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Secondary, 3 Weeks in Bottles!?!?

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DanS

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ALright in my last thread I was told 1 week in a primary, 2 weeks in a secondary, and 3 WEEKS IN BOTTLES? Thats when I started noticing everyone's little signature's with their posts, first off what is a secondary, I was told if i dont use one it's okay but im just curious as to what it is, and does the brew actually have to be in bottles for 3 WEEKS! before i can drink them??

- Also how am I to know fermentation is complete within bottles??
 

rono73

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A secondary is another vessel (carboy or bucket) to rack your beer to, so that it can clear and continue to develop.

And yes, you should bottle condition your beer AT LEAST 3 weeks, if not 4 or 5. You'll be glad you did.
 

Yooper

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DanS said:
- Also how am I to know fermentation is complete within bottles??
Fermentation must be complete before you bottle. Then, when you add your measured priming sugar and bottle, that ferments out and gives you carbonation. When the beer is carbonated, it's done. That usually takes 1-3 weeks to happen, if the bottles are stored at 70 degrees.

One way to guess when the beer is carbonated it to bottle a couple "tester" beers in a plastic soda bottle. When that bottle is rock hard when you squeeze, the rest of the beer is probably carbonated too. The longer is sits in the bottle before drinking (up to 2 months), the better it is. "Green" beer may be carbonated, but not conditioned and won't taste as good as beer that's been in the bottle 3 weeks or longer.
 

zoebisch01

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To secondary or not is debated from time to time. My rule of thumb is if it is not a big beer (SG over 1.065) and it is not a complex one (lots of malts etc) I tend to go right from primary to bottle. Other beers I secondary. It is a personal preference thing really, you just have to try and see what you prefer.

On another note, you must condition your beer. I know of no beer that tastes good less than a month save for Wheats, which show little improvement after a month (and can be ready in as little as 3 weeks) and actually degrade fairly quickly after that. From ferment to drink in general for normal gravity Ales you are looking at 5 weeks bare minimum (regardless of HOW you got that time).

You will most likely see improvements in most Ales from there on out, up to a point. Hops aroma, however, seems to fall off (or change) rapidly once you get say 7 to 8 weeks out so keep that in mind for your Ales that showcase the hops aroma. That all being said, every recipe is different and each beer has its own perfect time.
 

onecolumbyte

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You CAN drink it whenever you want. But waiting will be rewarded. I didn't find this out till I got a beer that I didn't think I liked. It langusihed in the bottle for 6 weeks or so and got REALLY better. Now I struggle to age my beers to maturity.

Again I know it's hard but waiting will always be rewarded. You can certainly taste test as the weeks progress though. I always have a beer after 1 week in the bottle just to tide me over and see how it's coming along. I also find that you really need some rotating stock to successfully wait a beer out. If you can manage to brew a few consecutive weekends and stock up then SOME of that beer is bound to last till the 3rd or 4th week.
 

DeathBrewer

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yeah...just brew more.

and more, and more, and more. until you have a HUGE stockpile and you have some stuff to drink while the other stuff ages.

then brew some more :D
 

03flstfi

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DeathBrewer said:
yeah...just brew more.

and more, and more, and more. until you have a HUGE stockpile and you have some stuff to drink while the other stuff ages.

then brew some more :D


Oh and then... BREW MORE!!! When you're done brewing, invite me over and I can help you get rid of some of your "old" stock... You know, free up some empties.:mug:
 
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DanS

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Alright, the fermentation was done, there were no more bubbles coming from the fermentation lock, I talked to a craft brewer that comes into the grocery store where I work and he said the first hydrometer reading of 1.04 is probably wrong because I did not wait for the wort to cool long enough and that can throw off a reading. Anywho I had a reading somewhere between 1.01 and 1.02 like 1.05/6 for two days so I bottled. I got exactly two cases of beer and it will be sitting for a week this saturday. So I am going to try one this saturday and see how it is and try and age them more. I'm finding this to be the hardest and least fun of the whole process, Im told however that the means more than justify the ends. I'll let everyone know how the first one tastes this weekend.
 

fleas

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what i have found helps pass the time in the condition stage is make up some kickass labels for your new brew

happy brewing cheer and beers....

fleas :drunk: :drunk:
 

98EXL

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DeathBrewer said:
yeah...just brew more.

and more, and more, and more. until you have a HUGE stockpile and you have some stuff to drink while the other stuff ages.

then brew some more :D

that is what I am currently trying to do....one month, and I have 4 brews in the works.....going to hopefully have 6 by end of month, we will see though!!!!!

this ish is so much fun, and I myself have personally learned about patience for a change in my life....I've never had it until now. I think one project to hold me over for a bit is to make a beer rack, like a wine rack, but to store beers on vertically. That would be neat, having beers organized and labeled, etc......

Brew more, I will be at 2 primaries and 2 secondaries next week...that's a lot of beer going at once, not to mention the bottled stuff once I start cranking that out
 

CBBaron

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You need to brew more. I've found that you almost have to have at least 3 batches going at the same time. One fermenting in the primary or clearing in the secondary. One conditioning in the bottles. And one ready to drink.
In answer to your questions:
A secondary is a separate fermentation chamber, usually a glass or plastic carboy, that you transfer your beer into after fermentation to allow it to condition and clear. It is not necessary but if you forgo a secondary it is recommended to leave the beer in the primary for 2-3 weeks.
Once you bottle the beer should be carbonated and drinkable in 1-2 weeks but the taste will improve with additional time. How much additional time depends on the size and style of beer but 3-4 weeks in the bottle usually results in a much improved beer. Additional time may improve even further but the differences start becoming more subtle.
I suggest tasting your beer after each week until is has been at least 3 weeks in the bottle. Then save a few bottles to try months later. By trying your beer at different times you can see how the flavor changes over time. That in addition to haveing plenty of stock makes it easier to wait.
Craig
 

98EXL

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I am wondering if people are impatient, or lazy (sorry, no offense everyone) to not wait it out in a secondary. I just decided to to it from the get-go, it's not going to hurt, and it added 2 pieces of equipment and 2 more weeks or so per batch, so who cares.

I've noticed keeping the primary around for 1-1.5 weeks (depending on SG) and then for at least 2 more weeks in secondary, there is settlement in the secondary, and I usually don't like floaters in my beer, unless that is just the way it is.

~From a newbs perspective
 

woosterhoot

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98EXL said:
I am wondering if people are impatient, or lazy (sorry, no offense everyone) to not wait it out in a secondary. I just decided to to it from the get-go, it's not going to hurt, and it added 2 pieces of equipment and 2 more weeks or so per batch, so who cares.

I've noticed keeping the primary around for 1-1.5 weeks (depending on SG) and then for at least 2 more weeks in secondary, there is settlement in the secondary, and I usually don't like floaters in my beer, unless that is just the way it is.

~From a newbs perspective
one reason would be that if its a hefe or beer that isn't supposed to be clear then youre just adding a small amount of risk to infect your beer. Adding to a secondary should only add a week to youre schedule anyway because if you don't go to one, you should still let the beer sit in the primary for 2 weeks before you bottle to make sure your dont have beer thats unferemented. I agree with you though that a secondary is probably better in most cases, but I think you can still make good beer without one. (i did on my second batch at least)
another newbs perspective
 

98EXL

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haven't gotten to a non clear beer yet, so I thought I was ok thus far.
 

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