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Old 01-04-2008, 08:32 PM   #1
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Default Skipping the secondary?

I've got a brown ale that I made (my first brew ever) that has been in the primary for 8 days now. I was anticipating on racking to a secondary that I was having shipped. Apparently, the package has been lost and another one is going to be shipped out. This will add another week before I will have a secondary to rack over to. I tasted the beer and it seems ok, and it does seem reasonably clear. Would there be any issues with bottling now, or should I just let it sit in the primary for an extra week?

Beer has:
1lb crystal 60 steeped
6.5lbs light LME
fuggles & willamette hops
Nottingham ale yeast

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Old 01-04-2008, 08:35 PM   #2
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If you skip the secondary you will want to leave the brew in the primary for 3-5 weeks to clear as much as possible. In addition if you have not checked FG reading for a couple of days you have no way of knowing if fermentation is complete and you will risk bottle bombs. Do you have a bottling bucket?

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Old 01-04-2008, 09:21 PM   #3
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Yeah, I've got a bottling bucket. My main concern was if any off flavors would form due to an extra week in the primary. If that's not an issue, then I don't mind waiting hehe.

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Old 01-04-2008, 09:24 PM   #4
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Leave it be in the primary.

Off flavors in the primary occur over months, not days/weeks.

I've begun skipping the secondary all together and racking to kegs (or bottling) after 2-3 weeks, depending on the size (gravity) of the beer.

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Old 01-04-2008, 09:26 PM   #5
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I personally leave all my beers in primary for at least 2 weeks. Sometimes longer, rarely shorter. You'll be fine leaving it. And as mentioned, you'll want gravity readings to be what tells you it's time to bottle or rack to secondary, not time.

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Old 01-04-2008, 09:29 PM   #6
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Yeah, just leave it in the primary longer, you won't have any problems. At this point I only secondary lighter colored brews where clarity is a big issue and brews that I'm adding something to i.e. dry hopping or oak cubes.

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Old 01-06-2008, 08:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher
Leave it be in the primary.

Off flavors in the primary occur over months, not days/weeks.

I've begun skipping the secondary all together and racking to kegs (or bottling) after 2-3 weeks, depending on the size (gravity) of the beer.
That's interesting, up to now it seems you've been a big proponent of using a secondary. Do you still use gelatin? If so, when do you add it...when you keg?

I've recently relocated fermentation from my house to a chest freezer in the garage, and have considered using cornies as secondaries...I can fit a LOT more of them in there than carboys! But cleaning cornies is much more work than cleaning glass carboys, so going straight from primary to serving keg would be even better. Problem is, even after 3 weeks I've yet to look in a primary and seen beer that looks ready to keg! I also prefer to keep as much sediment as possible out of my kegs, and putting it in secondary gives it another chance to settle out. It also seems like the logical time to add gelatin or other finings.
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Old 01-06-2008, 09:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlindLemonLars
I've recently relocated fermentation from my house to a chest freezer in the garage, and have considered using cornies as secondaries...I can fit a LOT more of them in there than carboys! But cleaning cornies is much more work than cleaning glass carboys, so going straight from primary to serving keg would be even better. Problem is, even after 3 weeks I've yet to look in a primary and seen beer that looks ready to keg! I also prefer to keep as much sediment as possible out of my kegs, and putting it in secondary gives it another chance to settle out. It also seems like the logical time to add gelatin or other finings.
Well, I just started kegging, but I've often had beers come out of the primary (after 2-3 weeks) that are crystal clear, so I have no qualms about skipping the carboy time. And I've ALWAYS used one for every beer. I'm going to use a clearing tank for the DFH clone I think, mostly for dryhopping in the carboy, and then redryhopping in the keg. But I kegged the last three after a longer primary stay, and they are crystal clear. I've never used gelatin or any other finings, except whirlfloc/Irish moss when I remember. One thing that comes to mind is that my house is COLD. I'm fermenting at the low range and then conditioning even lower. Maybe that's why they are so clear.
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Old 01-06-2008, 09:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew
Well, I just started kegging, but I've often had beers come out of the primary (after 2-3 weeks) that are crystal clear, so I have no qualms about skipping the carboy time.
You know, for me it's not so much about clarity as matter suspended on the surface. For instance, right now I've got a Kölsch that has been in primary for three full weeks. While it looks quite clear, it wasn't any less clear after one week, and still has quite a bit of krausen residue floating on the surface. This is always the case for me, no matter how long I leave my brew in primary. It seems like the simple mechanical action of racking helps stuff drop out...I know I'll get a little bit of that junk in the secondary when I rack, but it always settles completely out within a day or so. Then when I finally rack to my kegs, what little sediment remains is very fine and TIGHTLY adheres to the bottom, so there is virtually no chance of it getting picked up by the cane. Still, it's more sediment than I would like in my keg.

I'd love to remove the secondary from the equation, but at this point I'm not confident I won't end up with 1/4" of sludge in my kegs. When I carry them from the "conditioning fridge" in the garage to the kegerator in my kitchen, the sediment invariably get stirred up, and I can't enjoy my beer for a day or two.

I may just skip the secondary with this Kölsch anyhow, maybe I'm worried about nothing.
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Old 01-06-2008, 10:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlindLemonLars
....I'd love to remove the secondary from the equation, but at this point I'm not confident I won't end up with 1/4" of sludge in my kegs. When I carry them from the "conditioning fridge" in the garage to the kegerator in my kitchen, the sediment invariably get stirred up, and I can't enjoy my beer for a day or two.
...
I had the same concerns BLL. One batch I just decided to go for it and to my surprise, the racked beer came off very clear. I added my gelatin to the keg (instead of the secondary), and it cleared in the keg every bit as quick as had I done so with the secondary stage.

I really beleive that issues of clarity are driven more by chill haze, than suspended matter. But getting those solids/proteins to fall in teh secondary/keg sooner, sure speeds along a crystal clear beer.
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