Secondary fermenting time?

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Byrdbrewer

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Can anyone tell me the pros and cons of extended secondary fermenting? I condition in the secondary fermenter for 3 weeks give or take. I have had some say that anything over a week is unnecessary, and actually detrimental to the beer. Can anyone add their thoughts on secondary fermentation
 

LLBrewer

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Can anyone tell me the pros and cons of extended secondary fermenting? I condition in the secondary fermenter for 3 weeks give or take. I have had some say that anything over a week is unnecessary, and actually detrimental to the beer. Can anyone add their thoughts on secondary fermentation
I haven't done a secondary in years. It's my opinion that when the beer is done it won't get "more done". Leave it in primary long enough for fermentation to finish and for the yeast to clean up then keg or bottle. The exception would be if your adding fruit or some other addition that you want to contribute to the beers flavor.

-my .02
 

joshesmusica

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Are you adding more yeast and fermentables in order to cause a secondary fermentation? If not it's not called a secondary fermentation, it's just a secondary vessel.
Jk... But really.
No, but I also don't really do a secondary. Google brulosopher go to his exbeeriments, read primary only vs secondary. It might just make your life a bit easier.
 
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Byrdbrewer

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Are you adding more yeast and fermentables in order to cause a secondary fermentation? If not it's not called a secondary fermentation, it's just a secondary vessel.
Jk... But really.
No, but I also don't really do a secondary. Google brulosopher go to his exbeeriments, read primary only vs secondary. It might just make your life a bit easier.
Hmm I thought secondary fermenting allows more dead yeast to fall out of suspension, is this not the case?
 
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Byrdbrewer

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I haven't done a secondary in years. It's my opinion that when the beer is done it won't get "more done". Leave it in primary long enough for fermentation to finish and for the yeast to clean up then keg or bottle. The exception would be if your adding fruit or some other addition that you want to contribute to the beers flavor.

-my .02
I thought a secondary fermentation allows more of the dead yeast to fall out of suspension.. Is that not the case?
 

LLBrewer

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I thought a secondary fermentation allows more of the dead yeast to fall out of suspension.. Is that not the case?

Cold crashing will help clear your beers but that will happen in the kegs or bottles also. No need to rack to a secondary vessel.
 

joshesmusica

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Not any more yeast than what would fall out in your primary anyways. Not to mention the already mentioned cold crashing, plus bottle conditioning.
 

madscientist451

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All beers are not created equal. Ales are best consumed fresh and don't really benefit from conditioning in a secondary. But even with ales, there isn't one answer for all types or styles. Some hoppy ales are best fresh, some are too harsh and the conditioning process helps to soften that harshness. Racking to secondary gets the beer away from the dead yeast and trub that could cause some undesirable flavors.
If you are dry hopping or adding fruit its usually better to rack to secondary.
Barleywine, doppelbocks, saisons, and many others can benefit from bulk conditioning in a secondary. If you rack to secondary and condition more than 4-6 weeks, you may have to add more yeast when bottling to get the beer to carbonate. There are different opinions about using a secondary vessel; the trick is to figure out what works best for you and the specific beer you are making.
 
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Byrdbrewer

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Not any more yeast than what would fall out in your primary anyways. Not to mention the already mentioned cold crashing, plus bottle conditioning.
Interesting. I always see extra grub on the bottom of the secondary fermenter, but I do cold condition for two weeks to allow the proteins to bind and settle out, so maybe I'm secondary fermenting in vain
 
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Byrdbrewer

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All beers are not created equal. Ales are best consumed fresh and don't really benefit from conditioning in a secondary. But even with ales, there isn't one answer for all types or styles. Some hoppy ales are best fresh, some are too harsh and the conditioning process helps to soften that harshness. Racking to secondary gets the beer away from the dead yeast and trub that could cause some undesirable flavors.
If you are dry hopping or adding fruit its usually better to rack to secondary.
Barleywine, doppelbocks, saisons, and many others can benefit from bulk conditioning in a secondary. If you rack to secondary and condition more than 4-6 weeks, you may have to add more yeast when bottling to get the beer to carbonate. There are different opinions about using a secondary vessel; the trick is to figure out what works best for you and the specific beer you are making.
I brew mostly hop head IPA's at about 10% abv
 

joshesmusica

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All beers are not created equal. Ales are best consumed fresh and don't really benefit from conditioning in a secondary. But even with ales, there isn't one answer for all types or styles. Some hoppy ales are best fresh, some are too harsh and the conditioning process helps to soften that harshness. Racking to secondary gets the beer away from the dead yeast and trub that could cause some undesirable flavors.
If you are dry hopping or adding fruit its usually better to rack to secondary.
Barleywine, doppelbocks, saisons, and many others can benefit from bulk conditioning in a secondary. If you rack to secondary and condition more than 4-6 weeks, you may have to add more yeast when bottling to get the beer to carbonate. There are different opinions about using a secondary vessel; the trick is to figure out what works best for you and the specific beer you are making.
i agree with a lot of this (hence why i liked it! ;)) but I will say that unless you're harvesting your yeast, dry hopping on top of the yeast cake is just as good as dry hopping in secondary.

