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Old 07-13-2009, 10:56 PM   #1
Jul 2009
Hayward, CA
Posts: 6

Hello all! I have my first batch of brown ale about 6 days old in the primary bucket. It is about 4 gallons of beer in a 6 gallon bucket. I am getting ready to move to the secondary and am worried about the large volume of air that it will trap over the beer.

1 - Is it better to leave it in the primary with all of the CO2 as a protective layer?

2 - Secondly, if and when I do move the beer, is it alright to attach a sterile hose to the spigot and as gently as possible, transfer the beer to the secondary?


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Old 07-13-2009, 11:03 PM   #2
Rick500's Avatar
Jun 2008
Posts: 2,612
Liked 15 Times on 13 Posts

I don't use a secondary at all unless I'm dry hopping and want to re-use the yeast.

I'd just leave it in the primary.

As to your second question, yes, you can do it that way.

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Old 07-13-2009, 11:07 PM   #3
IXVolt's Avatar
Apr 2009
Southern Oregon
Posts: 1,715
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Just don't splash it a bunch and you'll be fine.

But as Rick said, it's probably not necessary to transfer.

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Old 07-13-2009, 11:17 PM   #4
SevenFields's Avatar
May 2009
Topeka, KS
Posts: 756
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My 1st brew was a NutBrown ale and I just kept it in Primary for 3 weeks. Turned out great!

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Old 07-13-2009, 11:27 PM   #5
ifishsum's Avatar
Aug 2008
Portland OR
Posts: 1,447
Liked 9 Times on 8 Posts

Only 6 days in - I would still leave it in the primary for now. 10-14 days is better, and take a gravity reading before you transfer to be sure it's finished. Transferring to secondary too early can cause the yeast to underattenuate, plus the longer time in primary gives the yeast a time to clean up undesirable fermentation by-products that can cause off flavors.

Your beer will release some CO2 when you transfer it, usually plenty to form a protective layer in the secondary vessel. If you use the spigot, just be careful not to splash it so as not to cause oxidation.
"If you're gonna be an ape, be a hairy one" - Spyder

Primary 2: Edwort's Robust Porter
Secondary 1: LW Pale Ale
Secondary 1: Blackened Soul RIS
Kegged: Dead Guy Ale
Kegged: Rye Pale Ale
Kegged: Haus Pale Ale
Kegged: Nut Brown Ale
Kegged: Afrikan Amber
Kegged: Jock Scott Ale
Kegged: Afrikan Amber

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Old 07-13-2009, 11:55 PM   #6

Hi. Most of the folks here seem to not use a secondary - but I do on *almost* every beer. But, aside from that, the key to transfering the beer (whether to secondary or later to your bottling bucket) is to make sure the hose is at the very bottom of the bucket or carboy that you are transferring to. This way, the beer doesn't get splashed at all, and doesn't get exposed to oxygen. Its really very simple and doesn't offer any real risk of oxidation.

Good luck!

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Old 07-14-2009, 12:38 AM   #7
Jul 2008
Houston, Lone Star
Posts: 203
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

I generally don't secondary for three reasons:

1) It risks introducing oxygen or germs into the beer.
2) It's a pain in the butt.
3) It makes no difference in most styles. I mean NO difference. You can make beer just as good (or better or worse) without it.

What I do is let it go two or three weeks and take a grav reading to make sure the yeast finished. Then I stick it in a cold (~50*F) corner of the basement and leave it for another two or three weeks. This lets the yeast settle out. Then I am careful not to stir things up when I bottle, and I get clear beers. I mean clear like I can read newsprint through a pint glass full of my pale ale (I do use irish moss in the boil). I am very happy with the taste of my beers fermented this way too, they are local micro-quality. I don't worry about yeast autolysis, I wouldn't do a secondary unless I planned to ferment for over six weeks or was doing a lager. If you don't have a cold spot in your basement, don't worry. The main thing to do is give the yeast time to finish and settle out, four or five weeks in the bucket does it. If you are not concerned about clarity you could easily cut it to three. Brown ale is a very forgiving style and you certainly don't need a secondary for it. But if your heart is set on it, go for it (lots of people make great beer that way and I used to do it too, I noticed no difference in quality when I stopped).

The main disadvantage to my technique is... it takes a while. And then three weeks to prime. I used to hate waiting that long but I have a closet full of previous batches to keep me happy now. It's all about the pipeline!
"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes good health" -Thomas Jefferson

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Old 07-14-2009, 02:09 AM   #8
Sep 2008
Posts: 292
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

Stop don't do it... You really don't need it for most beers. Many I know have gone 1-4 months in primary wiht no ill effects.

Now if your aging a BW in bulk, then yeah do it, but not at 6 days... Let it finish..

Now welcome to the obsession, go plan your next brew...

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Old 07-14-2009, 04:33 AM   #9
Jul 2009
Hayward, CA
Posts: 6

Big thanks to all of you for the understandable information. This forum has proved to be a great place to hang out. My plan is to leave it for the next 2 weeks and go straight to bottle. I enjoyed the gravity sample and am trying to think of what I am going to do to the next batch.


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