Couple of newbie questions

It’s been about 20 years since I brewed my own beer. There wasn’t as many options back then, and I think there’s been a bunch of advancements. Kids are out of the house, except when they come back to steal my beer, so am getting back into it. I kept most of what I had, but did get rid of some of it. I recently picked up the equipment I needed on craigslist. So I’m ready to rock and roll. My main question is timing, as I have a trip planned for work out of the country and want to make sure my beer will be doing its’ thing when I 'm gone, or perhaps I should wait.

I have two options to brew as of right now. I picked up the Mosaic kit, but am concerned that might be a problem timing wise, and it calls for dry hopping. When I picked up the stuff on CL, it included an old kit of Smoked Porter (Brewers Best). I’m a bit concerned about that because the kit is 3 years old. One of the extract jugs had a small hole in the seal under the cap, so the lid was really hard to get off. Not sure what the shelf life is on malt extract. I want to brew tomorrow (Sunday).

I leave March 6 for Germany for 10 days. If I brew tomorrow, I could rack it into a secondary in a couple weeks? Then it would sit in that fermenter for another 2 - 3 weeks until I get home and settled in again.

I’m a little confused as to how you know when to rack it into a secondary.

Sounds like there’s mixed opinions on the need for secondary as well.

I would brew it tomorrow. After 2 weeks trans to secondary. I’m a proponent of secondary, especially with dry hopping. I’m a believer that as the yeast settles out it drops the oils of the dry hops with it. You should move it to secondary after fermentation is complete. People say its to big of a risk for contamination and oxidation, but I believe this is only true if you don’t pay attention to sanitation and haphazardly rack.

Leave it in secondary (actually a bright vessel as you’re not adding fermentable) until you come back. It will be fine there that long and a little aging won’t hurt. When you get back hit it with your dry hops and you’re good to go.

Thanks Josh, that will be my plan.

Other side of the coin…I’d brew it and leave it in the primary until you return, then DH it also in the primary.

That’s how I’d do it as well. Skip the secondary entirely - unless you are planning to harvest the yeast for reuse.