Another Secondary Fermentation Question

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MyCarHasAbs

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I imagine a bunch of people are already rolling their eyes at this thread title haha. Just want a collective unanimous opinion before I go screwing up my beer.

First...quick background so you guys know where I am. First batch was around January on a mini kit. Bourbon Stout, turned out okay aside from over carbonation. Second batch, just did today. Bought a 5 gallon kit and made Dunkelweizen. This one went a lot smoother.

I've read a lot of conflicting articles on this topic. I'm not planning on doing anything super fancy with this batch. Just wanted a batch that was easy to make to learn the basics on. The directions call for transferring to the secondary fermenter (or in this case the plastic carboy) but I'm hearing not to waste my time on it. I'm perfectly okay with this haha.

Thoughts?
 

duboman

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Thoughts? No need to secondary. Lots of kit instructions still make the secondary recommendation.
 

knockout350

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i always transfer to a secondary just because i dont like the idea of my brew sitting on tons of dead yeast cells possibly giving off flavors but i thinks its a widely debated topic.
 
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MyCarHasAbs

MyCarHasAbs

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i always transfer to a secondary just because i dont like the idea of my brew sitting on tons of dead yeast cells possibly giving off flavors but i thinks its a widely debated topic.
About as widely as the release of tannins debate I'm sure haha. Thanks.



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BigFloyd

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No way that you'll get a unanimous opinion on this. I think you find that the majority favor leaving it in the primary to avoid the hassle and the increased risk of oxidation. There are still some kit instructions out there that have never been updated to move away from the old get it off the yeast after a week mindset derived from commercial brewing where autolysis is a legit concern.

With a 5 gallon batch, it's not sitting on a ton of dead yeast cells unless you leave it for well over a month. At a few weeks, they're dormant but very few are dead.

If you want clearer beer, cold crash the primary for 5-7 days in the mid-30's after it's done fermenting.
 

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No way that you'll get a unanimous opinion on this. I think you find that the majority favor leaving it in the primary to avoid the hassle and the increased risk of oxidation. There are still some kit instructions out there that have never been updated to move away from the old get it off the yeast after a week mindset derived from commercial brewing where autolysis is a legit concern.

With a 5 gallon batch, it's not sitting on a ton of dead yeast cells unless you leave it for well over a month. At a few weeks, they're dormant but very few are dead.

If you want clearer beer, cold crash the primary for 5-7 days in the mid-30's after it's done fermenting.
+1.
I know that many feel racking to a secondary will give you clearer beer than letting it set, but cold conditioning in the primary fermentor will give you exceptionally clear beer, especially if you use a fining agent like gelatin or polyclar once it is chilled, which will help drop out the chill haze as well as the remaining yeast.

My beers get better scores since I stopped using a "secondary". I only secondary for lagering, or if I am adding fruit or oak, or dry hopping and want to reuse the yeast from the primary.
 
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MyCarHasAbs

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Fortunately for me wheat beers aren't meant to be clear : ). However I do plan on experimenting with an IPA and adding a rosemary hint to it. Searched around for this and never found that anyone has ever tried it before. But I'm assuming a secondary would be useful for this. (Several batches in the future for this of course)


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Trox

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You can just as easily dry hop it in the primary if you wanted to. IMO the only reason to secondary is to bulk age a big beer, or to free up your primary; even for bulk aging you might not need to secondary, and if oyu buy a bunch of buckets then no need to free up your primary.
 
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I imagine a bunch of people are already rolling their eyes at this thread title haha. Just want a collective unanimous opinion before I go screwing up my beer.



First...quick background so you guys know where I am. First batch was around January on a mini kit. Bourbon Stout, turned out okay aside from over carbonation. Second batch, just did today. Bought a 5 gallon kit and made Dunkelweizen. This one went a lot smoother.



I've read a lot of conflicting articles on this topic. I'm not planning on doing anything super fancy with this batch. Just wanted a batch that was easy to make to learn the basics on. The directions call for transferring to the secondary fermenter (or in this case the plastic carboy) but I'm hearing not to waste my time on it. I'm perfectly okay with this haha.



Thoughts?

I routinely secondary my beers. It's a personal preference that I find gives me clearer beer. I also keg condition all my beers. Again, it's personal preference & I'm patient.
Both fit into the system I've worked out for myself & I've made good beers overall.


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MyCarHasAbs

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After the majority of comments my concern is decreasing about secondary but my concern is growing regarding the OG. I followed directions to the teeth. Started with 2.5 gallons of water. During chill phase I did the ice bath (and added ice, I know, un orthodox but the guy who taught me did it and his beer turned out fine.). It also said to add enough water to get it to 5 gallons which I did. Took about mmm...6-7 bottles of purified water to get there but the directions to finding OG are more confusing to me than an M.C. Esher staircase.


EDIT: thought I should mention I followed the directions on the first batch LESS accurately and didn't experience any explosions.

