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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > secondary fermenting in glass carboy
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:13 AM   #1
sorefingers23
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Default secondary fermenting in glass carboy

i see alot of people dont use a secondary fermenter, instead they bottle their beer alot earlier, can someone tell what the purpose of the secondary fermenter is??

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Old 05-10-2010, 12:20 AM   #2
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It's to hold your beer so you can put a new batch in the primary.

Seriously, I lager a lot so I use a secondary to clarify and hold my finished beer for a week or two while I make a new batch. When I get around to it I bottle or keg what is in the secondary. I use it because I have it.

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Old 05-10-2010, 12:35 AM   #3
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how long should i wait before putting it into the secondary fermenter?? the instructions say 5 days, but i see alot of negative coments about the kit instructions

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Old 05-10-2010, 12:54 AM   #4
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watch the krausen of the beer, once it settles in, depending on your temperature anywhere from 4-7 days to be safe. You can put into secondary.

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Old 05-10-2010, 01:41 AM   #5
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Palmer's book says secondary fermentation is a period of settling and conditioning of the beer after primary fermentation. I've secondaried all my beers and they've clarified quite well, even without the use of finings.

Granted I've only done 4-5 batches, and they've all been medium beers (not big or small, in the middle), but I'm following the old 1-2-3 rule. 1 week primary, 2 weeks secondary, 3 weeks bottle. So far it's worked.

Whether you secondary in plastic or glass, make sure you minimize the head space and oxygen exposure during conditioning.

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Old 05-10-2010, 01:51 AM   #6
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this is from a other thread
Like a lot of brewers here on HBT, I've discovered that the transfer to a secondary fermenter really isn't necessary, unless I am doing something like adding fruit or dry hopping. Leave it in the primary 3-4 weeks and I'm good to go. Autolysis? Nope, not here. The beer is better than ever.

This was confirmed on a March episode of Brew Strong where John and Jamil talk about how secondary fermentation is an outdated homebrewing technique. John even says that the information in the 1st edition of How to Brew (the web version) is no longer relevant.

I couldn't find a transcript of the show so I recorded that portion of the conversation. May have missed a few Ah's and Um's, but the main content is there.

Hope this helps:

John: And unfortunately I'm an perpetuator of the myth at HowtoBrew.com. The 1st edition talks about the benefits of transferring the beer off the yeast.

Jamil: Well that was the popular way of doing things. But that was what, the 1st edition? Stop getting the thing off the internet. Buy yourself the 3rd addition copy and get the updated information.

John: As we've gotten more educated on how much good healthy yeast you need for optimum fermentation the advice that we used to give 20 years ago has changed. 10 years ago, 20 years ago, homebrewers were using with a single packet of dry yeast that was taped to the top of the can. There weren't as many liquid yeast cultures available.

Jamil: People didn't make starters either.

John: Right. So the whole health and vitality of yeast was different back then compared to know. Back then it made sense. You had weaker yeast that had finished fermentation that were more susceptible to autolysis and breaking down. Now that is not the case. The bar of homebrewing has risen to where we are able to make beer that has the same robustness as professional beer. We've gotten our techniques and understanding of what makes a good fermentation up to that level, so you don't need to transfer the beer off the yeast to avoid autolysis like we used to recommend.

Jamil: Unless you are going to do long term at warm temperatures, but even then we are talking over a month. I thought about this as well and I think one of the reasons autolysis....and the fact that people were using weak yeast in inappropriate amounts and the transfer would add some oxygen to it which would help attenuate a few more points. I think that was part of the deal why transferring was considered appropriate years ago.

John: But these days we don't recommend secondary transfer. Leave it in the primary, you know, a month. Today's fermentations are typically healthy enough that you are not going to get autolysis flavors or off-flavors from leaving the beer on the yeast for an extended period of time.

Jamil: And if you are using healthy yeast and the appropriate amount and the thing is... homebrew style fermentors..if you are using a carboy or plastic bucket which have that broad base when the yeast flocculate out they lay in a nice thin layer. When you're dealing with large, tall...one of the things you know people go "Well the commercial brewers they remove the yeast because it is gonna break down, die, and make the beer bad. We should be doing the same thing." That's where alot of this comes from. But the commerical brewers are working with 100 bbl fermenters that are very tall and put a lot of pressure on the yeast. The yeast are jammed into this little cone in the bottom and they are stacked very deep and there is a lot of heat buildup. The core of that yeast mass can be several degrees C higher than the rest of that yeast mass and it can actually cook the yeast and cause them to die faster and cause those problems with flavor and within a couple of days the viability of that yeast which the commercial brewers are going to reuse is going to drop 25%, 50% over a couple of days so they need to get that yeast out of there. You don't have that restriction as a homebrewer. You've got these broad fermenter bases that allow the yeast to be distributed evently. It's an advantage for cleaning up the beer. You have the advantage that the yeast don't break down as fast. You don't have as high a head pressure. There are a lot of advantages.

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Old 05-10-2010, 01:59 AM   #7
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Palmer now says secondary isnt necessary.

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Old 05-10-2010, 02:07 AM   #8
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I use a secondary for a number of reasons. One of them being that I often add stuff to the secondary that I don't want churning around and sticking to the top of the bucket after the krausen falls, as it would if added in the primary. Secondly, I like to bulk age and clear some of my stuff for longer than a month. Thirdly, if you want to use a second yeast strain it is nice to remove as much of the first before doing so. It also allows you to mix the yeast in the bottom of the secondary and allow centrifugal flow from the tube off the auto-siphon to mix in the second strain. If you're making a regular old brew, then you should be fine without a secondary.

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Old 05-10-2010, 02:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorRobert View Post
Palmer now says secondary isnt necessary.
Yes if you plain on dry hoping or adding fruit use a secondary
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedude00 View Post
Yes if you plain on dry hoping or adding fruit use a secondary
More and more of us dryhop in primary for the last week of the month long primary, once fermentation has ceased.

Now I only use secondary if I am lagering, or if I am adding fruit or oak (often further racking to a tertiary to bulk age) or getting a beer of a big trub if I added a lot of fruit like pumpkin to the boil and it resulted in a large amount of sediment.
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