Splitting up the secondary

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

viking999

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Mar 12, 2009
Messages
106
Reaction score
0
I was reading this thread about dealing excess primary volume when racking to secondary, and a question occurred to me. What are the risks (if any) of racking the beer to several different secondary fermenters? Will the beer be mixed well enough to ensure a decent secondary fermentation in all vessels?
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,940
Reaction score
12,874
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
In homebrewing, the term "secondary fermenter" is a bit of a misnomber because no fermentation should be taking place there. In commercial breweries, this step is called the "bright tank" or the clearing tank. So, when you rack from primary to the carboy, you are racking from the fermenter to the clearing tank. Unless you are dryhopping, adding fruit, or doing something like adding a culture to sour the beer, the "secondary" is a clearing tank.

If you have more beer than will find in one carboy, you can use an additional carboy. I don't do that for beer, but when I make 6 gallons of wine, I sometimes don't have an open 6 gallon carboy so I use a 5 gallon carboy and a 1 gallon jug. That works fine.
 
OP
viking999

viking999

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Mar 12, 2009
Messages
106
Reaction score
0
In homebrewing, the term "secondary fermenter" is a bit of a misnomber because no fermentation should be taking place there. In commercial breweries, this step is called the "bright tank" or the clearing tank. So, when you rack from primary to the carboy, you are racking from the fermenter to the clearing tank. Unless you are dryhopping, adding fruit, or doing something like adding a culture to sour the beer, the "secondary" is a clearing tank.
But while the only purpose of using a secondary may be to clear or add things to the beer (or free up a primary fermenter for a new batch :)), that's not the only thing that's happening in the secondary. I mean, the yeast is still consuming the byproducts of primary fermentation, right? That's mainly what I'm concerned about. Will the yeast do the job of cleaning up after itself as well if you split it into several vessels?
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,940
Reaction score
12,874
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
But while the only purpose of using a secondary may be to clear or add things to the beer (or free up a primary fermenter for a new batch :)), that's not the only thing that's happening in the secondary. I mean, the yeast is still consuming the byproducts of primary fermentation, right? That's mainly what I'm concerned about. Will the yeast do the job of cleaning up after itself as well if you split it into several vessels?
Well, the yeast really isn't consuming many byproducts, if you gave it enough time in the primary. If you rushed it into the clearing tank, then it will do that but the yeast do better "clean up" duty while still in the primary, on the yeast cake.

Even so, there are plenty of yeast in suspension so that the beer will carb up when you bottle it later.
 
Top