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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Secondary Fermenter
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:39 AM   #1
shibbypwn
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Default Secondary Fermenter

What are the pros and cons of using a secondary?

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Old 03-23-2011, 02:41 AM   #2
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I secondary everything (ducks to avoid gun shots)

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Old 03-23-2011, 07:13 AM   #3
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Bump

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Old 03-23-2011, 07:23 AM   #4
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/vs-p...alysis-109318/
I highly recommend reading this entire post. It goes over all of the pros and cons of multiple of the brewing debates including secondary/no secondary, liquid/dry yeast, carboy/bucket/better bottle and others.
With each of these debates you are going to find people on each side that are convinced they are right. However their is no RIGHT answer, when used correctly both methods will produce great beer. The question isn't which way is right but which way will work for you.
I know this "there is no right answer" comment can be an incredibly annoying thing to hear because as a new brewer you want direction and an answer to your question but unfortunately their is no one correct answer.
Personally I'd recommend trying out both sides of each of the debates in the Pros/Cons thread and deciding which way you prefer.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:30 PM   #5
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pros: good for long-term aging or lagering, makes yeast harvesting easier, lets you start another brew

cons: unnecessary risk of infection/oxidation if not used for above reasons

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Old 03-23-2011, 06:41 PM   #6
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Unless you're actually adding additional fermentables, it's not really a secondary, it's a bright tank...

Personally, I'll rack to another vessel only AFTER the brew has finished and if I want to age for an extended period on another element. I have a wee heavy that's been on the yeast for over 5 weeks now (coming up on 6 this Sunday)... I plan to rack it into a 5.16 gallon Sanke keg with 1-2oz of medium toast oak cubes for 1-2 months before bottling it up. I could just drop the oak into the primary, but I want to clean that sucker and set it aside.

For brewing, I'd avoid racking unless you have a valid reason to do so. Such as the ones listed above. You also need to be careful when racking so that you don't introduce oxygen to the brew. So unless you're process is solid, I'd avoid doing it. Better for your first several brews to be single vessel fermentations before bottling/kegging them and get something wonderful, then risk contamination and oxidation due to racking when you don't need to...

This applies fully to brews using ale yeast. There are some styles that you want to rack, or benefit from racking. But, you can still use the long primary option there if you wish...

Personally, since I'm using ale yeast, and focusing more on styles from the British Isles, racking before a brew is 100% complete makes no sense. I've left brews on the yeast for up to 6 weeks so far, without any ill effects. If anything, when I've left them on the yeast for 3-4 weeks (or longer) they've become very clear and taste wonderful... If your brew has a yeast flavor to it, leave it on the yeast longer... I know it might sound counter intuitive, but leaving it on the yeast longer will help clear it up faster/better... At least in every brew I've done that with (as with so many others here too)...

Another advantage (as I see it) to long primaries... Less work, and great brews...

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Old 03-23-2011, 10:14 PM   #7
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What are some steps I can take to avoid oxidizing in transferring to a secondary? I like having my carboy available for another brew, so I'll probably use a secondary until I've got a solid homebrew supply to drink on.

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Old 03-23-2011, 10:22 PM   #8
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First off you could just do a second brew and do a long primary in whatever vessel you currently have empty.
If you decide to move it you want to rack it with a racking cane and hose, to minimize oxidation you want to rack as "quietly" as possible, with no splashing, make sure the tubing is all the way to the bottom of the secondary carboy and rack from the bottom of the secondary vessel up.

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Old 03-23-2011, 10:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veinman View Post
First off you could just do a second brew and do a long primary in whatever vessel you currently have empty.
If you decide to move it you want to rack it with a racking cane and hose, to minimize oxidation you want to rack as "quietly" as possible, with no splashing, make sure the tubing is all the way to the bottom of the secondary carboy and rack from the bottom of the secondary vessel up.
+1

To do a better job of racking remember to use gravity to your advantage. I simply have [lowest part of] the source vessel higher than the highest point of the destination vessel (often a bottle bucket)... Start the siphon going (usually no more than a 1/2 pull on the auto-siphon) and let it flow. Just be sure that you have the tube at the other end in a way to not introduce oxygen/air into the brew... Kitchen counters and the floor usually works well... I use a night stand table (it's very sturdy) and the floor, or on s step stool to do my racking. It really depends on what I'm racking from and into...

Once you do it a few times, you'll get good at it... Of course, you could also practice with water in buckets (5 gallon buckets) if you want (I never did)...
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
Once you do it a few times, you'll get good at it... Of course, you could also practice with water in buckets (5 gallon buckets) if you want (I never did)...
I'm still pretty new, so I siphon sanitizer water from a spare bucket to my bottling bucket before racking just to get a practice run...all the while sanitizing my racking gear and bottling bucket.
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