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BigFloyd

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If your using extract and end up with the correct volume with all the extract added, your OG will be what the recipe says. It's just hard to mix it well enough to get the same OG reading throughout the batch. Don't sweat it.
 

Dan

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I rarely comment on the 'secondary' threads so I'll keep it simple

Don't do a secondary fermentation.

Firstly, "Secondary fermentation" is a misnomer, it's an innacurate term. The yeast don't say hey! I have a new vessel to ferment in, lets get going guys and ferment this thing again!

Secondly. No need to do it for clear beer. Clear beer is the result of gravity and time, plain and simple. Cold crashing will result in clearer beer more quickly but if you can't cold crash time will give the same result.

Don't secondary, not worth the trouble. Patience is worth the trouble.
 

WileECoyote

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I imagine a bunch of people are already rolling their eyes at this thread title haha. Just want a collective unanimous opinion before I go screwing up my beer.

First...quick background so you guys know where I am. First batch was around January on a mini kit. Bourbon Stout, turned out okay aside from over carbonation. Second batch, just did today. Bought a 5 gallon kit and made Dunkelweizen. This one went a lot smoother.

I've read a lot of conflicting articles on this topic. I'm not planning on doing anything super fancy with this batch. Just wanted a batch that was easy to make to learn the basics on. The directions call for transferring to the secondary fermenter (or in this case the plastic carboy) but I'm hearing not to waste my time on it. I'm perfectly okay with this haha.

Thoughts?
Hello, On your Bourbon Stout I would put a brew like that into a second fermenter and let it age/condition, that is really what a secondary fermenter is for.

On your Dunkelweisen I wouldn't bother transferring it to a second fermenter, it dose not need much time aging/conditioning and its going to be cloudy anyway.

I started out using secondary fermenters, then after listing to a lot of people here say its a waste of time I stopped using them for a long time.
A while back I was forced to use secondary fermenters again (ran out of kegs) on some of my beers and what I have found is my beers that I do put into a second fermenter to age/condition are much better now that Im using them again.

I have to say the reason they are better is I'm not hurrying my beers anymore, they are aging and conditioning until they are really good, I don't think it makes any difference aging/conditioning in keg or fermenter other than when using a secondary I get no gunk in the bottom of my kegs or bottles and the beers are much clearer, beer in bottles is a little different as it seems to age/condition a bit quicker than a keg or secondary fermenter.

My beers like a Dunkel or Wheat beers in general I just rack right from primary to keg.

Hope this helps !

Cheers :mug:

Here is a pic of some beers in secondary fermenters.

IMG_2044.jpg
 
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MyCarHasAbs

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oh wow...you're hard core! haha. I can never remember the name or how to pronounce that wheat beer, but the one with the monk up on the top left is one of my personal favorites.



Checked this morning before work, I'm bubbling up top already. Looks good. Think I'll keep it there for the entire process.

Thanks all.
 

pjj2ba

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At this point as you are just into brewing, I would just keep your beers in the primary. Way simpler, and will not hurt your beer at all. After you've brewed a bunch of batches and feel pretty comfortable with the whole process, rebrew one of the beers you've done before, but this time try racking to a secondary for aging rather than leaving it in the primary. Then you can decide for yourself if it is worth it.
 
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MyCarHasAbs

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At this point as you are just into brewing, I would just keep your beers in the primary. Way simpler, and will not hurt your beer at all. After you've brewed a bunch of batches and feel pretty comfortable with the whole process, rebrew one of the beers you've done before, but this time try racking to a secondary for aging rather than leaving it in the primary. Then you can decide for yourself if it is worth it.
Makes good sense. And I do plan on doing that with a future batch. In fact, as mentioned earlier I want to try adding Rosemary to an IPA and see how that tastes. I thought it was an original idea until I saw this haha. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/rosemary-beer-recommendations-199422/

I'm guess I'd just chop a bunch of it up and put it in a grain bag and leave it in there for a week or so after the initial fermenting has finished. I eventually want to start naming my beers and giving them hard rock related titles. Guns N Rosemary..
 

WileECoyote

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oh wow...you're hard core! haha. I can never remember the name or how to pronounce that wheat beer, but the one with the monk up on the top left is one of my personal favorites.



Checked this morning before work, I'm bubbling up top already. Looks good. Think I'll keep it there for the entire process.

Thanks all.
Hello, That beer is Franziskaner Weissbier, I like it too.

Keep that fermenter closed up, the more times you open it up the more chances you are taking with it.

I think you made a good choice leaving it in the primary !

Cheers :mug:
 

WileECoyote

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Makes good sense. And I do plan on doing that with a future batch. In fact, as mentioned earlier I want to try adding Rosemary to an IPA and see how that tastes. I thought it was an original idea until I saw this haha. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/rosemary-beer-recommendations-199422/

I'm guess I'd just chop a bunch of it up and put it in a grain bag and leave it in there for a week or so after the initial fermenting has finished. I eventually want to start naming my beers and giving them hard rock related titles. Guns N Rosemary..
Hello, You can also add the rosemary during the last minute of the boil or at flame out.

