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Old 12-01-2009, 06:22 PM   #1
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Default Secondary fermintaion

I was wondering will it work to use a 5 gallon container that is the same design as the Ale Pail to do secondary fermintation or is it better to use a 5 gallon that is the style like the carboy. Also, can I use a 5 gallon water bottle like you see on water coolers or is there something about the plastic that would affect the beer.
I was also wondering if there is a big difference when you do a secondary fermintation. I am new as you might have figured out and just made my first batch last weekend that is ferminting away as I write this. I used a Brewers Best ingeridience kit (American Cream Ale).

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Old 12-01-2009, 06:29 PM   #2
I use secondaries. :p
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this has been discussed a lot, but the short answer is that plastic is not suitable for a secondary. it can let air in and lead to off flavors.

Secondaries are a necessity for aging beers for a long time, and can help a lot with the clarity of your beer, but they are not a necessity.

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Old 12-01-2009, 06:29 PM   #3
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For a simple ale, you don't even need to do a secondary. If you are doing a brew that needs a short secondary, well-sanitized plastic is OK (whether a pail or water carboy). But a glass carboy (or ss keg) is what you really need for extended bulk aging (lager, barleywine, mead, ...), and it's not a huge expense. So why not bite the bullet and get the glass?

P.S. The cost of ownership of glass carboys is way lower if you don't periodically break them. Don't ask how I know.
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Old 12-01-2009, 06:37 PM   #4
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Since you are new to this, I'd skip transfering to a secondary. When I first started many years ago (pre internet), the procedure that gave me the most trouble was starting a nice sanitary siphon to do transfers. Of course now there are nice auto siphons one can buy, or search this forum for tips like this

FlyGuys's T-siphon

For many styles (including yours) there are not a whole lot of benefits to using a secondary - as long as you have decent control over your temperatures. If the yeast are happy, there are no problems.

Once you've made a few batches, then you can think about adding new steps / changing procedures. I've got my techniques dialed in and I typically do transfer to a secondary. Definitely in glass, or in a Better Bottle.
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