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Brewing a big beer, should I do a secondary?

So I brewed my first double IPA (OG 1.115) just over a month ago and just added my first dry hop addition but I read the other day that I should rack it to a secondary?

I have heard that leaving it in the primary for 2 months could create off flavors for sitting in the trub and yeast for that long but I just added my first dry hop addition yesterday so not really sure what I should do. As of right now it has been in the primary for 5 weeks, any thoughts?

Sorry, probably should have put this post in the fermentation section.

THANKS EVERYONE!!

I personally think that these big beers clearly benefit from a long secondary (I’ve been doing it that way for more than 30 years-- most especially for my IPAs-- since it is historically traditional for such brews, and very beneficial for the stronger examples). As to the dry hopping, I usually do that in the secondary and/or the dispensing keg (from which I’ll bottle directly if needed, after the beer has fully conditioned).

You’ll find however that there will be plenty of disagreement these days over whether a secondary transfer is necessary or even desirable…but the truth is that it all boils down to personal preferences, the willingness to ensure sanitation for a risk free transfer (which is not at all difficult), and how much time you’re willing to give a brew to “come together”. My own preference is to get the the beer off of the primary yeast sooner than later: there’s plenty of yeast still in suspension to finish the ferment and do it’s ‘cleanup’ work even if you elect to do the secondary. The end result (to me, anyway) is a cleaner tasting brew.
I can’t comment on whether leaving it in primary for 2 months will harm your brew or not, since I’ve never kept a brew in primary for anywhere near that long. Old school teaching would advise against it, but at the same time, many who have streamlined and simplified things by leaving it in primary for extended periods have reported no ill effects.

As always, personal experimentation yields the best answers.

I say rack it to secondary or to your keg. I’m with the poster above as in i never leave my beer in primary beyond a month. At that gravity, my experience tells me that beer will be a while before it fully conditions.

Since you already dry-hopped, let it sit for a week to 10 days, then rack to a secondary (or a keg) and age for a while.

This question raises an interesting twist on the old “to secondary or not” debate. I stopped routinely doing secondaries about five years ago, and have not witnessed any ill effects on my beers, but I rarely do high gravity brews.

But thinking about white wines, it is sometimes recommended - and I know from experience it works - that the wine is racked when fermentation is about 2/3ds done to drive it more quickly and completely to dryness. And the key point is that the wine is racked to allow the liquid to flow down the side of the vessel so that it gets increased though still gentle exposure to air. This both adds a bit of oxygen to the wine, and pushes CO2 out of suspension. I suspect it is the O2 that is helpful, with the thought being that with so much sugar to burn through, the yeast need that extra bit of O2 to replenish their numbers during the process, and as long as the O2 happens early enough, the yeast will scavenge all of it and it won’t be present long enough to cause problems.

It could be that the same could be helpful for big beers, but if so we are talking about racking within a week at most - pretty much at peak fermentation before there has been any significant settling out into a cake.

I think that the little O2 when racking wines is different. Seen the movie Bottle Shock? A little oxidation of some of the complex biochemical soup is needed to create a stable wine, white or red, and it is not so much about yeast growth. I’m not sure it is good or needed for beer, but old-school methods certainly always got a little O2. If you have a CO2 tank you can always flush the carboy before racking, but then the surface of your primary is exposed to air unless you flush that too.

Cheers!

This.

Awesome, thank you guys so much for the info, everyone on here is so informative. Looks like I am going to wait a week and then transfer to a secondary.

THANKS AGAIN!!!

The problem with doing this after dryhopping though is that you risk negating the effects of your dryhop. Introducing oxygen to your beer is the quickest way to drive off hop aroma. If you have the ability to purge your secondary of O2 with CO2 I would suggest doing that.

I personally don’t think aging is beneficial to a DIPA. I prefer to taste the hops while they have nice flavor and aroma, followed with a big malt bill to back up the IBUs.

I have an imperial hopslam 11.8% and the kegs from January just ran out. I bottled a few and will try them soon to see the difference. I did it in a similar fashion two years ago and did not like it so much.

This.[/quote]

Agreed. I seldom use a secondary, but I would in this case.

you could always dry hop again after the aging as long as you don’t mind it a bit cloudy.

This is exactly what I would do since you already dry hopped it. In the future you may want to consider aging before dry hopping.

I agree with DMTaylor and Shadetree. Since you already threw in dry hops, at least let em add their goodness for a week or so before racking.

should have skipped the dry hopping for how long you need to let this sit the hops will be gone, just dry hop again before bottling or kegging.

You are also way beyond gravity on a double IPA, I am not a style nut at all, but I doubt you are going to have a IIPA

Yep. It’s much more of a barleywine.

[quote=“tony269”]So I brewed my first double IPA (OG 1.115) just over a month ago and just added my first dry hop addition but I read the other day that I should rack it to a secondary?

I have heard that leaving it in the primary for 2 months could create off flavors for sitting in the trub and yeast for that long but I just added my first dry hop addition yesterday so not really sure what I should do. As of right now it has been in the primary for 5 weeks, any thoughts?

Sorry, probably should have put this post in the fermentation section.

THANKS EVERYONE!![/quote]

Sitting on the yeast cake for 2 or 3 months is not going to have any bad effects it just have to be carefull when racking. All the internet reading about autolysis in the homebrew world is BS.
In the professional world it can happen quicker due to the pressure and style of fermentation tanks.

This is exactly what I would do since you already dry hopped it. In the future you may want to consider aging before dry hopping.[/quote]

I agree.
In my first post I neglected to clarify the fact that depending on the type of brew, I will do a dry hopping after it has long-aged (sometimes, that means a second dry hopping).
But contrary to comments I’ve often seen with regard to a brew hazing up after dry hopping, I have to say that this is not something I’ve observed…my long aged brews still generally remain bright and clear even after the later dry hopping…including the more generously dry hopped IPA.

I have heard (can not verify) that Anchor dry hops foghorn for months. I made a barley wine that had a dry hop and due to life happenings, i wasn’t able to bottle it when I intended to. It sat on the dry hops for about 50 days. People say beer will be grassy or vegetal if you leave it on the dry hop too long but i do not taste any of that in my beer. It has a great hop nose that is very pleasant. If you are doing a double dry hop, just drop the second dry hop in let it sit for 7 days or so and go from there.

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