I'm bringing back the "Is secondary necessary?" argument - Home Brew Forums
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:04 PM   #1
Apr 2011
Haslet, Texas
Posts: 525
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This weekend i had a nice conversation with my LHBS owner about how i wasn't secondary-ing any longer just because i had been convinced on this forum that most people aren't using this step any longer.

My LHBS owner convinced me to continue using this step because of a few reasons, but cheif among them was the fact that the simple science behind moving your beer off of the spent yeast will yield better beer. I mean, if you started eating your own waste, the final "out"come ( ) wouldn't be pretty either.

I realize that i'll get flamed almost immediately, but i'm gonna say this anyway. At least in the beginning of the "no secondary" trend, the primary reason for the trend beginning was because people are lazy and didn't feel like taking a few minutes to rack the beer off the trub layer.

There, i said it. Let the flaming begin.
Diablo Pass Brewing Co.

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Old 08-17-2011, 03:11 PM   #2
Jul 2010
Blacksburg/Herndon, VA
Posts: 2,156
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It sounds like you LHBS owner is stuck with the outdated information that has been covered here probably 500 times. I am not trying to flame but I figured someone starting a thread like this would have at least a little bit of decent information rather than what some dude said who clearly has little knowledge of the science behind yeast.
If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 sharpening my axe. ~Abe Lincoln

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Old 08-17-2011, 03:12 PM   #3
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Revvy's Avatar
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
Posts: 40,938
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3-5 threads a day about this aren't enough for you?

Just read this. Every debate, discussion, scientific reason, argument, reargument, re-discussion, re-debate, and every guestion has been done ad nauseum in that thread, and about a thousand others, but that one seems to be the best.

Heck, just print it out and hand it to him. Or just let him believe what he believe, and believe what you believe.

Do you really feel the need to re-invent the wheel for the 30 millionth time? We've been talking about it for 4 years on here. There's plenty of information on here already without rehashing the same useless arguments over and over.
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:12 PM   #4
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Airborneguy's Avatar
Sep 2009
Isle of Staten
Posts: 10,886
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If you feel the need, then do it. I never understood arguing about what other people do with their beer. Who cares?
Bottled: Atonement Brown Porter

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Old 08-17-2011, 03:13 PM   #5
Jun 2011
Ruffs Dale, PA
Posts: 376
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I have tried the whole longer primary thing and honestly, I tend to like my beers better that I secondary. I think they taste a little more "cleaner" when I secondary. I figure there's still yeast going to the secondary to do clean up duty. I know guys are making great beer without them, but to each his own. I personally like to secondary.

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Old 08-17-2011, 03:14 PM   #6
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Homercidal's Avatar
Feb 2008
Reed City, MI
Posts: 31,709
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Your LHBS is a moron!

Yeah, I suck at flaming.

Actually, I would not want to leave my beer on the yeast past the point where it will create a negative situation either. He is right in saying that the yeast will die and cause bad flavors. I think nearly everyone will agree that a certain amount of dead yeast will make your beer taste bad.

Here is what I know to be true: I have left my beer on the yeast in the primary for up to 3 months to no ill effect.

I do not have equipment that allows me to do measurements, but I believe a few things to be true: You are eating yeast excrement in every batch. I don't believe that the yeast will necessarily create a bad flavor out of the metabolism of dead yeast product. In fact, I think that they very likely turn some of that stuff into other, more beneificial products.

It's just as likely that not having living yeast to help clean up will result in the dead yeast contributing MORE bad flavors, since those dead yeast cells will just continue to contribute their rottenness with no option of changing it into anything else.

In the interest of keeping this short, I think that yeast can live many more weeks than previously thought, and as long as they do, they will not only perform conditioning of the beer, but conditioning of their former selves. And all the while, your beer is clearing and the yeast cake compacting.

I would not like to go past, say 3 months, because at some point you WILL get some nasties. I just don't think it's going to be in the 3-6 weeks or so that I usually primary my beers for.

For long term aging, I'll secondary into a carboy and top with CO2.

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Old 08-17-2011, 03:17 PM   #7
bruin_ale's Avatar
May 2009
Campbell, CA
Posts: 1,436
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I've been mightily underwhelmed by LHBS owners' knowledge these days.
The "eating your own waste" argument makes no sense. The waste - or byproducts of fermentation are EXACTLY what we want the yeast there to work on longer. The point at which they start eating themselves is what we want to prevent (autolysis). Many here, myself included, have left beers in primary for a couple months without detectable flavors from autolysis. If you want to bring back this argument, you should do a 10 gallon batch, split it into two and do one with secondary and one without. Then blind taste test and see which is the better beer. That certainly won't "put it to rest", but it might help you decide if you think it makes a difference.

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Old 08-17-2011, 03:21 PM   #8
Dec 2008
Posts: 575
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I like to secondary to remove the ethanol waste produced by the yeast.

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Old 08-17-2011, 03:32 PM   #9
May 2010
Chandler, AZ
Posts: 2,116
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I've been mightily underwhelmed by LHBS owners' knowledge these days.
I have nothing else to add.

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Old 08-17-2011, 03:56 PM   #10
bwomp313's Avatar
Apr 2009
Kingston, NY
Posts: 1,183
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Originally Posted by Zixxer10R View Post
I mean, if you started eating your own waste, the final "out"come ( ) wouldn't be pretty either.
Yeast poop and human poop are not the same thing. Yeast poop is delicious. Human poop; not so much.

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