a bit more corn sugar? Or just re-rack?

Thanks!

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Old 11-25-2012, 12:26 AM   #10
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To be accurate most "secondary fermentations" aren't fermentations at all. The ferment should be complete before you rack (or you risk a stuck ferment) and is used only for clearing the beer and the proper terminology for that is "bright tank". I would only rack to secondary if I was adding fruit which does cause a secondary fermentation. Otherwise I would rack to a bright tank for lagering, oaking, or just extra clearing.

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