Cheers :mug:
 
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MyCarHasAbs

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Keep that fermenter closed up, the more times you open it up the more chances you are taking with it.



I think you made a good choice leaving it in the primary !



Cheers :mug:

Yea I'm already paranoid enough with opening the pot lid to take a temperature reading during chill down. Bad enough I add ice directly haha. I eventually need to prepare the bath tub with some ice water and frozen milk jugs.


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WileECoyote

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Yea I'm already paranoid enough with opening the pot lid to take a temperature reading during chill down. Bad enough I add ice directly haha. I eventually need to prepare the bath tub with some ice water and frozen milk jugs.


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This might interest you for chilling, https://www.homebrewtalk.com/cooling-wort-fast-without-chiller.html

I use one of those rope handle tubs from Walmart $6 bucks and it takes a lot less water and ice than a bath tub.

I use frozen 32 oz gateraid bottles to control temps during primary fermentation, once your beer is at the right temp it only takes 2 to 3 bottles a day to keep it at 65 deg.

Cheers :mug:
 
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MyCarHasAbs

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I replied to that link. Good info!


Sorry to all for taking up three pages. I had no idea I'd get so many helpful responses! I clearly picked a good forum.
 
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WileECoyote

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I replied to that link. Good info!


Sorry to all for taking up three pages. I had no idea I'd get so many helpful responses! I clearly picked a good forum.
These pages are yours, ask away !

And the lid being off in the article is so I could stir the wort to get better heat transfer, and to take the pics for the article, I normally leave the lid on during cooling.

Cheers :mug:
 
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I rarely comment on the 'secondary' threads so I'll keep it simple



Don't do a secondary fermentation.



Firstly, "Secondary fermentation" is a misnomer, it's an innacurate term. The yeast don't say hey! I have a new vessel to ferment in, lets get going guys and ferment this thing again!



Secondly. No need to do it for clear beer. Clear beer is the result of gravity and time, plain and simple. Cold crashing will result in clearer beer more quickly but if you can't cold crash time will give the same result.



Don't secondary, not worth the trouble. Patience is worth the trouble.
Patience, time ,& secondary (Brite tank) can be very rewarding. Patience being the key!!



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It's def a preference thing but in general if you are doing an average OG beer you don't really need to rack it to secondary. However for high gravity beers that you plan to bulk age for a while (ie an imperial stout ) maybe rack to secondary.


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Don't secondary unless you have a specific reason to do so. Clarity is not a reason. My beers are crystal clear when I keg them from primary and I don't use whirfloc or irish moss and most of the time I dump the whole brew kettle into the primary.

Adding fruit or ageing something really big for a long time is about the only reason I would secondary.

Almost everything I make now gets 2 weeks in primary, cold crashed for a day or two at 32*, racked to keg and put on CO2. I then let it sit as long as I can in the keezer, usually drank almost immediately. Use enough yeast and control fermentation temperature most beers under 1070 can easily be done in 2 weeks primary only.
 
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MyCarHasAbs

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Excellent responses. Better than I was hoping! So it sounds like I can bottle my Dunkelweizen in two weeks.


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WileECoyote

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Excellent responses. Better than I was hoping! So it sounds like I can bottle my Dunkelweizen in two weeks.


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I give my dunkel from brewing date, 3 week on the yeast to help Finnish it, then 2 weeks on the gas at 9 psi and it seem to pretty good, at 6 weeks total it is very good.

But to answer your question yes you can bottle it at 2 weeks, I would recommend taking a sample at 2 weeks and tasting it, if it still has more than a slight/hint of green flavor let it sit for 1 more week on the yeast.

I always let my beers tell me when they are truly ready, and trust me your beers will let you know when they are ready! if you use this technique your beers will always be finished and never green tasting.

Since your bottling, let them carb up for 3 weeks at 70 deg, then in fridge for 3 days before opening, 3 days in the fridge allows the co2 the time it needs to get into solution.

Hope this helps !

Cant wait to here how your dunkel turns out !

Cheers :mug:
 
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MyCarHasAbs

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Green tasting?


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WileECoyote

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Green tasting?


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Yes if you taste a sample out of the fermenter after lets say 5 to 7 days you will taste a sharp off flavor = green, kinda like a un ripe orange taste.

You will know it when you taste a very young beer and then let that same beer age and that flavor will be gone and the beer will smooth out and taste good.

Sorry I'm not better at describing it.

Cheers :mug:
 
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MyCarHasAbs

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Oh ok. I was going to let it sit three weeks anyway so, not anticipating any major off flavors. The yeast was VERY busy last night. The airlock was making a lot of noise while was watching TV last night lol.


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