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Old 05-17-2007, 01:59 PM   #1
MntFresh
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Hey Everybody... Ive been doing a lot of research before I get into my first brew, and Ive been confused, well more curious than confused about secondary fermentation. In my research Ive read tutorials / how to's where one will say the use a secondary fermentation in a glass carboy, and others will say nothing about it and tell you to go straight to bottling. From knowledge of just how things generally work. I feel that the secondary fermentation will not only create a better / clearer tasting brew, but also get rid of excess sediment that forms. I guess my actual question is, is it necessary to do a secondary fermentation, or just go straight to the bottle phase and use that as your secondary fermentation.

Thank you for your time, and help

- Mnt Fresh

 
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Old 05-17-2007, 02:19 PM   #2
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Is a secondary necessary? No

The term secondary fermentation is sort of misleading. There really is very little, if any fermentation going on. The secondary is basically for clearing. If you're making a style where that's important, it's probably a good idea to use one.

There is a little fermentation that goes on in bottles, but it's really just to create C02 to carb the beer. It doesn't matter if you use a secondary or not - this process is the same either way.
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Old 05-17-2007, 02:26 PM   #3
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You're right. Barring the fact that you didn't rack early, there really is little to no fermentation going on in the secondary.

Another name for this process is "two-stage brewing", which I believe is a more proper term.

While in the secondary, most of use prefer to use a carboy, more sediment falls out of suspension and the brew clears. It also blends more and mellows with time. Racking this into a bottling bucket allows you to transfer LESS sediment into the bottle. Thus, calling a secondary a clearing bucket is also acceptable.

At bottling, the priming sugar DOES re-ferment the brew on a small scale.

The fact that the container does not have an airlock but a cap to retain the pressure (off-gassing) is the difference.

The cap captures the gas which has no place to go except INTO the beer once the airspace is taken up. This gas (CO2) is what carbonates the brew naturally.
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Old 05-17-2007, 02:30 PM   #4
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Not using a secondary will leave a lot of sediment in the bottles. That less beer per bottle unless you drink the stuff.

You will notice a difference using a secondary.

Some people like the sludge, some don't. Don't forget that the yeast will add more sediment when carbonating.

Heard one story where college guys just fermented and dipped their mugs in the primary. Not my choice, but they must have had a good time.

Barry

 
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Old 05-17-2007, 02:36 PM   #5
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Clearer brw, better taste, less yeasty and less sediment. Don't have to, but aren't we all going for gold here? The longer you wait, the more better the beer tastes and the extra week or two in the secondary ages it. Oh...get a clear primary and secondary (IMO)...it makes the experience more fun when you can watch what is going on (Better Bottles Rock btw). Good Luck!

 
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:06 PM   #6
MntFresh
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Thank you to everyone you posted barely an hour after the thread was up.. your input really helped out... it does sound like a secondary Clearing as you guys put it is the way to go to achieve the better taste.. thanks again for the help guys!

 
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:39 PM   #7
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Wouldn't clearing take some of the yeast out of suspension making it harder for the bottles to carbonate once you do bottle it?

 
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Castawayales
Heard one story where college guys just fermented and dipped their mugs in the primary. Not my choice, but they must have had a good time.

Barry
I could actually see doing something like this with a hefe for a party. Just rack to a bottling bucket, stick the bucket in an ice bath for a little while, and put the bucket up on a table and tell people to help themselves.

Sure it wouldn't be all carbed up, but it would be "medieval".

 
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:48 PM   #9
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Just when you thought you the answer was clear!

Many are not using a secondary anymore including some who brew award winning beers. The advantages are:

1) 1 less transfer so less work and less risk of contamination
2) Less equipment
3) "Cleaner" tasting beer. The argument here is that the yeast continue to metabolize fermentation byproducts and can do so better when you don't rack your beer away from the bulk of your yeast!

Having done two-stage brewing for years I think there are some caveats with this that you need in order to make it work. They are a good hot break with little transfer of the trub to your primary fermentation vessel and pitching adequate, healthy yeast. These are necessary to avoid off flavors from the trub and autolysis of the yeast you might get by leaving your beer in the primary for 2-3+ weeks depending on the type of beer.

I'm just starting some brews that I plan on using only single stage fermentation - I'll let you know how they worked out.

 
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Old 05-17-2007, 06:58 PM   #10
Yooper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robbase9
Wouldn't clearing take some of the yeast out of suspension making it harder for the bottles to carbonate once you do bottle it?
No, even if you secondary for a long time, there are still plenty of yeasties is suspension to carbonate. I thought about adding yeast to my lager because it was so clear, but even after a 8 week lagering period, it still carbed up nicely.
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