To secondary ferment or to not secondary ferment

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by [email protected], Oct 29, 2018.

  1. Stout@TheDevil

    [email protected] New Member

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    that is the question.

    Do you need to secondary ferment?

    Should you Secondary ferment?

    I've heard that secondary ferment if you are adding stuff. Fruit, nuts, dry hopping?

    Thanks for the info as always, peeps.
     
  2. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Adding fruit or bulk aging are about the only times I'd think about secondary. Dry hopping in primary is fine and there's really no problem leaving your beer on the yeast for up to a couple of months. Many of the things we took as Gospel 10 years ago have been shown to be unnecessary.

    Secondary is another chance to introduce contamination and/or excessive oxygen, so why do it if you don't need to? Like many other things in brewing, Don't do it unless you have a good reason to.
     
  3. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I sometimes secondary if I put fruit in the primary and don't want to get any in my keg at the end.

    So I'll throw raspberries in the primary, then transfer to a secondary to cold crash and keg it so I don't end up with raspberry seeds in the keg.
     
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  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    That's a rather complicated simple question and the answer, wait for it, is it depends. Do you need to "secondary ferment" which is actually what happens when you condition a beer in the bottle, not necessarily. A secondary is necessary if you're going to keep beer in a carboy more than about six weeks to avoid a condition called autolysis, where yeast cells commit seppuku, their cell walls burst and you get a vegemite-like flavor in your beer. Otherwise, it's optional. Benefits: Your beer clears quicker and you don't have gunk in the bottom of the carboy to suck into your bottling bucket when you package. Risks: You expose your beer to oxygen. It's not a necessity for normal homebrewing and a lot of guys don't. I generally do but I flush everything with CO2 before transferring to reduce oxidation risk. Your call.
     
  5. White Haus Brews

    White Haus Brews Active Member

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    My neighbor and I represent opposite ends of the spectrum for this one. My neighbor has gone as far as transferring a few of his brews to a 3rd and even once a 4th fermenter (each for 1-2 weeks) which I think everyone (except him) agrees is overkill. I have never nor do I have any plans to secondary regardless of if I'm adding fruit. Only time I might think about it is for bulk aging a big beer but at that point I'd probably just bottle it up and let it age there.
     
  6. I_playdrums

    I_playdrums Well-Known Member

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    #6 I_playdrums, Oct 31, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
    I would rather screen the fruit than transfer unnecessarily. The beer is more important than a raspberry. Any fruit additions I have done happen in the keg once the beer is cold and at least purged with co2.
    Ultimately though, it is a preference thing.
     
  7. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    #7 Ward Chillington, Nov 4, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
    Yeah...I "secondary";) what Bob says...it's another opportunity to screw something up! Check out the threads on Cider or Wine....if you are leaving anything in the carboy for a long time, as in beyond flocculation plus a few days. it's worth transferring and with that, sanitation, sanitation, sanitation!
     
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  8. rolandblais

    rolandblais Member

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    Does he do the xfers under CO2?

    How does it turn out?
     
  9. White Haus Brews

    White Haus Brews Active Member

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    No in fact he takes no measures to prevent O2 at all and pours, splashes and all, into each of the fermenters.

    The beers come out very clear (although I think most would regardless of how they were stored for 6+ weeks). They're definitely drinkable but to me the flavors seem a little muddled/subdued. It's what he likes but I have no plans to change anything
     
  10. JT_YYC

    JT_YYC Member

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    i am planning on brewing a christmas porter next weekend, and so far the hardest part is deciding how much bourbon and wood chips to use in my secondary phase of fermentation. As stated before, sanitization is key because you are introducing new things into the beer. For me with the wood chips, there are ways to pasteurize the chips by heating them in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 195 fahrenheit. Soaking the chips in bourbon makes them better but as soon as the airlock stops gurgling, my understanding is, you can add your desired additions. After listening to the craft beer and brewing podcast, some big brewers are doing hops additions during active fermentation, so there is no "bad" time. its trial and error!
     
  11. Recurring Session

    Recurring Session New Member

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    FWIW, I haven't done a secondary (carboy) in probably 12 years. The only thing that has come close is if I want to remove the beer from sediment completely (I have done this when serving beers at parties or weddings) I will keg, cold crash, then jump the beer to a new keg. Basically, the first keg is a bright tank, not a secondary in this.
     

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