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Old 12-07-2007, 01:32 AM   #1
free2brew
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Default Short brew, is secondary worth it?

Heya folks, my equipment kit came with a very simple amber starter (1 can Coopers hopped LME, 2 lbs DME), and it *claims* to be ready (though probably not best) in 3 weeks. I have my doubts, but it would be nice to bust open some bottles on New Years Eve (brewed on 12/1).

If I'm going to give the beer 2 weeks in bottles, is it even worth moving to secondary for only 1 week of clarfication/conditioning? I've read that 2 weeks is the minimum time for secondary to be worth bothering with.

Took my first SG reading since the beginning measurement of 1.040, and it's down to 1.012. Better yet, it tasted like BEER! (was careful to make sure everything that touched the fermenter was sanitized) I'm thinking I'll either move it to secondary on Saturday (7 days primary), or wait another 5-7 days and go to bottles. Does that sound sane? (Yes, I know that I really should just add another week and go 1-2-3, but I'm kind of determined to bust at least 12 of these out for the New Year).

Thanks!

- Chris

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Old 12-07-2007, 01:40 AM   #2
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I would let that baby sit. If you are going to have it "green" then my recommendation would be give it another week in the primary, then bottle it up. You will probably have low carbonation, but it will taste better.

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Old 12-07-2007, 01:43 AM   #3
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IMHO, using a secondary is hardly worth it for new brewers, especially when your first brew is a medium-gravity beer that doesn't entirely require a lot of conditioning. The sooner you can taste your first batch, the sooner you can start to improve upon it. I say leave the longer conditioning to later brews, where you can really expect them to be top-notch, whereas your first batch isn't all that likely to come out perfect.

If I had waited a total of 6 weeks to start drinking MY first batch, I would have been sorely disappointed - it was flawed in ways unrelated to conditioning. Instead, I gave it a week and a half in primary and went straight to bottles, tasted it and realized what I wanted to improve on, and had my second batch well underway, long before I would have ever been able to start drinking it if I'd followed the 1-2-3 plan.

Not to say that you SHOULDN'T be patient - some new brewers are seriously impatient, doesn't sound like you are - but I wouldn't worry that much about conditioning right off the bat.

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Old 12-07-2007, 02:06 AM   #4
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Drunkensatyr, Funkenjaeger,

Thanks for the advice! Sounds like 2 weeks in primary, then 2 weeks in bottles would be the way to go for this first simple extract brew. I'm resolved to not rush this first one, but GOOD GOD it's hard :-D I guess the only legitimate reason to move it to the secondary is if I can't wait and want to start another brew this weekend. This is some insane obsession... er.. um.. "hobby".

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Old 12-07-2007, 02:11 AM   #5
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I quit using secondaries about 6 mo. ago. The primary will do fine for about 2 months then crash cool and rack off. Don't get wrapped up in the "get it off the yeast" campaign *grin*

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Old 12-07-2007, 05:00 AM   #6
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Just for clarification... do you mean that you leave your batch in your primary for 2 months before bottling?

Thanks,

meatman

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Old 12-07-2007, 10:43 AM   #7
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Meatman - I'm pretty sure that's what Drunkensatyr means. There seems to be an increasing trend towards people leaving beer in primary a lot longer than some of the introductory beer books suggest. I've heard many people say they think the beer tastes better with prolongued time in primary, and that the fears of "off" flavours from contact with gunk are perhaps a little overstated.

Can I second what Funkenjaeger said about not waiting too long for your first beer? It's absolutely spot on. There are so many things to get right when you brew for the first time, and almost inevitably you'll get some stuff wrong. I think the major benefit of a first beer is what you learn as you make it - if you also end up with good beer then that's great. But your later beers will be even better, and are more likely to be worth waiting ages for, so don't delay their improvement by waiting weeks for your first beer.

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Old 12-07-2007, 03:12 PM   #8
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No need for a secondary with that kind of beer. i would leave it in primary for 1 more week and then bottle. should be decently carbd after 2 weeks in time for new years

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Old 12-07-2007, 04:59 PM   #9
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Alright! Seems to be a consensus here to do a 2-2 for this first batch. I'm just gonna have to pick me up another primary at the LHBS today :-D I'm too impatient to wait until this first one is done to analyze, then start a second batch (this first was extract only, so there's not much to analyze).

I'm gonna have to get a few going at a time in order to keep up with my current level of obsession... I'm bound to make mistakes, but as long as my sanitation remains good, I figure I can't fark it up too badly.

Brewing... it's one hell of a hobby.



- Chris

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Old 12-07-2007, 05:16 PM   #10
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I leave it in the primary just long enough to finish the majority of the fermentation, which for me, with 2 liter stir plate starters, is about 2 days. Then I move it to a secondary. Now that the majority of the fermentation is complete, I don't need to have the extra head space. This frees up another primary, and I am ready to brew again.

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