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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Rule of thumb for when to rack to a secondary?
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Old 08-06-2013, 02:18 AM   #11
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thats quite the post woozy!

I would have to add I think a lot of people (including myself) are used to only keeping the beer in the primary until its completed fermentation typically 7-10 days and then remove it from the trub into another container to settle the remaining sediment so it doesn't sit on the trub. However in reality the beer can sit on this trub for more then 4 weeks without adding any negative flavors to the beer.

I do this with with most of my brews (mainly cause i'm a noob and don't know the ill or non-ill effects behind these situations) and can hardly tell you if I would notice the difference if you missed your temp targets and now the flavors off......I do know either way using primary or not most my brews need a min of 2 weeks before I put into my kegs cause I don't want the trub on the bottom of the keg where the beer out line is.

Anyways perhaps brew-masters could chime in on this and inform us what the professionals do!


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Old 08-06-2013, 03:06 AM   #12
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Great post woozy!

All I can add is that having a beer sit on the yeast cake for even a few weeks will do absolutely no harm.


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Old 08-06-2013, 03:18 AM   #13
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My last beer a German Alt sat on the yeast for 3 months. Life has a way of taking all your time sometimes. Anyway when I raked to bottling bucket it was the clearest beer I made and tasted great 3 weeks in the bottle its even better. I sure don't plan on letting one go that long on the yeast again but glad to know I'll still get great beer if it life throws me another curve ball.
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Old 08-06-2013, 03:26 AM   #14
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when I secondary (to clear a beer out off the cake, dry-hop, oak, spices, etc.) it's typically at 14 days OR when I've gotten the same gravity reading across three days. Typically, it's the 14 day window because well, I'm lazy and don't bother taking multiple gravity readings anymore - might be time for a refractometer. fyi typically at 14 days I'm bottled/kegged unless it's something crazy.

YMMV
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Old 08-06-2013, 03:34 AM   #15
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I rack to secondary (if the beer is light enough for anyone to tell it's cloudy) at 14 days. I normally fermemt at 70 degrees.

Depending on how high the gravity is, might leave it for 1-2 months in secondary.

But then again I've only got 15 or so batches under my belt so no one really cares what I think
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Old 08-06-2013, 03:43 AM   #16
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I do a secondary only:

1: If I'm actually doing a secondary fermentation. I sometimes play around with starting with one yeast and finishing with brett or lacto.

2: If I'm racking onto something like oak chips or fruit.

3: If I'm splitting a batch to experiment with additions.

4: If I'm lagering for an extended period of time after the diacetyl rest.

I had to be convinced that the old wisdom was wrong. I started racking everything to secondary. Now, it's one more step, one more possibility of oxidation or infection, and slightly less beer into the bottling bucket.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:16 PM   #17
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Yeah,it must be remembered that you loose a little beer everytime you rack it.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:57 PM   #18
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I secondary everything.. I disagree that you lose beer. In fact I believe I get MORE beer to the keg with less trub. Could I be wrong?.. Absolutely but when I rack I stick the racking cane right down in the trub I get every drop of beer I can and I pick up some trub along with it. I stick the secondary directly into cold crash and let it go a couple days...Anything I pick up falls to the bottom of the secondary vessel and again I pu the racking cane all the way to the bottom and tilt the vessel a bit and rack to the keg.... THIS TIME however the trub is just a dusting on the bottom and the racking cane tip keeps me from picking any of that up..... On the other hand if I went directly from primary to keg, I either keep the cane above the trub to avoid picking any up so therefore I leave beer.. Or I stick it in the trub to get all of the beer and consequently some trub...

I have secondaried and I have not... I see no difference in the beers except my primaries are bigger carboys and I cannot fit any more than one in my fridge to cold crash.. thats why I secondary. I basically do it to fit the carboy into cold crash.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:59 PM   #19
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BTW 99% of the time secondary is a misnomer.. it is a clearing or " bright" tank....rack to secondary when your beer if finished fermenting to allow it to clear. There is no time frame, only gravity.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:34 PM   #20
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I've learned that Gravity readings are the only true guidelines. My second batch of my Belgian Dubbel, still came out ok, getting better with age as with any Abbey, but I should've kept in the primary for another 2-3 days. Now I'm only using secondary for Aging or Oaking. Patience sucks, but it's a necessary evil. Now that I have better control of my temps in my no A/C house, it's all gooood, just let 'er ride more time in the primary is better than freakin' out about letting it sit on trub for an extra few days or a week.


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