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Old 10-29-2007, 01:22 PM   #1
cd2448
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Default Secondary?

Hi,

After getting some tips from here, and getting my equipment from Home Sweet Homebrew in Philly, I brewed up my first batch yesterday - I knew what to expect and it went pretty much according to plan.

Now I've been reading howtobrew.com and The Complete Joy of Homebrewing and they seem to be saying that a secondary is not absolutely necessary for most brews. The people at the store recommended it, but I'm wondering if I can go straight from primary to bottles? Does anyone have any thoughts?

Remember - I'm a total beginner - my thinking was the less steps to the process, the less chance there is of me messing them up.

I'm making a west coast pale ale, from LME, if that affects the situation.

Appreciate all your input, on my threads and others - I don't think I've come across a forum with so much constructive and encouraging input, I'll be upgrading my account in due course!

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Old 10-29-2007, 01:31 PM   #2
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When going to bottles, the main thing is to get all sediments from the primary out. I've done it before, you just have to pay attention to detail. I'd let the primary sit for two weeks and then rack to bottling bucket and priming sugar solution. Make sure the bottom of the racking cane does not accidentally get dunked in the bottom of the primary. That will stir up the sediments and it will show up in your bottles. Your going to get some sediment in the bottles because of the nature of things, but a little is normal.

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Old 10-29-2007, 01:41 PM   #4
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Sure you can go primary -> bottles.

In general, the length of time is the key...you would be leaving the beer in the primary to condition and clear beyond the point that fermentation has completed. 3 weeks in the primary is basically going to net you the same basic thing as 1 in the primary and 2 in the secondary.

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Old 10-29-2007, 01:42 PM   #5
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To secondary or not to secondary is a source of some debate around here. Secondary is not absolutely necessary so you can leave it in primary for 2 weeks, then bottle (if fermentation is complete) or you can rack it to secondary after a week, it is up to you. There are some specialty styles that do need time in a secondary to age or clear, and lagers need to be put into secondary to lager; for most ales the only real benefit is a clearer finished product.

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Old 10-29-2007, 02:14 PM   #6
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Personally I don't think you should bother, since it's your first batch. Most of us make some minor (and maybe some not-so-minor) mistakes on our first batches, and using a secondary isn't going to correct any of those issues. On one of my first few batches I started using a secondary, and it was frustrating to wait an extra week or more (expecting a very clean/clear beer), only to find out at the end that I had made other mistakes, so all I got for all my waiting and extra effort was a somewhat clearer, but still not very tasty, beer. I would have been much better off doing only a primary and then brewing another batch sooner so I could learn from my mistakes faster.

Besides, since it's your first brew, I imagine you're probably pretty anxious to taste it. I think higher throughput is pretty important when you're first starting out, as getting more practice/experience with the brewing process in general will make a bigger difference than using a secondary. Once you're confident in your brewing process and your beers are reliably coming out very well, then you can start using a secondary (among other things) for more quality gains.

With that said, as TheJadedDog points out, secondaries are a source of debate anyway - a lot of experienced brewers don't use them much, or at all. You can make very good beer with only a primary. Personally I do not use a secondary (though I do keg, netting some of the gains of secondary if I condition them long enough) for most of my medium or low-gravity beers - there just isn't that much trub that needs to be cleared out - whereas anything relatively high-gravity tends to end up with a lot of trub and a secondary really helps get rid of a lot of it.

I would give your beer probably a solid 2 weeks in primary, then straight into a bottling bucket to bottle it.

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Old 10-29-2007, 02:18 PM   #7
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Even if you don't secondary I would still transfer your beer to a bottling bucket and stir in your priming sugar in there.

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Old 10-29-2007, 02:19 PM   #8
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Piggy-backing on the original question here. I'm about to make a British Bitter (NB extract kit) for my first solo batch (caught the bug from brewbuddies past). I've got a secondary and I'm not worried about messing up at that point in the process, but I've heard Jamil and others suggest not using it on such a low-gravity beer. So does that mean 2 weeks in the primary and then to bottles? I'm determined to be patient and wait for the beer to really be ready; just trying to figure out the best fermentation strategy.

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Old 10-29-2007, 02:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenchiro
Even if you don't secondary I would still transfer your beer to a bottling bucket and stir in your priming sugar in there.
didn't know the bottling bucket was up for elimination too.....in that case, I agree with the above.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:35 PM   #10
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Thanks for everyone's input.

I wasn't going to eliminate the bottling bucket, just the X days sitting in secondary.

Totally agree with a comment above - I'm itching to get my first batch tasted, I'm sure there will have been serious errors which the extra time in secondary are not going to correct. Also wanting to brew another batch so I can try and improve overall brew process.

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