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First homebrew - amber ale. Secondary?

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kimkim_427

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Hello! I just started my first homebrew, an amber ale, and have been following George Hummel's recipe (I'm from Philadelphia and he's pretty well known in the area for his brews. He helps organize Philly beer week and owns his own shop so I thought he'd be a good reference). He seems to be a big believer in secondarys though.

Following the recipe, I racked to the secondary after ~3 days when the krausen started to fall back down. After reading this sites (and others) I'm beginning to be convinced the secondary isn't that necassary.

Even though most his recipes say to use the secondary, I think I want to just use the carboy for future brews.

Any thoughts or advice on if this will mess up my brews?
 

twistr25

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Three days after you pitched? Secondaries are fine, but you should wait until the beer hits FG at least.
From what I've learned, it can take anywhere from 4-7 days for a beer to reach FG. After that, it's helpful to leave the beer in primary for up to another week to allow the yeast to go back and clean up the mess they made while partying in the fresh wort. This helps remove some potential off flavors and make sure you hit FG.

If you transfer too soon, you risk stalling the fermentation, which will leave you with a sweeter, less alcoholic beer, and if you bottle, can lead to bottle bombs with the unfermented sugars in addition to the priming sugar.

So you are welcome to use a secondary, but at least make sure you are at FG first, they are certainly not necessary for most beers however.
 

gdbrewer

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Three days after you pitched? Secondaries are fine, but you should wait until the beer hits FG at least.
From what I've learned, it can take anywhere from 4-7 days for a beer to reach FG. After that, it's helpful to leave the beer in primary for up to another week to allow the yeast to go back and clean up the mess they made while partying in the fresh wort. This helps remove some potential off flavors and make sure you hit FG.

If you transfer too soon, you risk stalling the fermentation, which will leave you with a sweeter, less alcoholic beer, and if you bottle, can lead to bottle bombs with the unfermented sugars in addition to the priming sugar.

So you are welcome to use a secondary, but at least make sure you are at FG first, they are certainly not necessary for most beers however.

Very well said!
 

WileECoyote

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Following the recipe, I racked to the secondary after ~3 days when the krausen started to fall back down.



I highly doubt the recipe said to transfer 3 days after pitching, that is way to soon.

And using a secondary is a brewing preference, you will get lots of brewers on both sides of that fence.

I would suggest you do a search on fermentation and do some reading before you brew again.

Good luck and Cheers :mug:
 

BlackGoat

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He's "big on secondaries" and owns his own shop? I'm guessing he's also big on selling you carboys too. Secondary is generally fine but unnecessary for most beers unless you're aging it on oak, fruit, or certain other steps like that. For a simple amber, a few weeks in the primary will do just fine. As stated earlier, you should not transfer until it has reached its FG. If his instructions say to transfer after three days you should look elsewhere for advice.
 
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kimkim_427

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Thanks for all your advice. I've done plenty of research into this and that's why I posted in here to get some outside opinions. His recipe does in fact say rack to secondary after 1-4 days, but especially after these responses I'm thinking I don't want to follow his recipes anymore. Almost all the research I've done goes along with what you guys are saying.
 

BlackGoat

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Nothing wrong with following his grain bill, its just clear that the procedures that he identifies in his recipes are terrible practice. I develop my recipes from a wide variety of sources, but you should nail down your own procedures and not rely on whatever is provided along with your kit/recipe. Lots of great sources on this site to help you along with establishing your brewing practices!
 

freisste

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BlackGoat said:
Nothing wrong with following his grain bill, its just clear that the procedures that he identifies in his recipes are terrible practice. I develop my recipes from a wide variety of sources, but you should nail down your own procedures and not rely on whatever is provided along with your kit/recipe. Lots of great sources on this site to help you along with establishing your brewing practices!
+1.

You can make anyone's recipe work with YOUR system. You don't need to adopt their practices, though. So if someone's all grain recipe talks about how much sparge water they use in their fly sparge, but you do BIAB with a thinner mash makeup, their numbers aren't going to make sense. You can trust the grain choices and ratios (or adjust if you want), but adjust your actions to your setup and comfort level.
 
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kimkim_427

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Thanks again - great responses and advice. I know it's going to take some time to nail down my own procedures and what works for me. And I definitely didn't expect my first batch to be perfect! Looking forward to future brews and gaining my own experience

:mug:
 
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