No secondary may have burned me

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pompeiisneaks

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I have heard everyone talk about no secondary. I've always done one, and finally decided I'd try no secondary. I left my Belgian Wit in primary for 3 weeks. I transferred to my keg and WHEW it stunk... its got a horribly strong yeasty flavor I've never had on any other brew except one and that one was much milder and mellowed in a week, I've had this one in a keg in the fridge for almost half a week now and its still stinky. I'm starting to wonder if its because I left it too long in primary instead of getting it into a secondary after fermentation was mostly done like I've always done... Maybe I've just been unlucky and have my first off flavored beer, but man, that smell was not pretty. I'm not even remotely thinking its autolysis, I know that's pukeworthy, but I don't know for sure why else it would have smelled so bad other than my change to 3 week primary instead of 7-10 days. Its possible it fermented a little warmer than the others? Not sure at this point, but my experiment of trying primary only so far is a FAIL! :)
 

Stef1966

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I know infections are usually a rarity item, but could it be?
especially since you already tried this recipe before?

I just bottled my first "No secondary" beer myself last Tuesday, and so far the samples i tasted are looking rather promising.
A little more cloudiness and some occasional thrub leftover floating in some bottles but thats about all i noticed so far.
 

Christian

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Were there any other variations from the recipe you did before?

I only secondary when dry-hopping or adding fruits and i have never had this problem.
 

WBC

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I have been brewing since 1972 and have never had a bad batch. I share beer all the time. I think my success is due to good procedure and being very sanitary.

I use plenty of fresh yeast (not old dry or liquid)

I ferment in the lower range of the yeast's suggested fermentation temperature. Higher temperatures creates more esters and who knows what else. Colder is better and a digital controller and refrigerator or freezer is the only way to go in my opinion. Yes you can get by with ice and coolers.

I do not use secondary's for ales. It's not in there long enough to get autolysis.

It takes more than 4 to 5 weeks for autolysis to happen depending on how old the yeast was when you started fermentation.
 

johnnyc

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I too just skipped the primary for the first time. Honestly what I found out is that I lose more beer when I bottled straight from the primary. Maybe I'm just picky about keeping my beer clear but I think I left about 4 beers in my carboy b/c I started sucking up trub. It was probably just yeast so I doubt it mattered but none the less I left it behind.

Whenever I use a secondary the trub that falls out seems to be more tightly packed and I don't suck up as much. I also normally use gelatin for clarity which I'm sure helps weigh down the trub.

Anyway just my 2 cents.
 

ewbish

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I have been brewing since 1972 and have never had a bad batch. I share beer all the time. I think my success is due to good procedure and being very sanitary.

I use plenty of fresh yeast (not old dry or liquid)

I ferment in the lower range of the yeast's suggested fermentation temperature. Higher temperatures creates more esters and who knows what else. Colder is better and a digital controller and refrigerator or freezer is the only way to go in my opinion. Yes you can get by with ice and coolers.

I do not use secondary's for ales. It's not in there long enough to get autolysis.

It takes more than 4 to 5 weeks for autolysis to happen depending on how old the yeast was when you started fermentation.
Plus about 5. I almost never secondary, only big beers. That goes for ales and lagers in my case (for example, I secondary something like a doppelbock, but not a common pils). The mere fact you didn't secondary didn't cause your problem. WBC's spot on about temp control too, I make the same practice.....always in the lower end of the yeast's temp range, and strictly control temp with an over ride.

I tend to associate a super strong yeasty smell with overly hot fermentation temps, especially with wheat beers, usually accompanied by a cloying banana smell. You may be able to clear it up by chilling your kegs down to the low end of the yeasts range and letting them sit for a couple of weeks, then chill them down to drinking temp for a couple of days.

I find wheat beers to be at their best when fermented at a very steady 58 to 62 degrees with no wide temp fluctuations (like cold at night, then warming up in the day, then cooling down again...etc).
 

Nurmey

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If your beer turned out badly I doubt it is from a mere 3 weeks in primary. I left a Belgian in a primary for 3 months and it turned out great. I think you need to look for a different source of your problem. Sorry about your beer though. :( Hopefully it will age out gracefully.
 

lamarguy

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I have heard everyone talk about no secondary. I've always done one, and finally decided I'd try no secondary. I left my Belgian Wit in primary for 3 weeks. I transferred to my keg and WHEW it stunk... its got a horribly strong yeasty flavor...Its possible it fermented a little warmer than the others? Not sure at this point, but my experiment of trying primary only so far is a FAIL! :)
Well, Wits are supposed to have suspended yeast but not to the point that you can taste it. Does it just taste "yeasty" or are there other off flavors?

I'm a "no secondary" guy. My wheat beers follow this basic schedule:

  1. Ferment for 7 - 14 days (depending on temp and gravity)
  2. Cold crash for 3 days at 40F (encourage suspended yeast to settle)
  3. Transfer to keg at 40F, 15PSI
  4. Imbibe 5 days later

For non-wheat beers, I always add 1/4 tsp of gelatin when cold crashing to settle any suspended proteins.
 
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pompeiisneaks

pompeiisneaks

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Yeah that whole primary thing is mostly tongue in cheek, I think one of my problems is that it always ferments a little warm, my coolest area that's consistent is about 70-72 degrees but it can also spike out at 74 on rare occasions, that may be what happened here... I need to invest in a fermenting chamber of some kind.
 

snailsongs

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Assuming you used belgian wit yeast, I am almost certain that the "stink" is the smell of that yeast and it's product being green still. Forget times tables, if you try to get into a beer brewed with that yeast too early, it's going to smell and taste something like partially digested baby-food vomit.......but if you just let it sit for a while, it will magically tone itself way down and become the pleasant and unique note in your wit that it should be.

I honestly think your problem has nothing to do with not using a secondary, just my $0.02. Try it again with a more standard ale.
 

mmb

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And remember that most often your beer is going to be warmer than the ambient temp that it is in. Fermentation is an exothermic process, it creates heat. I've seen a 5*F or more difference in actual fluid temperature as apposed to ambient temperature.

:(
 

big supper

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I did a Wit last spring. After primary, it really stunk(sulfury/farty). The smell went away and the beer was fine. (Although I did do a secondary)

Edit: I don't think that secondary was necessary for this beer. I just did it out of habit.
 
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pompeiisneaks

pompeiisneaks

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Thanks for the comments, and again, I was just joking about the secondary, trying to tease some of the more adamant ones a bit ;) I know its just a strong yeast smell, I've been taking a small sip every day from the keg to see where its at, and its much better already... I got a full glass last nite because the strong smell is mellowing, and although I could still taste it a bit, I was able to also taste the flavors that I expect from a wit, so I think its doing fine. Thanks for the input all.
 
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