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Old 04-14-2007, 09:27 PM   #1
San Jose State University
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Mar 2007
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So... I'm building up my 5 gallon setup as I get money. Right now I have a bucket with a spigot, which I'm using as a primary. However, I have no other containers for a secondary fermentation. I read what Palmer had to say on the subject:
"There has been a lot of controversy within the homebrewing community on the value of racking beers, particularly ales, to secondary fermentors. Many seasoned homebrewers have declared that there is no real taste benefit and that the dangers of contamination and the cost in additional time are not worth what little benefit there may be."

He goes on to say "Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermentor for a total of 2-3 weeks (instead of just the one week most canned kits recommend), will provide time for the conditioning reactions and improve the beer. This extra time will also let more sediment settle out before bottling, resulting in a clearer beer and easier pouring. And, three weeks in the primary fermentor is usually not enough time for off-flavors to occur."
http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter8-2-3.html


I can't get a carboy for secondary fermentation right now. It's not an option. I also want good beer....

Here's the dillema: I don't know if I should just leave the batch in the bucket for two-three weeks before bottling (primary+secondary fermentation), or if I should skip that process and just bottle once the bubbles on the surface dissipate(7-10 days).

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

 
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:29 PM   #2
San Jose State University
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Mar 2007
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The OG was about 1.065, so it's not a light ale, either.

 
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:31 PM   #3
pa-in-utah
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Apr 2007
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Alot will depend on your target FG of your beer. Without taking hydrometer readings, you will not be sure if she is done fermenting.
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John Henry Brewing Co.

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Primary: "Holiday Hooch"... Apfelwein spiced with Cinnamon and brown sugar.
Secondary 1: German Wheat
Secondary 2: Nuttin'
Bottled: Hefe (002), Belgian Honey Ale (003), Arrogant Ale (005), Schwheat Honey Wheat (006), "J&R" Cream Ale (007), Apfelwein (008), The Dogs Bollocks English Ale (009), Cinn-Nilla Spice Ale (010), Apple-Berry Apfelwein (011)
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:39 PM   #4
San Jose State University
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Mar 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pa-in-utah
Alot will depend on your target FG of your beer. Without taking hydrometer readings, you will not be sure if she is done fermenting.
I was thinking that, but then thought that opening the bucket could be a bad idea. A lot of O2 will be purged during the primary phase, which is good to prevent oxidation. I fear that opening the bucket could mean bad news if i want to think about leaving it in there for 2-3 weeks.

 
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:46 PM   #5
Beerrific
 
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I'd say leave it the primary for 2-3 weeks then bottle and in 2-3 weeks it will be done.

If you aren't going to secondary, then I'd say don't worry about the hydrometer reading until you are ready to bottle. Of course you can do this if you are fairly sure you are getting good fermentation.

It is possible that going to a second bucket will help thing clear up a bit, but maybe not.

My first brew I left it in the primary for 10 days then into bottles for 3 weeks, tasted gret, pretty clear.

 
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:48 PM   #6
BierMuncher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Jose State University
I was thinking that, but then thought that opening the bucket could be a bad idea. A lot of O2 will be purged during the primary phase, which is good to prevent oxidation. I fear that opening the bucket could mean bad news if i want to think about leaving it in there for 2-3 weeks.
Don't worry about popping the lid enough to dip in a sanitized stainless steel cup or something to scoop enough out for a reading. I did it all the time before I got my carboy. The CO2 lost will soon be replaced and even a 1/2 inch of CO2 will still blanket your beer and protect it.

I'd say if you're going to use the primary bucket only, 2-3 weeks is the minimum and confirm your fermentation is complete with hydro readins.

My question is, if your primary has a bottling spigot, I assume that it is your bottling bucket as well??

You definitely want to get that beer off the yeast and other sediment on the bottom before draining or siphoning off to bottles. That's the whole point of moving your beer to a secondary. You leave behind 90% of the stuff that clouds beer so it clarifies.

A 7 1/2 gallon plastic bucket is like $17.00 at a HBS. It may be worth it to improve your process.

 
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Old 04-15-2007, 04:20 AM   #7
feedthebear
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Sep 2006
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I still give my beers 2 weeks in the primary just to make sure they are fully fermented.

I use a secondary because I think cold conditioning improves ale flavors and you wouldn't want to cold condition on the yeast cake. (Cold conditioning is like lagering but not as cold and not as long. Of course, you can cold condition in the bottle too.
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Old 04-15-2007, 04:44 AM   #8
cormi3r
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Mar 2007
Ambler, PA
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It seems like everything I've read points to the fact that a secondary it really not necessary unless you want to clarify your batch, so I would think you really don't need to get one and when you have the money if you still want to get one, do it then.

Another idea is, just start with brews that won't need to clear like porters, stoudts or weizens until you can get the secondary to put your beer in to clear them up.
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Primary: Pumpkin Ale
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Secondary: ~~ empty ~~
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Bottled (drinking): Honey Brown Ale, Boddington's Clone (Pub Ale), Watermelon Ale
Planning: Palace Bitter
Consumed: Hefeweizen, Cheesy's Caramel Cream Ale

 
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Old 04-15-2007, 04:45 AM   #9
Jetsers
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Jul 2005
Austin Texas
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you probably need to get a second bucket just for your priming and bottling.

 
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:32 AM   #10
fleas
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Mar 2007
madison wi
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i have heard of people racking into somthing (if you are doing a full boil maybe the kettle* or any thing big enough) and then cleaning out the first fermenter and using it as the secondary i have never done this coz i have a carboy but as i said i have heard of people doing it

. hope it might help

fleas

 
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