How long should I keep my IPA in the primary?

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HaNcOcK25

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Hey guys,

I just brewed an IPA on New Years day (a week ago from today) How long should I keep it in the primary before moving it to the secondary? Should I use a car boy or another 5g bucket? Also, when should I dry hop it and how long for? I'm pretty new at this, any info will help! Thanks again

Cheers
 

djfriesen

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I usually shoot for a 3 week primary for my IPAs. I don't use a secondary though. I dry hop in my primary, for 7-10 days (after primary is finished), and then cold crash for a week. So, boil to bottle on my IPAs is usually 5 weeks or so.

If you prefer to secondary, there isn't a set answer. Either glass or plastic is acceptable, as it comes down to personal preference. I use carboys right now, but will be switching to plastic buckets soon, as I find dry hopping in the neck of the carboy a PITA.
 

lutherslagers

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When you are absolutely sure there is no more fermentation going on, viz. the bubbles in the airlock have ceased, you can move to the secondary. Watch your airlock for a solid minute or two and made sure they're done. My preference is to let it sit another day or two after I'm confident fermentation is complete.

You can use either a carboy or bucket as your secondary, though ease of drawing sample may help you in your decision. Dry hopping is usually to taste. I would recommend drawing a sample after 3 days, and then again a day or two after than and so on until you're happy with the taste and aroma. Then pull the hops or or rack for bottling. As a side note I usually use a hop sack with a stainless steal washer and a piece of floss for dry hopping. That way I can pull it out of my secondary or keg when I like the flavor. Just boil the hop sack, floss and washer before putting them in the secondary.
 

djfriesen

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As a note: airlock activity is not a reliable indicator of fermentation. A stable SG for 3 days is a better indication.
 
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HaNcOcK25

HaNcOcK25

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Would you say fermenting is normally over around 2-3 weeks? I'm obv going to watch for the bubbling in the air lock, but just to have an idea. I'm leaning towards a bucket instead of a car boy (friends told me its easier) thanks for all the help
 

djfriesen

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Every fermentation is different. Some last 2 days, and some take 2 weeks. If the krausen has fallen, you can be fairly certain it's close to finished. I usually choose 3 weeks because once the yeast have eaten all the sugar in the wort, they will actually go back and work on some of the compounds that can cause off flavors.

When in doubt (and really, you should be doing this every time. One stuck fermentation leading to bottle bombs will be enough to teach you your lesson), use a hydrometer to take a Specific Gravity reading. If it is stable over 3 days, your fermentation is complete. At that point, you can either let it sit longer to clean up, or bottle it and begin the conditioning phase.
 

unionrdr

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If you don't have a hydrometer,get one & learn to use it. It's the only way to truely know when fermentation is done. That's the point when you wanna dry hop,as the yeasties are done & mostly settled out. Less yeast cells for the hop oils to cling to & settle out with. Use a hop sack per ounce of pellet hops,as they swell up a lot when wetted. A muslin grain sack for raw hops,as 1oz of them takes up a lot more room when wet.
I dry hop for 7 days,& get plenty of great aromas.
 
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