2.5 gallons in 3.5 gallon bucket for secondary?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by madhatter44, Sep 5, 2019.

  1. madhatter44

    madhatter44 New Member

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    Hey everyone, I looked around and couldn't find an answer to my question.

    I know it's fairly common to do 2.5-gallon batches in a 3.5-gallon bucket for primary fermentation, but what about secondary fermentation?

    I brewed 5 gallons of a brown ale and I want to do a split batch to try a new flavor for my wife and keep the other 2.5 gallons as a brown ale. Is 2.5 gallons in a 3.5-gallon bucket too much headspace for secondary? It's been in a 5-gallon carboy for almost two weeks and I was going to split it up today or tomorrow. I still have 2-3 bubbles every minute or so.
     
  2. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    You’d be better served to leave the beer in the primary fermenter all the way through fermentation. Transferring to a secondary from a primary is only asking for problems. When I started over 3 years ago, I too did primary and secondary fermentation’s, haven’t done that since my third brew.
     
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  3. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    A lot of old school homebrewers would ferment in plastic for primary (no more than 7 days!) and transfer to a glass carboy for the secondary. There was the thought that oxygen would eventually permeate the bucket and that beer should be moved off of any trub. Remember, this was back in the 80's and the early days of home brewing.

    What we have found is that these were not necessarily true. The increased likelihood of contamination is a much bigger concern. I would be inclined in your case to siphon off what you want for your other flavor and let the rest stay in the carboy. Make sure that the siphon equipment is well sanitized.

    Since you still have some active fermentation, CO2 will continue to be produced and push other gases out of the carboy. If you wanted to be extra careful, you could purge the headspace with CO2 or nitrogen after you complete siphoning, but you will not likely notice the difference if you don't.
     
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  4. madhatter44

    madhatter44 New Member

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    Thanks for both of the replies! I’ll probably go with what Bubba Wade suggested. I’m experimenting for my wife. She wants a clone of No Crust PB&J ale and I don’t wanna make 5 gallons of beer that’s terrible. Gonna add PB2 and raspberries into secondary.

    As far as not going to secondary, do you guys have any issues with clarity? That’s the only reason I go into secondary right now.
     
  5. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    The secondary really won’t clear it up any more than the primary does. Cold crashing and time, and maybe even some gelatin will aid in clearing.

    Personally, I think the home brew suppliers and manufactures push the need for secondary as it sells more goods.

    Take our advise.... forget the primary to secondary.... too many risks for little to no reward.
     
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  6. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    I have no clarity issues and that's with almost always adding a half pound of wheat malt to every recipe for foam stabilization. I have a stainless steel fermenter and usually leave it for 2 weeks in the fermenter. I transfer to a keg and leave it in another 2 weeks with priming sugar. I chill the keg and tap it. Very clear after the first glass out of the keg.
     
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  7. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I haven't secondaried a beer in years.
     
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  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Should work fine. Only concern is a lot of surface area to take up oxygen.
     
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  9. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    If you're going to secondary, at least do it in a carboy or something like a 1 gallon jug, because putting finished beer into a bucket with wide headspace will lead to issues from the air in the headspace.
     
  10. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    My bellies my secondary :D!

    Sorry couldn't help my self :rolleyes:.
     
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  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Does that mean your bladder is your packaging line?
     
  12. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Exactly end of the line:D.
    Sort of an automatic closed system works 24/7 but the release mechanism works on random:p!
     
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  13. 56 Firedome

    56 Firedome Active Member

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    I've been home brewing since 99 & have always used a Secondary, mostly to Dry Hop. If you Sanitize the Syphoning equipment & Secondary Carboy like you do all other equipment post boil contact, no contamination issues. I crash the secondary & add gelatin for fining & Keg after 5 to 10 days & chill to 35 while carbonating. The fining gets left behind in the Secondary not the Keg. Works for me.
     
  14. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Every time I transfer, I flush the receiving vessel with CO2. A bucket for secondary is exposing a large surface to air - try to keep the gas blanket intact to prevent O2 uptake but it should work.
     

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