Secondary in a 5 gallon Bucket

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postman

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Greetings All,

I have a 2 bucket system, a 6.5 and a 5 gal bucket. It is meant to be a primary only system, but is it worth it to secondary to a bucket? I hear mixed reviews on it. Any advice will be great.
 

FlyGuy

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I wouldn't. Just rack out of the primary after a few weeks and bottle/keg. Buckets are notorious for not sealing properly, which might allow oxygen into your beer. O2 increases your risk of the beer prematurely staling.
 

Mutilated1

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I agree, I'd be more inclined to just use the extra bucket for bottling. And instead of going to a secondary, just leave the beer in the primary a few more days/weeks.
 

Thalon

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Is the 5 gal bucket drilled for a spigot? If so, and if you were to do some secondary time in it, how would you rack off the trub that settles out in it? You would have to do the time in secondary in the same location as you plan to bottle. Otherwise when you move the bucket to the bottling location you'll stir up some yeast/trub on the bottom and you may have to rack to the original bucket and back to the bottling bucket, cleaning the bottling bucket in between, in order to bottle. More hassle than it's worth.
 
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postman

postman

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Thanks for all the advice so far. Both my buckets have spigots. The one that I use for primary get the trub layer right to the top of the spigot. I was thinking that in secondary fermentation I wouldn't get such a thick layer and could just bottle from there.
 

Thalon

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Yeah that's true, the secondary will have less of a layer than the primary. But you still need to rack it off whatever layer there is on the bottom, because you need to stir the entire volume of beer to get the bottling sugar dissolved uniformly. The only way around that is to use carbonation tablets that you drop directly into the bottle. Then you could skip the racking before bottling.

So if they're both drilled for a spigot, it wouldn't matter at all whether you do a secondary or not, unless you wanted to wait to bottle until >4 weeks after brew day. In that case, yes do a primary for 2 weeks, a secondary for 2+ weeks and then rack back to the primary bucket for bottling.

Hope that helps.
 

talleymonster

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postman said:
Thanks for all the advice so far. Both my buckets have spigots. The one that I use for primary get the trub layer right to the top of the spigot. I was thinking that in secondary fermentation I wouldn't get such a thick layer and could just bottle from there.


I don't know if that's a good idea. I think when the spigot is open there would be a whirlpool effect, potentially stirring up all that trub on the bottom and getting it into your bottles! That is the whole point of a secondary is to clear the beer.

I think you'd be better off siphoning to a bottling bucket.

Myself I use a secondary, but I have glass carboys(CraigsList rocks!).

Good luck!

Never hesitate to ask questions! We're all here to help each other!


EDIT Thalon has a good point as well. Gotta mix that sugar evenly, you don't want bottle grenades! I have never used the carbo tablets, but I know others here have....

:mug:
 
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postman

postman

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Thanks for all the advice. I just bottled yesterday after 2 weeks in the primary. Yeah after hearing all this, I guess i could have left it in there for another week. I racked it to the bottling bucket and now I'm good to go. From what I gather, I will stop stressing about the secondary. But...this raises another issue. I ran out of bottles, didn't realize some were screw on, and needed a solution. I used soda bottles, thoroughly rinsed and sanitized. Are there any issues with this? They will be stored in a closet.
 

david_42

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No problem with the soda bottles, other than size. In fact, filling at least one soda bottle lets you judge carbonation level just by squeezing.
 

TheJadedDog

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One reason not to secondary in a bucket that I have not yet seen mentioned is the oxygen permeability of plastic; if you leave your beer in the plastic for extended periods (over 1 month) you may get some oxygenation.

Secondary is by no means necessary for ales (it is for lagers) but if you feel like you want to add the step or plan on doing any long term bulk aging (like I do for my Scottish), invest in a 5 gal. glass carboy.
 

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