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Primary and Secondary Fermenter?

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Gordolordo

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What is that?

Right now, I have my brewing bucket that I put my wort into and once cooled, pitched the yeast and waited? Is that the primary fermenter?

If so, what is the secondary fermenter, and is that step something you can skip if you want to?
 
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Gordolordo said:
What is that?

Right now, I have my brewing bucket that I put my wort into and once cooled, pitched the yeast and waited? Is that the primary fermenter?

If so, what is the secondary fermenter, and is that step something you can skip if you want to?
yes, the bucket is your primary and you "could" bypass a secondary if you want to. However most all will recommend that you get a secondary as well. A secondary is typically a 5 gal glass carboy. Your beer will be better if you do the two-stage fermentation in clarity and taste. The typical process is as follows:

3-5 days in primary then rack (transfer to secondary)
approx 14 days to settle out in secondary then bottle.
approx 14 days in bottles to condition then Drink!

rules can change based on the beer you're brewing but this is the 'typical process'. Do a little reading as to optimium times to transfer (rack) & sanitation is your friend.

Oh, and if you do bypass a secondary you must keep your beer in the primary for much longer than 3-5 days. How long would probably be 14-17 days in total. But once you open it up you'll notice all of the gunk in there and the objective of the secondary is to get it off this byproduct of the initial fermentation which can create off flavors.
 

SwAMi75

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Yes, the one your beer is in now is the primary. It's where your beer does the majority of its actual fermentation.

The secondary is simply a second vessel you transfer your beer into after the majority of your fermentation completes in the primary. Basically the reason for this is to remove you beer from the sludge ("trub") that settles out of it during the primary ferment, allowing it to clean up a little. Do you *have* to do it? No, but it will definitely help the color and more importantly the flavor of your beer to let them age for a while in a secondary.

Sam
 

Janx

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There are a great many benefits to racking your beer to a secondary fermenter. The basic deal is to get the beer into a cleaner fermenter, so it doesn't sit on trub and yeast that is breaking down and causing off flavors. It is one of the best things you can do to improve the flavor of your beer. Cheers! :D
 
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Gordolordo

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I put my beer into a secondary yesterday and based on the bubbling I'm still getting, I think that I didn't have enough headspace with oxygen in my primary fermenter.

It's a good thing I moved it to the secondary or I'd have a shitload of broken bottles and sweet half fermented beer everywhere.
 

Janx

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As I pointed out in another thread, I don't think you're analyzing that one quite right. The fermentation probably became more vigorous on racking because you stirred it up and dissolved CO2 came out of solution. The headspace is not where the yeast gets oxygen. The determining factor is the amount of *dissolved* oxygen in the cooled wort. That is accomplished by shaking, stirring or pumping air in with an airstone. The headspace is completely a non-issue except that you'll get a blowoff if you don't have enough.

Also, when racking, you want to avoid aeration. Yeast only needs oxygen in the initial phases of development. After that, you want to minimize aeration of the beer.

So, I don't think you were at risk of exploding bottles because of lack of headspace in your fermenter ;) Cheers! :D
 
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