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Old 04-14-2009, 02:38 AM   #1
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Default Reuse the primary as a secondary?

Can I ferment my beer in one of my buckets or carboys, then siphon it to my bottling bucket, clean and sanitize the primary and siphon it back into the primary to use it as a secondary?

The reason I ask is, I would like to brew more batches and I don't have the equipment yet.

The only problem I can see is additional o2 exposure from the second siphoning. Has anyone done this? How did it turn out?


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Old 04-14-2009, 02:40 AM   #2
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Yep, you can do that. But the risk of oxidation probably precludes it.

Most beers can be fermented completely in the primary -- no need for a secondary. Obligatory use of secondaries is very old school.


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Old 04-14-2009, 02:41 AM   #3
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You could technically do this, but I'll discourage it for the following reasons.

1) Any time you add unnecessary equipment into the mix, you're adding unnecessary risk of infection
2) Any time you rack the beer unnecessarily, you're add unnecessary risk of oxidation
3) You can just leave it in the primary for a few more weeks to let it clear out, and IMHO it tastes better that way.

If you really need to rack off that yeast (bulk aging>6 months, adding fruit, adding oak, adding sour cultures) it could be done, and if you're very careful you will minimize the risk. That being said low risk is worse than no risk, but it's your beer. Do what you're comfortable with.
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Old 04-14-2009, 02:47 AM   #4
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Just go out and buy another bucket, they are fairly cheap.
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Old 04-14-2009, 02:52 AM   #5
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Most beers can be fermented completely in the primary -- no need for a secondary. Obligatory use of secondaries is very old school.
Whoa, hold on there. First I'm told it's good to use a secondary then it's unnecessary? I'm reading Jon Palmer and he says after three weeks in the primary, the sediment will be detrimental to the taste of the beer hence racking to a secondary.

Following this advice I bottled my first batch after 15 days in primary seeing as I didn't have a glass carboy. I was comfortably past the initial fermentation and also well within Palmer's Three Week deadline.
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Old 04-14-2009, 02:53 AM   #6
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histo320- I'm broke as a joke right now so that's not really an option. All my budget was spent on ingredients.

Others: I think I will just leave it in the primary for the entire time. Sounds like less work anyway! Thanks for the advice.
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Old 04-14-2009, 02:56 AM   #7
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15 days in primary with no secondary really isn't ideal for most styles. I know people take Palmer's word as gospel, and I don't mean to knock the great man, but some of the things he says aren't 100% modern. I don't imagine my beer is better than his by any stretch of the imagination, just a bit more modern in technique.
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Old 04-14-2009, 02:59 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Philsc View Post
Whoa, hold on there. First I'm told it's good to use a secondary then it's unnecessary? I'm reading Jon Palmer and he says after three weeks in the primary, the sediment will be detrimental to the taste of the beer hence racking to a secondary.

Following this advice I bottled my first batch after 15 days in primary seeing as I didn't have a glass carboy. I was comfortably past the initial fermentation and also well within Palmer's Three Week deadline.
Welcome to the world of conflicting information in brewing .

If you pitch the appropriate amount of healthy yeast the risk of autolysis (dying yeast spilling their guts) and resulting off-flavours is not a problem for months - how many months depends on the yeast strain and fermentation conditions.

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Old 04-14-2009, 02:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philsc View Post
Whoa, hold on there. First I'm told it's good to use a secondary then it's unnecessary? I'm reading Jon Palmer and he says after three weeks in the primary, the sediment will be detrimental to the taste of the beer hence racking to a secondary.

Following this advice I bottled my first batch after 15 days in primary seeing as I didn't have a glass carboy. I was comfortably past the initial fermentation and also well within Palmer's Three Week deadline.
Have you read the publication date on How to Brew? Its been a few years now since Palmer updated that thing. The website is ancient. Besides you can't trust what you read on the internet anyways. (wait....)

Seriously, read here:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/vs-p...8/#post1204663

Or search for primary and secondary and see lots of discussion on the topic. Most people agree that secondaries are HIGHLY over-rated.
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:19 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by FlyGuy View Post
Have you read the publication date on How to Brew?
Yep, it's pretty old. I also borrowed Dave Miller's "Homebrewing Guide" and "Homebrewing for Dummies" from the library. Both are about 10 years old. I assumed that homebrewing hadn't progressed much in 10 years. Silly me, we've only been doing it since the 70s.

Anyway, directly after I read this paradigm changing thread, I bashed "autolysis" into the search bar and read. It seems that autolysis is almost a mythical beast, which is a bit of a relief. One less thing to worry about, or one thing to worry about less.

There are a couple of reasons why I bottled after 15 days. I wasn't just pulling a time frame out of my ass. My recipe was similar to an 'award winning' British pale ale recipe in "Dummies". I think they had it in Primary for 5 days and secondary for 7. Having seen John Palmer's illustration of the fermentation processes, I saw my primary as a secondary and and left it in there for the duration, added a couple of days and bottled.

I have brewed, and often prefer, smaller beers (well, that was the plan, the first had an OG of 1060 and the second, 1050). I notice on this forum that many people like the big beers. I have used Safale 04 and Danstar's Nottingham.

After having read this fantastic thread I'm going to leave my beer for a lot longer than I was planning, but do you good people have a suggestion for just how long I should have them in the fermenting vessel?

Thanks


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