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Old 10-21-2009, 03:46 AM   #1
RascalKing
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Default Questions about secondary fermentation

I currently have an Oktoberfest Ale in my primary and had a couple questions about secondary fermenting.

What exactly is the purpose of having a secondary?

Which is better, a long primary fermentation period or a long secondary fermentation period?

I still have a while before I transfer it over, but i just wanted to know what and why i was doing it. I am new to home brewing, and was suggested to do the secondary fermentation.Thanks.RK



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Old 10-21-2009, 04:02 AM   #2
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You'll find differing opinions on secondary, I sometimes use secondary only for further clearing of my beer but usually only after 3 weeks in primary. Extended primary will make a much cleaner tasting beer as it allows the yeast to clean up after themselves. Some, including me, do not use secondary at all for some beers. I usually only use secondary on heavy gravity beers or for dry hop additions, etc.



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Old 10-21-2009, 01:32 PM   #3
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You are much better off with a long primary. Many homebrewers, myself included, leave beer in the fermenter until it's clear, 3-6 weeks. It gives the yeast time to clean up esters.

Secondary fermentation is a hold-over from wine making. In brewing, it's better thought of as a clearing tank.

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Old 10-21-2009, 02:19 PM   #4
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Here's my game plan: I'm going to use a secondary when I use a bucket as my primary. This way, after about a week I can rack to a secondary glass carboy and keep tabs on the clearing process.

If I use my glass carboy as my primary, I'll probably just leave it in there for 3 weeks until bottling.

You'll find a lot of people who always use a secondary and following a 1-2-3 rule; that is, 1 week in primary, 2 weeks in secondary and then 3 weeks in the bottle.

Another reason people use secondaries is so that they can free up their primaries for more batches. Now that I can understand.

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Old 10-25-2009, 03:27 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. One more question, when i transfer to the secondary, do i include the solid buildup at the bottom of the fermenter? is that yeast? i want to open up my primary and my brew is almost done fermenting. i figgured i could put it into my glass carboy to finish fermenting for a few more weeks and also clear up.

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Old 10-25-2009, 03:32 AM   #6
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No you want to leave as much behind as possible.

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Old 10-25-2009, 03:35 AM   #7
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what is it?

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Old 10-25-2009, 03:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RascalKing View Post
Thanks for the replies. One more question, when i transfer to the secondary, do i include the solid buildup at the bottom of the fermenter? is that yeast? i want to open up my primary and my brew is almost done fermenting. i figgured i could put it into my glass carboy to finish fermenting for a few more weeks and also clear up.
like david said your much better off waiting and you will be rewarded with better beer. Most advanced brewers only use a seconary for either fruit additions or dry hopping (adding hops directly to the beer). Wait a full month or a minimum of 3 weeks and then drain off and bottle leaving behind as much of the gunk as possble. The stuff at the bottom is generally yeast and coagulated proteins from the grains and decreases the stability of the beer over time which can cause off flavors. Good luck
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Old 10-25-2009, 03:47 AM   #9
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Thanks for clerifying that. i checked the sg yesterday morning and then tonight and there was no change, so the fermentation process is pretty much done. why continue in the primary from here? what are the bonuses gain by doing this vice racking in the carboy to clear up? thank you guys again

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Old 10-25-2009, 04:00 AM   #10
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What is left behind is yeast and other junk you transfered to the fermenter. The yeasties like to clean themselves up. So you want to leave the beer in the primary to clean up so to speak. I leave mine in the primary for 2 weeks after fermentation is completed.

Then I transfer to the "secondary" to clear and age before bottling / kegging.

** These are all opinions and everyone has their own opinion on what to do. Eventually the yeasties will eat themselves and not taste very good, but it takes a long time (I think months), so you can't leave the beer in the primary forever.



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