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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Too soon to take out of primary?
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:47 PM   #1
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Default Too soon to take out of primary?

This is my first brew and it is a Brewer's Best Milk Stout. The directions said after pitching the yeast to let it ferment 5 to 7 days, after the 3rd day visual signs of fermenting slowed to nearly a halt....by the end of that day it was completely stopped. I know that just because the air lock isn't bubbling that it doesn't mean the yeast isn't doing it's thing, but I also know that its best to transfer to secondary when fermenting is slowed but not completely stopped. I gave it another day (the 5th day) and I transferred to secondary.

My concern is that I took it off of the yeast cake too soon and I may not get the best quality beer I can. I have read that the yeast will run out of sugars to eat and then start consuming other byproducts they put off giving the beer a better taste. It's my first batch so I am not going to be too overly bothered by a small mistake but I just want to know if it is best to let it sit in the primary longer even if the directions say otherwise?


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Old 03-07-2012, 11:54 PM   #2
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Many people skip the secondary for most beers and leave it in primary for how ever long it takes for fermentation to complete.

I don't know of anyone on HBT who has recommended racking while fermentation is still underway, although I have seen that advice rarely in other places.

The beer kit instructions for fermentation are not the best practice for the typical homebrewer, they are good for moving kits though.


A hydrometer is the best way to determine when fermentation is complete. If the gravity is stable for a few days it is ready for the next step, be that bottling/kegging, or racking over for other processes (fruiting, extended bulk aging, etc..)


I'm sure it will be fine. Welcome to HBT and the hobby!


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Old 03-07-2012, 11:57 PM   #3
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First, RDWHAGB (have a good brew since being a first batch I don't expect you have any home brew). Second, moving to secondary is for the most part optional, moving it serves little purpose other than to free up a big primary for a new batch so I would say yes too soon. That aside though, just let it set for a few weeks and the yeast that are still in there should still do the job fine, it just may take a bit longer to really clean house.

TL;DR, your fine, just let it ride.
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:58 PM   #4
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I used to do a 1-2-3 brew cycle with each being the number of weeks in each step (primary, secondary, and bottle conditioning). I now do a 3-3 cycle for all of my Ales. The yeast cake really helps to clean up the beer prior to bottle conditioning and you'll still get good clear beer as long as you are care racking the beer to your bottling bucket.
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:25 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input. I think my next batch will just stay in the primary until it is ready to be mixed with the sugars.
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvtschultz View Post
I used to do a 1-2-3 brew cycle with each being the number of weeks in each step (primary, secondary, and bottle conditioning). I now do a 3-3 cycle for all of my Ales. The yeast cake really helps to clean up the beer prior to bottle conditioning and you'll still get good clear beer as long as you are care racking the beer to your bottling bucket.
+1 on 3/3 ; 1/2/3 is old school
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Old 07-05-2012, 03:45 PM   #7
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I am about 2 weeks into the fermentation of my Summer Ale. I am going to give the 3/3 method a try and see how it turns out. The Milk Stout turned out amazing (in my opinion).
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:19 PM   #8
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OP, I use a secondary 100% of the time (I tried primary only, and ended up bringing too much trub over to my bottling bucket), but I would agree with the advice above - don't be in such a hurry. Let fermentation finish completely before you even think about secondary.

Understand that the term "secondary fermenation" is a misnomer - secondary is used for clarifying or additives, not for any more actual fermenting. Let the beer sit at least two - if not three to four - weeks in primary, then secondary for a week to clear, or for longer to bulk age a high gravuty beer (I recently bottled an imperial nut brown ale that aged in secondary for 4+ months).
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:02 PM   #9
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My original plan was to do a 2/2/2...but maybe I will do a 2/1/2 where that is 2 in the primary, 1 in the secondary, and then 2 in the bottles for carbonation.
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:06 PM   #10
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Most of the time,you need 3-4 weeks in the bottles to carb & condition. Then 1-2 weeks in the fridge to clear up chill haze & get thicker head,& longer lasting carbonation.


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