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Old 11-30-2012, 01:25 PM   #1
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Default Specific question about secondary

So I've read all the debate about whether to rack beer to a secondary and understand the pros and cons.

I'm wondering if the balance changes considering that I failed to filter the beer when I put it in primary. The steeping grains and whole hops were in bags, so those are not a problem. Unfortunately, I did not think to run the wort through a strainer to get the hot break out (stupid newbie mistake). I know that the break material will settle during fermentation, but I am concerned that some of the sediment will get stirred up when I go to transfer to the bottling bucket. I was thinking that I would be able to eliminate more of the sediment if I put it into a secondary (and then let the the sediment that got stirred up settle while it conditions in the secondary).

I'm obviously a newbie and am probably overthinking this, so I would love everyone's thoughts.

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:28 PM   #2
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Well, I like to rack to secondary, partially for the concern you have. But, really it is just an aesthetic concern. If you have the ability to cold crash, which I do not (hence the secondary usage), that will essentially do the same as if you racked to secondary. You'll be okay either way, just remember that if you decide to secondary to use a siphon, and splash as little as possible.

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:30 PM   #3
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As long as you give the yeast enough time to clean up and drop out you'll be fine. If you have the capability cold crash it a couple days before bottling. We just quit doing secondaries and it has made no noticeable difference in our beer.

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:34 PM   #4
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All you have to do is siphon carefully. If you tilt your vessel you will have a deeper spot in the corner and you can get the most beer. Just keep the tip of your siphon above the trub.

I bag my hops. I don't usually filter the wort going into the fermenter. And I rarely use a secondary.

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:34 PM   #5
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I haven't filtered/strained either of my first two batches nor used secondary. Both are clear all said and done. Just used care in racking from primary to bottling bucket, then what little I did pick up apparently settled even more through bottle conditioning.

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:35 PM   #6
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If you're using an autosiphon, there really shouldn't be much trub transfered over when you rack into the bottling bucket. You're overthinking it.

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:48 PM   #7
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Remember that transferring the beer doesn't make it clear- gravity does the work. Gravity works whether the beer is in the fermenter or in the clearing vessel. So it's just a matter of personal preference.

I almost never rack to a clearing vessel. But that is what works for me.

One of the most convincing arguments for leaving the beer in the fermenter for most ales is that you almost never hear of anybody with an infection in the primary after 2-3 weeks. But almost all of the "is this infected?" posts here on the forum are about beers in the clearing vessel, with some headspace.

That's only anecdotal of course, but it is something to consider if you're unsure if you want to rack or not.

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Old 11-30-2012, 02:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Remember that transferring the beer doesn't make it clear- gravity does the work. Gravity works whether the beer is in the fermenter or in the clearing vessel. So it's just a matter of personal preference.

I almost never rack to a clearing vessel. But that is what works for me.

One of the most convincing arguments for leaving the beer in the fermenter for most ales is that you almost never hear of anybody with an infection in the primary after 2-3 weeks. But almost all of the "is this infected?" posts here on the forum are about beers in the clearing vessel, with some headspace.

That's only anecdotal of course, but it is something to consider if you're unsure if you want to rack or not.
+1!

Racking is really an art and takes some practice to do it properly. If you start your siphon about half way down the vessel there will be no disturbance of the trub. As the level of the beer lowers, slowly lower your racking cane and continue to do so until you are just above the trub layer. As mentioned above you can slowly and gently tip the vessel as well to get the most beer out of the primary.

If you need to move your primary to a different location when you rack, do so a day prior so anything that gets disturbed has a chance to settle out again. Also as mentioned, if you have the ability to cold crash the vessel, this will help as well. Even if you transfer to a secondary, there will be trub on the bottom, maybe less but still some so the issue is kind of the same if you are not careful.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:39 PM   #9
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Thanks for the advice. For the cold crash suggestion, I don't have a fridge that I can put the fermenter in. I can put it in part of my basement that will get the temp down to 55 degrees, so I could always put it down there for a few days before bottling. Also, nighttime temps where I live should be in the high 30s when I am going to bottle. Would putting the fermenter outside (covered to make sure nothing can get to it) help?

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Old 11-30-2012, 02:41 PM   #10
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That's really one of those things that is a matter of personal preference and nothing else. Some dump everything in, without straining, just pour it in the bucket or in the funnel....Some use a big strainer that fit in the funnel for a carboy, or a sanitized 5 gallon nylon paint strainer bag in the bucket...

I have done it all ways. It really doesn't matter...anything will settle.

In other words, there is no wrong way to do it, or better way, or way that will make the best beer...they all work...the choice is what will work the best for you. That's how you develop you own unique brewing process. By trying all ways and deciding what works best for you.

What I do with my IC, is chill the wort, then I lean the bottom of my autosiphon about two coils up from the bottom on the metal of the siphon. That rests it above most of the break material and trub, then I rack it to the fermenter until I'm down to that and carefully lower the siphon down into the gunk, just trying to get as much of the wort as possible without letting in the hops and break matter.

A whirlpool helps.

But pretty much up until I got my immersion chiller I just dumped for the majority of my batches. And I still managed to do well in contests...

I find that long primaries render my beer just as clear, and crisp tasting regardless of whether I dumped it all in or not....so I just do what works for me.....

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