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Old 07-31-2012, 07:32 PM   #1
EvilDeadAsh
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Default Secondary, longer primary, or straight to bottle?

New member of HBT! This site has been awesome in terms of info and making this whole process a little less daunting, great community here!

I brewed my first batch of beer last Thursday, a kit provided by my LBHS. It is described as a "Traditional malty Dusseldorf style Copper Ale"

I've read the "should i use a secondary" threads, as well as the FAQs. I understand at this point that the secondary is largely optional. I understand the secondary will generally only be needed if I'm dry hopping, adding fruit or something along those lines, as well as helping to increase clarity.

We're having some folks over the first weekend of September at which time I was hoping to debut my (hopefully not terrible) first homebrew.

My question is this - is it more important to bottle condition for longer?

In other words, I've read a mantra in the FAQs as "21 days at 70 degrees" for bottling. If I do that, I would bottle on Aug 9, giving me 3 full weeks to the 30th before I serve this beer to my houseguests.

Assuming fermentation is complete based on my hydro readings...

Should I just leave it in the primary until the 9th, or would it make sense to move it to the secondary for a week before bottling? My general thinking here is if it's only going to sit in the secondary for a week, it likely isn't going to clear up enough for it to be worth doing, and I would only risk possibly infecting or otherwise introducing oxygen to my brew.

My followup question would then be if I do go straight to the bottle from my primary fermentation bucket, how do I add the priming solution? Will it be sufficiently mixed in if I just pour it in the top? From what I have read, unless I have misunderstood, I don't want to be churning the beer too much before it is ready.

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Old 07-31-2012, 07:40 PM   #2
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What yeast did you use? If you used an Altbier yeast - as a traditional Dusseldorf beer would - it might benefit from a little "lagering" of a week or so.

Otherwise, I would leave it in the primary until the 9th. There is some thought that if you give the yeast some time after fermentation is complete, they clean up after themselves a bit more, and your beer is better for it. This is the idea of the secondary as well, with the thought being that you don't leave it on the yeast long enough for them to start dying off and giving the beer an off taste. It has been my experience (an most other folks), that three weeks isn't long enough for that to happen.

You need to give it 3 weeks (plus or minus a few days) to fully carb up, regardless of whether or not you use a secondary.

As to your follow up question: You put the priming solution in your bottling bucket, rack the beer on to that (leave the trub in the primary) and then bottle from there. Usually it mixes just fine, but you could give it a few gentle swirls (no splashing of sloshing) if you feel you need to.

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Old 07-31-2012, 07:41 PM   #3
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Just leave it in the primary until Aug 9th.

To prime, simply add the priming solution to the bottling bucket and rack the beer on top of it. It will mix as the beer siphons in to the bottling bucket. Simple.

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Old 07-31-2012, 07:46 PM   #4
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Welcome! To answer your questions, I would just leave it in primary for another week then bottle, skipping the secondary. If you are worried about clarity, look up 'cold crashing' your beer before bottling. Three weeks in bottle will be sufficient for carbing and conditioning. You'll find that it may even get better after a month or two!

In regards to priming, you should make your priming solution, cool it and add to a second "bottling" bucket. Then transfer your beer, leaving trub, from primary into bottling bucket via siphon, trying to minimize O2 exposure. Then bottle. Let sit for 3 weeks in your case and enjoy. I would put those you plan to serve into your fridge several days before your party to help drop the yeast and clear beer. Good luck and welcome to the obsession!

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Old 07-31-2012, 07:47 PM   #5
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For your first, I'd recommend leaving it in the primary, keep the ferment temps around the mid 60s and you'll be fine. Admittedly, the 9th is probably cutting it close, but it should work out fine as long as your gravity is stable. If not you could end up with bottle bombs.

Boil a cup of water for your priming solution add the sugar and let it dissolve, cool it down to the temperature of your wort and add it to the bottling bucket, then as mdwmonster said, just rack right on top. If you can get the tubing to curl around the base of the bucket, it creates a nice swirling motion that should get everything mixed up just fine. Don't forget you'll also need to refrigerate the bottles for a few days too before serving to get the CO2 back into solution. You'll be cutting it close, but it is technically possible.

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Old 07-31-2012, 07:48 PM   #6
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The yeast that came with the kit is Safale US-05. I don't have a way to lager it.

To clarify... my primary doubles as my bottling bucket, which is why I'm not sure how this might work with the priming solution. In hindsight I probably should have put the wort into my glass carboy with a blowoff for primary fermentation, and then I could rack into the bottling bucket. As it stands, I am fermenting in the bottling bucket.

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Old 07-31-2012, 07:58 PM   #7
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You have a couple options here then, from least to best....
1)You could rack to your carboy, clean out the bottling bucket add your priming solution and rack back
2) You could add the priming solution straight to you bottling bucket and assuming your yeast cake is below the spigot, and well compacted, just bottle right from there
2a) Rack from the bottling bucket into bottles, though I'm sure that is a PITA
3) For this batch you could buy some carbonation drops and just add them to the individual bottles.

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Old 07-31-2012, 08:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDeadAsh View Post
The yeast that came with the kit is Safale US-05. I don't have a way to lager it.

To clarify... my primary doubles as my bottling bucket, which is why I'm not sure how this might work with the priming solution. In hindsight I probably should have put the wort into my glass carboy with a blowoff for primary fermentation, and then I could rack into the bottling bucket. As it stands, I am fermenting in the bottling bucket.
In that case, rack it over carefully to your carboy. Do your best to limit agitation of the beer. Keep it in the coolest place you can. us-05 is a very clean ale yeast, and doesn't really need lagering/cool aging. In a ~week, it'll be noticeably more clear. At that point, rack into your bottling bucket on top of the priming solution, that'll help mix it in evenly. Again, careful not to agitate the beer too much.
I've found that after the bottle conditioning process, a few days in the fridge is best to let the co2 dissolve into solution. After about a week or so in the fridge, the 'chill haze' will begin to dissipate.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:21 PM   #9
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Awesome, thanks everyone for the replies! I'll let everyone knows how the party goes

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