To Transfer to a Secondary or Not?

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Evadious, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. Evadious

    Evadious New Member

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    I'm sure this has been addressed here already, but a quick search didn't turn up what I was looking for.

    I've made 2 batches so far, for both batches my method has been to:
    • Pour the full contents of my kettle into my plastic primary fermentation bucket, pitch yeast, add an airlock, etc.
    • Wait 1 week
    • Rack the beer off the trub into a secondary carboy
    • wait 1 week
    • Rack the beer off the trub and back into my bucket, add sugar and bottle.
    Both batches have turned out well, but I notice that I get a lot of volume loss each time I transfer from one vessel to the other. Mainly this is because I am being careful not to transfer the trub, but it does make me wonder if this is necessary.

    If I just left it in one fermentor for 2 weeks would that end up any different? Under what circumstances, or for what type of beer is transferring to a secondary fermentor necessary?

    Thanks
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I dont think so. For most beer one fermentor is enough.
    8 hillli ui IPOMy strawberry beer im doing atm has trub up to the 6 lt mark thats like 5 inches of trub:eek:. I should transfer to secondary let it settle out the cold crash and rack into keg but i recon a good cold crash shouldn condense trub a bit.

    So one fermenter less losses i recon.
     
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  3. Drewfus1

    Drewfus1 Member

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    If you leave it in your primary fermentor the whole time you end up with multiple benefits. Your yield should be a bit higher because every time you rack, some good beer gets left behind. You also reduce the chances of picking up an infection. To top it off it takes less time and you have fewer pieces of equipment to clean.

    If you're adding fruit, coconut or other similar addition, a secondary may be a good idea. Otherwise you're just waisting your time racking to secondary.
     
  4. Evadious

    Evadious New Member

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    Thanks guys.

    Stupid follow up question then. How do most people transfer from the kettle to the fermentor? Right now I am pouring it out into the bucket, but that won't work if I'm going to a carboy. I assume I would syphon into the carboy? In which case, do I need to change my volume target on the calculator to be kettle instead of fermentor and try to leave the break material behind in the kettle?

    Thanks
     
  5. Drewfus1

    Drewfus1 Member

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    Racking to your fermentor definitely works. If you are going to use your syphon, I'd recommend keeping your hose on the outflow side so it stays close to the top of the carboy. That way the wort will splash down as you fill and incorporate some oxygen. You should still stir, shake or use an aeration stone to incorporate more before pitching though.

    Do you use an immersion chiller? If so and you're planning to leave much of the break material behind, make sure you let the kettle settle well after pulling the chiller. I usually let it sit for 15-20 mins so the break is fairly compacted on the bottom. You may want to leave your target volume as fermentor, but up your estimated boil size a bit. I try to collect around 9 gallons pre-boil to end up with 6 gallons in the fermentor.

    I used to pour my wort into the fermentors. I put a large funnel in the top and then a big sterilized stainless kitchen sieve into that. That way you can hold back any hop debris that might make its way over the lip towards the end of the pour. This method helps to incorporate a fair bit of oxygen during the transfer. The downside is that with 6 gallon batches you need two people to safely pour and sometimes the foam created will backup to the top of the fermentor and may spill over the edges making a sticky mess.
     
  6. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    You can use a funnel to pour into a carboy, but it can be tricky so some practice with a kettle of water might be a good idea, as would a helper to hold the funnel
     
  7. Evadious

    Evadious New Member

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    Thanks. I don’t have a wort chiller yet, so I’m cooling the kettle in an ice bath in the sink.
     
  8. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    Siphon transfer for the first 80-90%. Then a funnel for the remaining wort and gunk. Cold crash to get as much gunk to drop to the bottom as possible.
     
  9. arianapham

    arianapham New Member

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  10. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I'm no pro, I have only been brewing since February, but I have made some pretty darn good beers. I have never gone to a secondary.
     
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  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I generally do for clarification but my procedure is as follows: All of my primary fermentation vessels are ported, that is, they have a spigot on them. To rack, I clean and sanitize the vessel for secondary fermentation, flush it with CO2, then use the ports to drain the primary fermentor into the secondary. Little to no contact with air because at the end when the port pulls in gas, it's pulling in the CO2 blanket from the primary fermentation. With a little care, fear of oxygen at transfer is overblown.
     
  12. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I really only use a secondary when I have a specific reason to, like I put a bunch of fruit in a beer and don't want to transfer the fruit to the keg. Or I dropped the stir bar in the primary and I need to get it out.
     
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  13. Vesparados

    Vesparados Well-Known Member

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    I am a newbie as well and use un-ported Fermonsters for primary. I siphon from the primary to a ported plastic bucket for dry hopping and cold crashing. I then bottle from the ported bucket.
     

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