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Old 12-08-2011, 04:12 PM   #1
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Default Couple questions re: Primary only technique

Hi Guys,

I normally secondary condition my beers, but my hand is being forced thanks to a stalled ferment on my wheat beer, which is hogging up my carboys.

I have an Irish Red that I'm going to leave in the Primary until bottling time, and I have a few questions on the technique.
  1. The beer is currently in a plastic 30L bucket which I use as a primary. I think most people who do primary only use a carboy. Will I have any real issues by using this bucket as my primary only vessel versus a carboy?
  2. Temperature - If the primary fermentation is done, and I'm down to 1.01 or so, can I complete the conditioning in my storage area, which is currently 55 degrees? This low temp is what stalled out my wheat beer in the first place. To avoid a repeat, I fermented the Irish Red at 68 in a closet. I'd like to get it out of the closet, and I've read that a cold crash can help with clarity?

Thanks for any input.


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Old 12-08-2011, 04:17 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brock_gonad View Post
Hi Guys,

I normally secondary condition my beers, but my hand is being forced thanks to a stalled ferment on my wheat beer, which is hogging up my carboys.

I have an Irish Red that I'm going to leave in the Primary until bottling time, and I have a few questions on the technique.
  1. The beer is currently in a plastic 30L bucket which I use as a primary. I think most people who do primary only use a carboy. Will I have any real issues by using this bucket as my primary only vessel versus a carboy?
  2. Temperature - If the primary fermentation is done, and I'm down to 1.01 or so, can I complete the conditioning in my storage area, which is currently 55 degrees? This low temp is what stalled out my wheat beer in the first place. To avoid a repeat, I fermented the Irish Red at 68 in a closet. I'd like to get it out of the closet, and I've read that a cold crash can help with clarity?

Thanks for any input.
1) You think wrong, people long primary equally in buckets or carboys, it's really not an issue, and discussed in every thread on here on that topic/

2) I'm not sure what the question you're asking is, just about cold crashing? I never cold crash in my long primaries and my beer is crystal clear already. I don't have the facilities to cold crash, so I don't bother. If it works for you fine...but it's not mandatory to the process.

I suggest you read THIS thread, it's become the "uber discussion" on this topic thread. Just about every question you could have about long primaries (including both your questions) have been covered thoroughlyl in that thread.

To Secondary or Not? John Palmer and Jamil Zainasheff Weigh In .


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Old 12-08-2011, 04:18 PM   #3
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Buckets are just fine for primary. The great debate over pale vs carboy comes down to a matter of preference. Nothing more,save for the fact that pales have a larger opening for getting things in -n-out.
I wouldn't condition at 55F myself if one is going to bottle it. Too much yeast might fall out of suspension. Or at least go dormant. I haven't done it myself. I have my own system that works for me. This might work for you,though.
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:32 PM   #4
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+1 on both the above. Listen to their advice and you will make better beer.
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wait....what do you mean all the beer is gone!
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ettbeer View Post
some say plastic fermenting buckets are oxygen permeable.
And some say it's way too insignificant to be even worth concerning yourself with for a month.......
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:01 PM   #6
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True that. I've had ales in my plastic primaries for up to 5 weeks with no discernable off flavors from permiability. I don't think it's as big a deal as was previously thought.
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:20 PM   #7
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so people that use carboys care for their beer more then people that use ale pails? that makes 0 sense.
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ettbeer View Post
depends on how much they care about the beer they're making
That's a remarkable thing to say to/about Revvy.

To the OP: It's my understanding that there's no real problem with a few weeks at 55 degrees *as long as primary fermentation is over*, which is sounds like yours has done. I've not cold crashed beers (yet) but if people can cold crash for 24 hours at almost freezing temps, I can't imagine that 55 degrees would so thoroughly drop yeast as to leave none for carbing.

That being said, why put it downstairs? I leave my primaries in a closet (darkness) around 66-68 degrees for as long as five weeks without any problems. If you're worried about the loss of yeast, keep it where it is
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:43 PM   #9
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I think the temperature and yeast "loss" because of colder conditions is highly dependent upon the yeast overall temperature range. I currently have my scottish ale conditioning at or around *61. I'm not worried about the yeast going to sleep because that is still well within its recommended fermentation temperature. If I had a Belgian Abbey yeast at 61 then it might experience more of a dramatic cell count loss due the yeast falling from suspension and going dormant.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ettbeer View Post
depends on how much they care about the beer they're making
Well, I've had 2 batches sitting 5 and six months, respectively, in buckets and they weren't oxidyzed. One of my brew buddies is a master BJCP judge, and he tastes all my beer, and one of those two batches happens to be one of his favorite beers of mine.

You're making generalizations about oxygen permeability the many, many of us on here have disproven.

So repeat the old party line if you want, believe what you want....but we we've been doing the long primary in a bucket for years now. There's been plenty of folks doing this an discussing this, longer than you've been on here.

*shrug*


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