also at the homebrew scale getting beers of the dead yeast (although to be fair not all of it is dead, just inactive) and the trub take months before the off flavors from yeast autolysis occurs.

but i think you're right in everyone figuring out what works best for the specific beer. which includes research, which includes figuring out if the specific beer needs to age long-term or not. if it doesn't i don't see much of a need for a secondary.

Interesting. I always see extra grub on the bottom of the secondary fermenter, but I do cold condition for two weeks to allow the proteins to bind and settle out, so maybe I'm secondary fermenting in vain
i didn't say you wouldn't see extra trub on the bottom of the secondary. you of course will see that, but i would be that if you did a side-by-side experiment of keeping one beer in the primary and sending one to a secondary, that you could mark the trub level on the primary one when you send the other one to secondary, and you could probably see the same amount on top of the yeast cake at the end of fermentation. in fact, here's a pretty good idea of what i'm talking about:

http://brulosophy.com/2014/08/12/primary-only-vs-transfer-to-secondary-exbeeriment-results/

if you scroll down to the last picture of the beers in the fermenter (or just read the thing and work your way down there), then you will see that in the primary there's clearly two distinct layers of trub. the second layer is about the same thickness as the layer in the secondary.
 

kombat

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Interesting. I always see extra grub on the bottom of the secondary fermenter, but I do cold condition for two weeks to allow the proteins to bind and settle out, so maybe I'm secondary fermenting in vain
You might be, but you can stop calling it "secondary fermenting." :) As joshesmusica said earlier in the thread, you're not actually "fermenting" anything. Fermentation is done. You're just aging/conditioning/allowing the beer to clear. A true "secondary fermentation" would be if you were bottle-carbing the beer, because the addition of priming sugar kicks off a "second fermentation" inside the bottles that causes the beer to become carbonated. What you're doing is merely racking the beer to a "secondary vessel."

All that said, you mentioned you're brewing mainly hop-heavy, high ABV IPAs. That's a bit of a special case, since adding things to the beer (i.e., dry hops) is one case where it might actually be helpful to move the beer to another vessel after fermentation has finished, in order to maximize the infusion of hop oils into the beer (rather than having them sink into the yeast cake). In addition, higher-ABV beers tend to benefit more from a little aging, but IPAs present a bit of a paradox since hop aroma fades rapidly with time and thus IPAs are generally better drank fresh. So I guess you've got to compromise one way or another, but personally I'd put more importance on enjoying them fresh and maximizing that hop impact, and relying on the high bitterness and hoppiness to mask any unpleasant esters that haven't had time to blend and mellow out.
 
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Why would they be more likely to fall out of suspension if you move the beer to a new vessel than if you just left it in the original one?
It's not so much that racking to a secondary vessel would increase the inactive yeast (notice I've taken the previous posts and edited my verbiage😎) fall out, but rather allow more time for the sediment to fall out of suspension with out the wort sitting on the yeast and hops, but I'm beginning to think that I have more time than originally thought befor off flavors occur.
 
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Byrdbrewer

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Why would they be more likely to fall out of suspension if you move the beer to a new vessel than if you just left it in the original one?
My thought was also that if I rack the beer off the yeast and hops and then let the remaining sediment fall out of suspension, there will be much less sediment that makes it into the bottling bucket ....I don't know maybe I'm overthinking the whole thing. I could just cold condition longer to reduce chill haze.
 

joshesmusica

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as long as you're not constantly shaking up your primary, there's no reason that more yeast and hops matter would fall out of suspension quicker in the secondary. if you do the same amount of total time for primary-only and primary-then-secondary, then you will have the same amount of sediment in your bottles.
 

C-Rider

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Interesting. I always see extra grub on the bottom of the secondary fermenter, but I do cold condition for two weeks to allow the proteins to bind and settle out, so maybe I'm secondary fermenting in vain
What you see is not from "secondary fermenting". It's just more trub settling to the bottom. All you need is a primary for 90% or your ales.
 
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