Is a secondary necessary?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Doz, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. Doz

    Doz New Member

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    I’ve always thought so but think I’m going to stop, what do you lot think?
     
  2. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    Nup, but I do it occasionally.
     
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  3. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I rarely use a secondary. I used to swear by it, but not anymore. I even lager in the primary to reduce o2 ingress.
     
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  4. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I have only been brewing for about a year and a half, have never used a secondary, and have been making some damn fine beers!
     
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  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    It's down to the needs of the beer for me. If I'm lagering, "secondary", that is, conditioning, is necessary. If not, it's more of a question of how long I'm going to age the beer and do I need the fermentor.
     
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  6. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    I don’t do a secondary for ales. Less stuff to clean and no difference in the final product. I do keg, which handles sediment well. If bottling, I might consider a secondary.
     
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  7. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    When I started brewing it was believed that transferring your beer off of the yeast was absolutely necessary to prevent autolysis. Over the course of the past 10+ years this belief has been dispelled, along with many others that were once thought to be Gospel. In the homebrewing world autolysis is very rare, even when leaving a beer in primary for as long as 2 months or more. Unless you're bulk aging a beer, the possibility of oxygenation or contamination isn't worth any possible benefit I can see.
     
  8. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I might do it if I add fruit or something, but otherwise I don't bother.
     
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  9. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I'm with W but I have and will secondary when lagering so the brew is not sitting on any funky stuff for too long. As others point out, it used to be all the rage in homebrewing but from what I hear and have read in my short time at this endeavor is that secondary is frequently another chance for either contamination, oxidation or something else to go wrong! So I guess the advice is do it when the brew calls for it but not every time and keep it clean!
     
  10. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Active Member

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    I have not used a secondary for over 15 years. I have switched to keg conditioning, though. Some of the same benefits and I need to put it in a keg anyway.
     
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  11. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    Pretty much the same for me, except I bottle condition. In my experience, I get the same quality beer if I age in bottles or bulk age in a carboy. Cold crashing and careful racking into the bottling bucket gives me clearish beer into the bottles, which are then nice and clear after two weeks carbonating and a bit of time in the fridge (4-5 days for ales and 2+ weeks for lagers).
     
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  12. Hamner Brewhouse

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    Depends on the brew. Lagering, darker ales, & ageing I do. Light colored ales I do not anymore, since these are usually ready for kegs/bottles after three weeks. Also depends on how thick the sediment is in the primary bucket.
     
  13. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I have a Christmas Ale with cinnamon, and ginger coming up, as well as a chocolate cranberry stout coming up for the Christmas Season. Should I do a secondary for these? Or can I just let them mature in kegs (I suppose that would essentially be a secondary)?
     
  14. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Either way works. If the beer is dark and strong, there are enough antioxidants it can age. Just use reasonable caution in transferring to the secondary or for that matter, the keg. Only difference I see is if you're going to age it under pressure. Secondary is really an extension of fermentation that takes care of off flavors and clarifies the beer, nothing magical going on. You can do it in the primary fermentor, in a second carboy, in a keg or for that matter, in a bottle. Key is, as with any transfer of fermented beer, to keep oxygen out as much as possible.
     
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  15. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Active Member

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    I would be inclined to just put them in kegs. If you're worried about oxidation, you could do a quick purge of the headspace before sealing up the keg.
     
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  16. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Member

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    I used a secondary for my first two kits because it was in the instructions. Stop using on my 3rd batch (my own recipe) and have not looked back.
     
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  17. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    ...and purge the keg with CO2 connecting to the beer post so the gas goes down and ‘coats’ the bottom of the keg prior to racking into the keg.
     
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  18. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I feel like I derailed this thread...
    I may as well transfer to kegs for secondary/aging for these two batches. I always do closed transfers, and purge my kegs, thanks!
     
  19. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I do that on every batch, and it works, good luck
     
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  20. Doz

    Doz New Member

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    Thank you for all the opinions and help, I will experiment
     
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