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Old 11-15-2009, 12:25 AM   #1
mike1978
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Default Is Secondary fermentation really needed???

i've been doin alot of research and have heard numerous people claim secondary really isnt worth the risk of contamination. Simply leave it in the primary for upwards of 4 weeks and then keg or bottle, and leave for an additional 2 weeks. I have been brewing now for about 6 months, and have always racked to a secondary. I really just want as many people to give me their opinion, i may try it next batch.

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Old 11-15-2009, 12:34 AM   #2
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I don't use one. I'm not worried about contamination, as I'm pretty careful about sanitation. I just tend to be rather impatient. Plus, I don't bottle, so beer becomes increasing clear as I consume it.

Secondary fermenters can be great places for dryhopping, if you bottle, or adding certain aromatic spices. It can also be a way to rack your beer off your yeast cake if you are getting ready to brew again and want to harvest the yeast.

Frankly, I think the time and effort isn't really worth the net result. Just one brewer's opinion, which is what you asked for.

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Old 11-15-2009, 12:46 AM   #3
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General consensus seems to be that it's not necessary. I don't use a secondary and my beers always come out fine regardless.

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Old 11-15-2009, 01:16 AM   #4
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there are uses of it and there are plenty of beers that will turn out just as well without a secondary. I have done a few beers and have additions of a second yeast of sugars in the secondary. When i do a bigger beer I really enjoy pulling my beer off the yeast and letting it go in the secondary I will add a small addition of sugar to kick up the fermentation and get a layer of co2 and let it sit for 3 months

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Old 11-15-2009, 01:55 AM   #5
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What are the beneifits for harvesting your yeast cake??

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Old 11-15-2009, 02:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1978 View Post
What are the beneifits for harvesting your yeast cake??
You don't have to buy yeast for your next batch, and if you pitch right onto the cake, you can get the same effect as a big starter without having to bother with actually doing a starter. Those fancy Wyeast smack packs are like $7+ and for me that's like a quarter of the money I have to spend on a typical brew day.

If you brew the same thing (or similar beers) twice in a row, you can rack the first batch to secondary on the day you brew the second batch. Then rack the new wort (chilled, of course) onto the first batch's yeast cake. Fermentation will probably start quicker and will be cleaner, and you don't pay a dime for yeast.
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Old 11-15-2009, 02:22 AM   #7
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JUST WANNA BE CLEAR.

So what your sayin is after i rack a batch that has already fermented for 2-4 weeks, and i'm in the process of cooling a new batch, to rack the fermented beer to a secondary, and then rack the new (cooled) batch into the first batch's primary vessel on top of the yeast cake? Then close it up without any addition of yeast?

Do you stir it up/aerate the beer?

Or gentley rack and try not to disturb it?

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Old 11-15-2009, 03:10 AM   #8
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Yeah, what you described is how I understand it's supposed to be done.

I'm pretty sure you don't have to aerate, but I haven't actually done this before so I might be wrong. The yeast use oxygen to multiply and then when the oxygen runs out, they start producing alcohol. So if you already have a cake that's got a big enough yeast population to do your fermentation, the yeast can just skip the oxygen-consuming phase and get right to making alcohol.

You don't need to stir, and I don't think disturbing the yeast bed will hurt either. There is a video floating around that's a time lapse of a carboy where fresh wort was pitched onto a cake. Over the course of a few hours, the yeast cake literally wakes up, rises up into the solution, and sets up camp at the top of the carboy to form a new kreuzen, without any encouragment other than having fresh wort dropped onto it.

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Old 11-15-2009, 03:14 AM   #9
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I agree with post below me, and that's what i plan on doing when i pitch for my stout.


edit: oops i should learn to read the full post.

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Old 11-15-2009, 03:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1978 View Post
JUST WANNA BE CLEAR.

So what your sayin is after i rack a batch that has already fermented for 2-4 weeks, and i'm in the process of cooling a new batch, to rack the fermented beer to a secondary, and then rack the new (cooled) batch into the first batch's primary vessel on top of the yeast cake? Then close it up without any addition of yeast?

Do you stir it up/aerate the beer?

Or gentley rack and try not to disturb it?

I rack off the cake and then dump the new batch in there with enough force to knock the teeth out of Grandma.

Wort onto cake = aerate.

Although research shows it will do fine without aeration as well. Yeast wants to turn sugar into beer.

But I dump it on in there. I have done 5 beers in a row with no problems.

YMMV.

But I doubt it.
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