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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Purpose of Secondary
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:56 AM   #1
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Default Purpose of Secondary

Why do you keep beer in the primary for 1 week and place it into a secondary for about 2 weeks. Could you not just keep it in a primary for say about 2.5 weeks and then place in secondary for a couple of days? I know that some people say that the secondary is not necessary in alot of cases, but I was just wondering why we leave it in secondary for so long and not in the primary for longer.

Kevin

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Old 02-21-2012, 04:01 AM   #2
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Hello Albemarle, I passed through there many times. You should stay in primary longer than one week, I would usually recommend 2-3 weeks, then skip secondary and go straight to keg or bottles. Secondary is more useful for extended bulk aging, fruit additions, and such.

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Old 02-21-2012, 04:29 AM   #3
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Thats awesome. Its a small town most people have never heard of. haha.

I just brewed my first batch (Black Dog Ale) last saturday and just put it into the secondary yesterday in order to clear some of the trub out and get a clearer beer. I guess my question is why not just place it into the secondary for a couple of days instead of keeping it in the primary for only a week though if this is the main purpose for the secondary in my case?

Kevin

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Old 02-21-2012, 04:34 AM   #4
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Letting the yeast do their job for a few weeks in the primary will actually result in a clearer beer in a shorter period of time, as the yeast will tend to floc together better if there's more of it around, and you're not stirring it up with racking.

Personally, I use a secondary if I need to free up a fermenting vessel, or if I want a really clean yeast cake (siphon ending very close to cake, and sucking some of it up inadvertently) to use/harvest right away and have a while to let the yeast drop out of suspension in a cold place while the beer sits in secondary.

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Old 02-21-2012, 04:36 AM   #5
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I keep all my beers in primary for 4 weeks minimum, after that amount of time the cake is pretty tight and the beer is very clear. As Jeep said I would only use a secondary for only fruits and what not.

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Old 02-21-2012, 04:42 AM   #6
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Off topic. I went to East Rowan High School. My swim team practiced in the Pfeiffer College pool. I also used to drive Jeeps and 4-wheelers in Uwharrie. Hwy 52, 8, 49, 29. You name it. I've driven it.

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Old 02-21-2012, 05:06 AM   #7
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Well I technically live in Mount Gilead, but claim albemarle because thats where I was raised. I live in woodrun off of 24/27 turning left by the uwharrie sportsman. But ye I've heard of East Rowan though.

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Old 02-21-2012, 12:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Screech View Post
Why do you keep beer in the primary for 1 week and place it into a secondary for about 2 weeks. Could you not just keep it in a primary for say about 2.5 weeks and then place in secondary for a couple of days? I know that some people say that the secondary is not necessary in alot of cases, but I was just wondering why we leave it in secondary for so long and not in the primary for longer.

Kevin
This timeline is a hold over from when it was believed that the yeast in the fermenter all died and would lead to yeast autolysis which would make your beer undrinkable. This thought has been disproven but it is easier to copy instructions than to rewrite them so the practice persists. It is now known that leaving the beer in the primary longer than a week produces better beer on homebrewing scale than does racking it off to secondary too soon.

There have been people that have left their beer in the primary fermenter for nearly a full year without getting off flavors.

Secondaries do not clear up beer. Let me repeat that for clarity, secondaries do not clear up beer. Gravity and time clear up beer. Racking to secondary does not make much difference in the amount of time to clear up your beer.
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM-MN View Post
This timeline is a hold over from when it was believed that the yeast in the fermenter all died and would lead to yeast autolysis which would make your beer undrinkable. This thought has been disproven but it is easier to copy instructions than to rewrite them so the practice persists. It is now known that leaving the beer in the primary longer than a week produces better beer on homebrewing scale than does racking it off to secondary too soon.

There have been people that have left their beer in the primary fermenter for nearly a full year without getting off flavors.

Secondaries do not clear up beer. Let me repeat that for clarity, secondaries do not clear up beer. Gravity and time clear up beer. Racking to secondary does not make much difference in the amount of time to clear up your beer.
Quoted for truth. Having just finished "Yeast" - the autolysis myth seems to have originated with professional breweries, which are fermenting at volumes that will compact and kill yeast on a much faster scale than a homebrewer would be capable of. Their conical mutiple-barrel fermentors have a big blob of yeast at the bottom with a ton (literally..) of static pressure and a great deal of heat doing damage to the yeast cake. We in our carboys and buckets are not even sniffing that kind of hostile environment for the yeast to die in. When they do go dormant on us, it will be benevolently with a nice glycogen reserve to keep them sleeping soundly, rather than in a fiery froth of stinking death.
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:36 AM   #10
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Poor little yeasts.

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