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mrgreen4242 02-17-2010 01:10 AM

Primary/Secondary Timing
 
I'm starting a brew where the recipe calls for 1 week in primary, and a week in secondary with some dry hops. First, this seems like a short time to ferment and age a beer. Second, I will be heading out of town for about a week just before the end of the week in primary.

Can I leave the beer in the primary for 15 days, move it to the secondary and dry hop it for another 7-14? Or should I move it from Primary to secondary after 5 days and leave it in the secondary to dry hop for 14+ days?

I'll bottle carb and condition for 3 weeks either way (before the first bottle is tried at least - longer if it needs it and I can stand it, etc etc).

My gut says the former (15 days primary, 10-15 secondary with dry hops) is the way to go, but wanted to check with you guys first! :)

Thanks!

kidsmakeyoucrazy 02-17-2010 01:19 AM

Just leave it in the primary. I wouldn't even move it to dry hop. 4 weeks in primary isn't going to cause any problems and every time you transfer you risk contamination and oxidation.

mrgreen4242 02-17-2010 01:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kidsmakeyoucrazy (Post 1887852)
Just leave it in the primary. I wouldn't even move it to dry hop. 4 weeks in primary isn't going to cause any problems and every time you transfer you risk contamination and oxidation.

First, thank you for your speedy reply! Second, the only reason I would/will move it is to improve the clarity of this brew (I'd like it to be a nice bright beer) and to free up the primary for a new batch. ;) I do appreciate the advice though. If I don't think I will have the need for my primary right then I will do as you say and dry hop in the fermenter.

(Side note: can I just chuck in hop pellets for dry hopping? Never done it before... :D)

Thanks again!

kidsmakeyoucrazy 02-17-2010 02:46 AM

I've brewed 5 batches so far, and have only used my secondary once...this week actually. The only reason I did it was to free up my primary (I did a big belgian that needs to sit for a bit). I believe the general consensus these days is don't even bother with a secondary unless it's a really high gravity beer, or your adding fruit.

As far as clarity goes...why do you think moving to another container will improve it? I like this quote I heard or read somewhere "It's not like the yeast are going to look down and say OH crap there's a bunch of stuff at the bottom, there's no way I'm going to floculate in this"....the beer will clear up whether you rack to a secondary or not. If it's a really big beer (high alcohol) then I wouldn't leave it in the primary more than 3 weeks just because the yeast are so stressed out...but for most beers don't bother with it.

If you want it to drop clear and it hasn't after 3 weeks, add some gelatin. 1/2 packet disolved into 1 cup of water. Let it sit for 30 mins then heat to 160....do not boil it. Let it cool if you'd like or just pitch it in...it won't matter much either way going into 5 gallons. It'll clear up in about 2-3 days.

PatMac 02-17-2010 03:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrgreen4242 (Post 1887832)
leave the beer in the primary for 15 days, move it to the secondary and dry hop it for another 7-14?

I would do this one. Gives it enough time in the primary to ferment and let the debris settle out as well as enough time in the secondary to absorb the fresh hop taste and clarify.

mrgreen4242 02-17-2010 03:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kidsmakeyoucrazy (Post 1888030)
I've brewed 5 batches so far, and have only used my secondary once...this week actually. The only reason I did it was to free up my primary (I did a big belgian that needs to sit for a bit). I believe the general consensus these days is don't even bother with a secondary unless it's a really high gravity beer, or your adding fruit.

As far as clarity goes...why do you think moving to another container will improve it? I like this quote I heard or read somewhere "It's not like the yeast are going to look down and say OH crap there's a bunch of stuff at the bottom, there's no way I'm going to floculate in this"....the beer will clear up whether you rack to a secondary or not. If it's a really big beer (high alcohol) then I wouldn't leave it in the primary more than 3 weeks just because the yeast are so stressed out...but for most beers don't bother with it.

If you want it to drop clear and it hasn't after 3 weeks, add some gelatin. 1/2 packet disolved into 1 cup of water. Let it sit for 30 mins then heat to 160....do not boil it. Let it cool if you'd like or just pitch it in...it won't matter much either way going into 5 gallons. It'll clear up in about 2-3 days.

I guess that I figured a racking/secondary fermentation would improve clarity because... everyone says it will? Dunno... anyways, if I think I have time to brew another batch after the two week point (almost sure I will!), I will rack it to make room. Otherwise I will leave it in.

I've got this brand new, never used better bottle 5 gallon carboy. Should I try to find someone who wants to swap me a few 6.5g buckets with lids and airlocks for it? :D

kidsmakeyoucrazy 02-17-2010 04:03 AM

Na, you'll find a use for that carboy :P Big beers can benefit from sitting in bulk for a while...that's where you're carboy will come into play...or if you start doing lagers ;P


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