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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Secondary Fermentation
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:05 PM   #1
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Default Secondary Fermentation

I'm hearing/reading quite often how secondary fermentation is less prevalent now. I'm wondering why that is.

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Old 05-25-2012, 03:10 PM   #2
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Risk of infection from another racking phase is probably the key factor. Plus unless you're dry hopping, adding fruit/spices, or lagering...there isn't a huge benefit to doing it. The yeast does a good job cleaning up after itself in primary, getting rid of undesirable byproducts, etc. I've considered getting a glass secondary though for when I have no kegs/bottles available simply as a storage device for my beer. Plastic carries the risk of oxygen permeation. I've had a beer left in a better bottle for months and it was undrinkable. I'm sure some have successfully done just that, but I'm leary.

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Old 05-25-2012, 03:15 PM   #3
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Because for many beers, it is simply unneccessary.

Reasons for doing a secondary fermentation (may not be all-inclusive): Adding fruit, massive dry-hop, bulk aging or lagering, adding wood, clarifying prior to bottling.

Reasons not to do a secondary: Risk of oxidation, risk of contamination, moving beer too soon off yeast cake risks poor attenuation.

But, there are no hard and fast rules. It's your brewery, you're the boss, you decide.

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Old 05-25-2012, 04:01 PM   #4
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In large scale breweries they remove the beer from the yeast because under the weight and pressure of the beer the yeast start to eat themselves which gives off a bunch of off flavors. Knowing this, homebrewers did it for a long time without realizing that the weight and pressure of five gallons was not enough to force this effect in a short period of time on their yeast.

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Old 05-25-2012, 04:15 PM   #5
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It's not necessary. All the cool kids do primary only these days.

That being said, I secondary. I've tried it both ways - with primary only, I ended up with a lot of trub in my bottling bucket, which ended up costing me several bottles of beer at bottling. From now on, I will always secondary. If I sanitize well, I see the infection risk as minimal.

Your mileage may vary.

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Old 05-25-2012, 05:10 PM   #6
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Quick question on this, I'm about to do my first IPA and thus dry hop.. Is it necessary to use a secondary when I toss the hops in there or can I just put them in the primary? Also I've read that you shouldn't leave them in longer than a week, but then I have read the longer you leave them in the better the aroma sticks... So which is it?

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Old 05-25-2012, 05:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mscg4u View Post
Quick question on this, I'm about to do my first IPA and thus dry hop.. Is it necessary to use a secondary when I toss the hops in there or can I just put them in the primary? Also I've read that you shouldn't leave them in longer than a week, but then I have read the longer you leave them in the better the aroma sticks... So which is it?
It's not necessary to transfer to secondary to dry hop. I have had great results just tossing loose hops in my primary fermenter.

I have only ever dry hopped for a week, though. I can't think of any scientific reason why the aroma would "stick" better with a longer dry hopping phase. And common wisdom says that longer than 10 days or so and you start getting negative grassy/vegetal flavors from the hops.
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Old 05-25-2012, 05:33 PM   #8
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Good enough for me. It was just one thread where I read the bit about keeping it in longer than a week. Everywhere else has said exactly what you did, too long and it imparts bad flavors

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Old 05-25-2012, 05:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mscg4u View Post
Quick question on this, I'm about to do my first IPA and thus dry hop.. Is it necessary to use a secondary when I toss the hops in there or can I just put them in the primary? Also I've read that you shouldn't leave them in longer than a week, but then I have read the longer you leave them in the better the aroma sticks... So which is it?
I've done both. There's obviously less trub if you dry hop in a secondary but I didn't notice any difference in taste. Maybe someone else will have more experience with this and respond. Maybe do a test for yourself and see what you like better?

I never leave the dry hops in for more than 10 days; but I usually do 7. A grassy type taste can develop if you leave them in for too long.
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Old 05-25-2012, 05:38 PM   #10
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I rack to secondary for the mere fact it make bottling easier. No Trub in the secondary means I can get essentailly all the beer bottled. I don't know John Palmer says it's not necesarry for most beers. I just find it another simple step that makes life easier.

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