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Old 03-14-2010, 03:50 PM   #1
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Default Racking over to a secondary fermenter....what to expect? Really?

So... I'm following a particular ESB recipe which instructs me to rack the beer over to a secondary bucket and add 1oz. of 4.5 alpha dry hops.

Which I have done.

I don't see where it instructs how long to let this ferment...but I'm going to let it do its thing for another week, maybe two. And then I'll bottle it and let sit for 3 weeks.

My question is: what is moving the beer over to a secondary going to do? Besides maybe clear up the beer a little.

Does racking to a secondary really offer any extra yeast by product clean ups? Diacetyls? Bi-phenals? Clarity?

Whats your personal experience here? Are you not too convinced of moving the beer over to a secondary is helping much of anything?

Seriously - besides potentially contaminating the beer when I racked...have I really helped improve this beer?

As you can see I'm on the fence with this technique....whats your thoughts?


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Old 03-14-2010, 04:59 PM   #2
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Probably one of the longest running debates is to secondary or not. Using a secondary helps to clarify your beer, especially if your a rookie and haven't honed your racking skills yet. Leaving in the primary will clear the beer just the same, but the racking is the key. What you are doing is 'dry hopping' your beer. That's why the directions told you to rack to another vessel and add the hops. Normally you don't want to leave your beer dryhopping for more than a week. I assume you did a hydrometer test to make sure your beer was done fermenting before you racked it to the secondary. Anyway, you haven't harmed your beer at all. I often use a secondary (to make room in my primaries for more brew, to clarify because I suck racking, or to dry hop), and I've never had a bad batch because of it.

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Old 03-14-2010, 05:51 PM   #3
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By the time that you move beer to a secondary, it has a good amount of alcohol in it. Combined with its low pH, there is very little chance of contamination. As for the controversy, I believe even primary only brewers will dry hop in a secondary fermenter.

BTW, the alpha acid % of dry hops doesn't matter since alpha acids are not utilized. What you want is any good aroma hop. Most aroma hops have low AA%s though.
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