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Old 10-31-2009, 10:45 PM   #1
Oct 2009
San Luis Obispo
Posts: 94
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I know that many people here don't always agree on the necessity of a secondary fermentation. However, I need to free up my primary to brew another batch and so, in this case, it's rather necessary. I'm brewing an American Red Ale with an O.G. of 1.045. At what point is it best to get it out of the primary and into secondary? Should I wait until it's hit it's F.G. or should I go a bit earlier and get it off the trub to finish fermenting?

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Old 10-31-2009, 11:31 PM   #2
JLem's Avatar
Jan 2009
Attleboro, MA
Posts: 3,637
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Personally, I would wait until it hits FG or damn close. You don't want to prematurely stall your fermentation. At most, I'd rack it when it was 90% done.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:51 PM   #3
Sep 2009
N. Illinois
Posts: 28

... I hear a lot of folks here subscribe to the 1 2 3 method: one week in primary, two weeks in secondary, 3 weeks in the bottle. I'd like to give that a try, but now I'm more like 2 weeks in primary, beginning my second week in secondary...
6.5 gal Glass Primary: Air, waiting to be thoroughly cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 1: Air, waiting to be thoroughly cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 2: Air, cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 3: Air, cleaned
On Deck: Fat Tire Clone

Bottled, waiting: Nada
Bottled, ready: Black Forest Stout, Vanilla Porter

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Old 11-01-2009, 07:21 PM   #4
Oct 2009
San Luis Obispo
Posts: 94
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That was pretty much the method I used for my first batch. However, reading more on the forums here, I've decided to try two different methods.

I'm racking a batch to a secondary vessel today following the idea that you should move your beer to secondary with about 2/3 to 3/4 fermentation complete. This way there is still enough yeast to bring you to your F.G.

The other thought is to just leave the beer on the yeast cake in the primary for 2-3 weeks and then bottle or keg. My next batch I'm starting up later today will just sit in the primary for 3 weeks.

I'm curious to see the differences in how clear the beer is and if any "off" flavors are produced. I should be doing this with the same beer, but there's plenty of time for more experimentation down the road.

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Old 11-02-2009, 01:01 AM   #5
ifishsum's Avatar
Aug 2008
Portland OR
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I've had the best luck waiting until FG has been reached before racking to secondary. For the most part I give it 10-14 days in primary to finish, check the gravity and then rack to secondary for another 2 weeks.
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:04 AM   #6
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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First off, it's not secondary's secondary.....The word fermentation is a misnomer.....

Secondly read this and make up your own covers all sides of the argument.
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:51 AM   #7
Jun 2007
Posts: 143
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I have been in your shoes wanting to clear up a primary in order to free it up for another brew. I'd for sure wait for it to hit FG then rack it to secondary for 2-3 weeks.


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Old 11-02-2009, 01:55 AM   #8
SporkD2's Avatar
Jun 2008
San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 740
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I am actually going to agree for your secondary for ONE reason only, to free up your primary.

But dont go moving that beer until its done fermenting COMPLETELY. Secondary is for aging and conditioning NOT for fermenting.
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