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6.5 gallon carboy for secondary?

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Ksosh

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Hi all,
I picked up a 6.5 gal. (glass) carboy from sweet a craigslist purchase. Realistically, is there a major disadvantage to using this as a secondary for 5 gallon batches vs. getting a separate 5 gallon carboy as a secondary and using this larger one as a primary?
 

stoneman

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I think you would be fine using it as a primary, but I wouldn't use it as a secondary (too much head space).
 

eschatz

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Your beer won't put out much C02 when it's transfered to the secondary. Therefore you'll be placing the beer in there with all of that headspace (02). It can cause oxidation issues. If you keg then you can just purge your carboy with gas before you rack. That will make it work. Otherwise I just wouldn't use a secondary. I believe that most of us have given up on secondaries for beers other than fruit or lagers, for the most part.
 

RevRon

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I don't think so. Some people may say that it can promote dissolved oxygen in your beer but I don't think it does. Back when I used to secondary, I used a 6.5 for primary and another one for secondary. Now I've come to realize that secondary really isn't necessary if you are brewing an ale. I think it makes my beer taste better when I leave it in my primary. You should try using and not using a secondary to see which you prefer but I wouldn't worry about using your 6.5 for secondary.
 

thejerk

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Fermentation is pretty much done by the time you rack off the trub into secondary, and the remaining fermentation may or may not produce enough CO2 to protect the beer from all of the oxygen in that much head space. It's probably fine, but for that reason I would prefer not to secondary in a vessel that's too big. The 6.5 is perfect for primary though, giving room for krausen and preventing blow-off.
 

boydak

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I still secondary my Kolsch and use a 6.5 carboy and have had no issues. I leave it in primary for 2 weeks than secondary in a cooler area for another 2 weeks.
 

Killer_Robot

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I don't have much personal experience yet , but I will note that every time this comes up I see a bunch of people say "don't do it, it's too much head space" and a bunch of others say "I've done it often and it's fine." I've yet to see a "last time I tried this my beer went all cardboard on me" though.

Really, I'm finding this principle seems to apply to a lot of "should I do this?" arguments and the answer usually comes down to personal comfort and what people have heard rather than what they've had hurt their beers in personal experience. :) That said, the no secondary plan seems to have a lot of personal recommendation from people who have done both, so when you don't need a secondary, two primaries sounds like less work to me anyway. And sometimes when you need a primary(like adding fruit) the new fermentables and fresh krausen needs the extra head space anyway. I say it's a good deal.
 

Ben25

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I haven't used a secondary in 8-10 batches. They've all come out great! I'd say just use it as a primary. Leave it in there for about a month and then rack to bottling bucket or keg carefully.
 
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Ksosh

Ksosh

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Thanks all, I think I'll just use the large carboy as a primary from now on, and *maybe* pick up a smaller better bottle (or even a 5 gallon (1 or 2 plastic, right?) water jug) for clearing in case I need it. This is assuming SWMBO doesn't kill me first because of all the crap piling up in the kitchen (and the living room... and closet...)
 

younggrasshopper

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I don't have much personal experience yet , but I will note that every time this comes up I see a bunch of people say "don't do it, it's too much head space" and a bunch of others say "I've done it often and it's fine." I've yet to see a "last time I tried this my beer went all cardboard on me" though.

Really, I'm finding this principle seems to apply to a lot of "should I do this?" arguments and the answer usually comes down to personal comfort and what people have heard rather than what they've had hurt their beers in personal experience.


+1
 

Rosvineer

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Ksosh said:
Thanks all, I think I'll just use the large carboy as a primary from now on, and *maybe* pick up a smaller better bottle (or even a 5 gallon (1 or 2 plastic, right?) water jug) for clearing in case I need it. This is assuming SWMBO doesn't kill me first because of all the crap piling up in the kitchen (and the living room... and closet...)
Lol, no kidding. This is the motivation I need to get my garage cleaned out
 

scottkct

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I'll throw in my option here. I'm no brewing master but I've done 30+ batches over many years and have tried a number of combinations. In the end here is my take. Start with what yields the most with the least effort.

Beginner home brewers shouldn't worry about a secondary. If you're doing extract or partial extract then definitely don't worry about it - not because it makes a difference but because you're ceiling for quality and flavor variety is limited so a 2ndary wont help much. There are plenty of other things you can put your effort and money toward that will give you a greater return. I've done numerous variations including messing with a conical.

There's a lot of argument over the impact of not doing a 2ndary ferment but my opinion is if the brewing process is perfected a 2ndary isn't necessary. One thing you can do is get a paint bucket strainer bag and either hop in the bag during boil or when you transfer, transfer it into the sanitized strainer bag first to catch hops as it goes into fermenter. There's even a school do thought that hot break is good for young yeast.

I use whirlfloc to force precipitation quicker but dump all the wort in the fermenter minus hops which I do make an effort to strain out. Whirlfloc encourages everything to settle quicker which then gets quickly covered by yeast settling out during fermentation.

Things I would spend money and effort on before doing secondary:
-Full Boils
-Go All Grain (10 gallons Igloo cooler and batch sparge)
-Yeast starter
-Coil immersion chiller
-Whirlfloc
-Ferment temp control
- (other would probably add here)

With all that said I would always to a 2ndary if I had to age longer than 4 weeks or so before bottling or kegging or if the recipe had a lot of adjuncts like spices or herbs.
 

Cyclman

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Secondary is completely unnecessary unless adding fruit, wood, or aging beer. Or, if you're trying to empty your 6.5G for a newer batch, then buy a 5G for secondary.
 

Evan_L

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Is this one of those things that gets propagated but really has no empirical grounding? I have used 6.5G for secondary as it's all I have at the moment. Never had oxidation issues due to this. The one time I did, it was clearly my ineptness with siphoning. I would think that a secondary of 5 vs. 6.5 G has the same diameter and therefore the same surface area exposed to O2.
 

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