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Old 01-03-2013, 12:20 AM   #1
Dec 2012
Posts: 43
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So I'm relatively new to home brew. I've done a Christmas Porter, a raspberry and have a stout in my secondary. I've been pleased with the porter and raspberry. I've done all of these from established recipes. I follow the directions as far as the amount of time they sit in the primary and secondary, but I noticed with the stout that the fermenting seemed to end sooner than the recipe called for. When should I move it over? When the recipe indicates or when the airlock is no longer bubbling?

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Old 01-03-2013, 12:24 AM   #2
Oct 2011
Rancho Cordova, CA
Posts: 529
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You do not really need to move the beer to a secondary unless you are adding something like fruit or wood at that point. Just let it sit in the primary for 2 to three weeks and make sure it has reached final gravity before bottling.
"Stupid Should Hurt"

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Old 01-03-2013, 12:28 AM   #3
Jul 2009
Posts: 1,002
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There are lots of threads about this very topic. Many brewers, including myself, don't use a secondary at all, unless they wish to bulk age their beer, or add some sort of adjunct, such as oak chips or fruit.

However, you want to wait until primary fermentation is complete -- when specific gravity remains constant for three days. Some brewers may wish to wait several days after that to allow more yeast to fall out, others might cold crash to accomplish the same thing.

I like to simply wait a week or two after primary fermentation, to allow the yeast to clean up any off-flavors it may have created, then go straight to keg.
Brody's Brew House
Primary: Spiced ale
Planned: Butternut squash & gala apple harvest ale; brown ale or porter; barley wine
Kegged: Nothing
In the fridge: Dogfish 60 minute; Imperial Stout

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Old 01-03-2013, 12:33 AM   #4
Dan's Avatar
Oct 2010
Makakilo, Hawaii
Posts: 7,243
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Yes. Like Wayne said.

All brew kits and brew shops lean towards a secondary. They call it secondary fermentation. But is not any type of secondary ferment. Maybe at one time many years ago it was a good thing to do to get beer off the yeast cake for the reason of autolysis.. That is a byproduct of the past. Not many homebrewers transfer their beer to a secondary these days.

Let your brew sit in the fermenter for 3 or 4 weeks. Then wrack to a bottling bucket and pour gently into bottles. Put the bottles in a warm place for 2-3 weeks and then into a fridge for a week and drink. Homebrewers don't have the turnaround time professional breweries do. But a homebrewer is totally capable of make great beer.

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Old 01-03-2013, 01:00 AM   #5
forstmeister's Avatar
May 2011
Chicago, IL
Posts: 1,198
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Unlike a lot of people on this forum I choose to secondary almost all of my beers. I usually let them sit in primary for 10-14 days then transfer to secondary for at least a week to let the rest of the "stuff" drop out of suspension. I am always surprised at the amount of trub I get even after secondary. I just like to take the extra time to let the beer clean up a bit. If I am in a hurry to keg one then I skip secondary but that's only if I need it for a party or something.
I drink (homebrew), therefore I am (gassy)

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Old 01-03-2013, 01:05 AM   #6
Dec 2012
Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 228
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Like it's already been said, you don't have to. But, if like me, you only have a plastic fermenting bucket which doubles as your bottling bucket and a glass carboy for secondary 'fermenting' then I'll be moving mine.

I could always put it in the glass carboy first of all though I guess...
Smick Daddy Brewing

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Old 01-03-2013, 01:19 AM   #7
May 2012
Wash, DC
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Originally Posted by forstmeister View Post
I skip secondary but that's only if I need it for a party or something.
Would love to hear what 'or something' could be.

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Old 01-03-2013, 02:00 AM   #8
BansheeRider's Avatar
Dec 2012
Posts: 1,511
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I understand that these days a secondary is not necessary. But why when somebody mentions that they use a secondary for majority of their beers they are instantly frowned upon on this forum? I am a new member on here and this was the first thing I noticed.

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Old 01-03-2013, 02:20 AM   #9
Kept Man!
govner1's Avatar
Jan 2012
Atlanta, GA
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Because they lack patience. Clear, good beer vs. speed of bottling/kegging are not always compatible!

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Old 01-03-2013, 03:48 AM   #10
GASoline71's Avatar
Dec 2011
Oak Harbor (Whidbey Island), WA
Posts: 609
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They aren't frowned on. I've never noticed people being shunned for using a secondary. I occasionally secondary a beer. But that is very few and far between nowadays.


"Brewed Fresh from the North End of Puget Sound"

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