Yep like the OP said, personal preferance. I always either rack to the secondary and dry hop or dry hop in the keg.
My buddy dry hops in the primary and then racks straight into the keg with no secondary though and his beer is fantastic too!
If I dry hop in the primary, should I worry about losing all that co2? I'll have quite a bit of head space, 5 gallons in a 6.5 gallon bucket. I guess the same question applies when I go to take a gravity sample.
*Don't have a secondary
*Are lazy, or don't mind a slightly hazier beer (though IPAs tend to be slightly hazy w/hop oils anyway)
*Only have 3 or 4 gallons of beer and a 6 gallon secondary (large headspace issue)
*Can avoid yeast agitation and prevent moving the carboy too much (prevents haze/maximizes aroma)
*Fear oxygenating your beer by racking incorrectly
Rack to secondary if you:
*Have a suitable sized secondary
*Want to get the most out of the aroma (negligible IMO)
*Want a slightly clearer beer
*Are adding something else like light oak chips, vanilla beans, or fruit (the prime reason)
*Technically want to follow the "best" advice ("best" advice is subjective for some)
This might warrant it's own thread, but: I expected primary fermentation to be complete, but was about .05 away from my expected gravity. After deliberating for two minutes I dry hopped anyway. I'm brewing a hoppy blonde ale for a competition in 10 days (18 days total brew time) and I expect the brew to be a little green. My question is, did I really eff it up? Or should I RDWHAHB?
@MatthewJScott - personal preference, but I lean toward a secondary when I dry hop - the flavor seems to get caught up in the trub in my primary - seems a bit "brighter" when I dry hop in secondary.
Dry hopping is the only time I use a secondary.
@ErinGoBuff - yes, I suspect that will be a bit green for competition. You probably didn't ruin anything dry hopping early, but you're submitting a very young beer for competition. good luck!