Secondary or No Secondary

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Well-Known Member
Nov 23, 2012
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I am brewing my second beer, a nice light Kolsh style.

Instructions call for me to leave it in the primary for three days, rack to secondary and then bottle after ten days. However, from what I read here those store instructions are often not worth the paper they are written on.


1. It's currently in a plastic pale with a snap down lid (which a laying on top) and no space for an airlock. Should I not bother racking to a glass carboy and just do the whole thing in the primary?

2. As there is no airlock, should I just leave the plastic lid resting on top or snap it down?

3. If I do the whole thing in the pale - how can I monitor activity without having to take the lid off an expose the beer to oxygen (or is it okay to do this)?

Thank you in advance!


Active Member
Oct 31, 2009
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Yeah those times are really too short.

1. Ideally a kolsch should be racked to a secondary after fermentation and cold conditioned for a few weeks.
2. Snapping it down isn't really an option, your lid will get blown off if the CO2 being produced by fermentation cannot easily escape.
3. Well your fermenter is going to be exposed to some oxygen anyways since you can't seal the lid completely, but I would avoid taking it off until you are ready to rack the beer.


Well-Known Member
Jun 27, 2011
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El Dorado Hills
No secondary - only exceptions are fermentations longer than 3-4 weeks (lagers) or to rack on to fruit.

#1 - Keep it in the bucket. No need to rack until packaging time.
#2 - I never use an airlock. I do generally snap the lid down and then cover the hole in the lid with a small glass dish (just to keep stuff out). CO2 will escape through the hole in the lid.
#3 - My buckets are just transparent enough to see when the yeast flocks. Then I give it a few extra days and then cold crash (I mostly do ales). Most buckets are not transparent so you can take gravity readings (if your bucket has a spigot) this is the easiest thing to do.

If your bucket does not have a spigot you would have to pop the top and use a wine thief to get a sample or just sanitize the hydrometer and put it directly in the fermenting beer.

The other option is just to wait until you are sure it would be done and then rack to packaging and get your final gravity at that time.

As you can see there is no right answer and many people will have different procedures that work perfectly fine for them. Just keep it sanitary.