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Old 12-25-2010, 04:06 AM   #1
nemlich22
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Default Secondary Fermentation Necessary?

Hello everyone,
Tomorrow I will be helping my dad brew his first batch of beer with the new brewing kit I have bought him for Christmas. We will be using this kit from Northern Brewer: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewin...tract-kit.html

After reading the instructions, I am unclear as to why you must move the beer from the primary fermentor to the secondary fermentor. What does this accomplish and is it necessary? Could we just leave it in the primary until moving it to the bottling bucket after 4 weeks or so?

Thank you, and Merry Christmas!

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Old 12-25-2010, 04:20 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by nemlich22 View Post
Hello everyone,
Tomorrow I will be helping my dad brew his first batch of beer with the new brewing kit I have bought him for Christmas. We will be using this kit from Northern Brewer: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewin...tract-kit.html

After reading the instructions, I am unclear as to why you must move the beer from the primary fermentor to the secondary fermentor. What does this accomplish and is it necessary? Could we just leave it in the primary until moving it to the bottling bucket after 4 weeks or so?

Thank you, and Merry Christmas!

Secondary fermentation is not necessary when kegging* If you leave your beer in primary for 3-4 weeks and then cold crash it in a keg for a week or two (you can do this while carbing) the yeast will compact so much that the dip tube will take in a little bit of yeast on the first beer or two, but a hole will hollow out around the tube afterwards and you shouldn't get any yeast.

* If you move your keg or bottles around a lot, like bring it over to friends' houses or to parties, you should probably secondary. If the beer has been cold-crashed for over 2 weeks, then you probably won't have much yeast.


The bottom line IMO is that if the beer is going to sit tight in one spot, don't bother with secondary unless you have good reason to (dry hopping, fruit, conditioning, etc)

Merry Christmas
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Old 12-25-2010, 04:22 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by rexbanner View Post
Secondary fermentation is not necessary when kegging* If you leave your beer in primary for 3-4 weeks and then cold crash it in a keg for a week or two (you can do this while carbing) the yeast will compact so much that the dip tube will take in a little bit of yeast on the first beer or two, but a hole will hollow out around the tube afterwards and you shouldn't get any yeast.

* If you move your keg or bottles around a lot, like bring it over to friends' houses or to parties, you should probably secondary. If the beer has been cold-crashed for over 2 weeks, then you probably won't have much yeast.


The bottom line IMO is that if the beer is going to sit tight in one spot, don't bother with secondary unless you have good reason to (dry hopping, fruit, conditioning, etc)

Merry Christmas
Thanks for the response, I will be bottling, not kegging, though.

Also, the kit I bought for my dad has a 6.5 gallon carboy, a 5 gallon carboy, and a 6.5 gallon bucket. Does it matter which I use as the primary?
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Old 12-25-2010, 04:23 AM   #4
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the only reasons really to secondary are to clear up the beer a little, or if you're doing something special with it. i just brewed up an all-grain pale ale today, and i'm going to secondary it to oak chip 5 gallons, and dry-hop the other 5 gallons. if i wasn't going to do anything special, i wouldn't secondary it. i'd primary for 4 weeks, like you say, then keg/bottle it. use the 6.5 bucket as the primary. that'll give it room to ferment

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Old 12-25-2010, 04:39 AM   #5
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Probably use the 6.5 gallon carboy. The 5 gallon is to small and I am guessing the 6.5 gallon bucket has a spigot. That would be your bottling bucket. Don't ferment in that.

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Old 12-25-2010, 04:53 AM   #6
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With that OG, nope, no secondary necessary.

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Old 12-25-2010, 05:12 AM   #7
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In my mind use of a secondary fermenter is an antiquated practice. For 90% of beers that you will make just leaving it in a primary for 3-4 weeks is just fine and the yeast will floculate out and the beer will clear just fine. I only use a secondary If i plan on blending/Aging for long times/adding a flavoring agent. for example I have a porter I racked to a secondary to age it on vanilla beans. As far as I am concerned racking to a secondary is unnecessarily exposing your beer to a potential infection for little to no benefit.

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Old 12-25-2010, 07:53 PM   #8
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No secondary. 6.5 gal carboy.

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Old 12-26-2010, 12:17 AM   #9
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i always secondary. All my normal gravity beers spend 1 week in primary in a 6.5 gallon plastic bucket and one week in secondary in a 6.5 gallon plastic bucket. Exceptions to the rule are big beers like imperial anythings and barleywines. I find this cuts down on the trub and amount of particulate in the finished beer. Did it that way when I bottled, and still do it now when I keg

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In Primary:


In Secondary:


On Tap:
Shiner Mock (Shiner Bock Clone)
Highlanders Glory (Strong Scottish Ale)
Krawler Kolsch
Peachy Keen (Peach Ale)
Venemous Vanilla Porter
Zen Kolsch (Green Tea Honey Kolsch)
Slam Dunkel (Dunkelweizen)
Milky Stout (Sweet/Milk Stout)

Bottled:
Barley Bliss (18.5% ABV Barley Wine)
Victory Vanilla Porter
Spiced Holiday Porter

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