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Fermenting Secondary and so on

So… when I’m reading some fermenting instructions on the beersmith app, some say 2 days in the primary, 4 days in the secondary, and so on and so on.

My question is… if the airlock is still bubbling and you still have active fermentation, do you really want to transfer into a secondary fermenter? Is a secondary fermenter really necessary? What are the benefits of transferring so many times during the fermentation phase…???

Most around here say secondary is bunk. What is often called secondary is really using a “bright tank.” If you wait until your yeast is done, then transfer, it’s a bright tank, which can lead to clearer beer, or be a good place to add flavors like oak, pepper, cocoa nibs, etc. It can also free up your primary for another beer. The same things can be done in primary, too, for a while.

Secondary fermentation suggests actually fermenting… adding fruit will kick off additional fermentation, for example.

One idea is to transfer towards the end of active fermentation. That way, the last bit of fermentation in your secondary creates co2, to prevent oxidation.

Lots of different theories and techniques… all appropriate for different situations. What are you trying to accomplish?

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Thank you for your response. I am not trying to achieve anything in particular. I was just looking at recipes and a lot of them called for a 2 step fermentation. The way I look at it is a mjultiple step fermentation is just more chances of oxidation and contamination. However, a lot of recipies call for multiple step fermentation. Ultimately, I was trying to see if there was something I was missing.

You’re right… that’s good to ask. Always think through what you’re trying to do. I tend to secondary only to dry hop or add oak, and to get clearer beer in bottles. I recently got a kegging setup, so will probably just dry hop in the keg.

Now…I have heard/read that it is best to dry hop on days 4-10 of fermentation. What benefits have you found in dry hopping after fermenation has ended?

I haven’t tried both. I’m a bit old school, and bad at figuring out how far along fermentation is, and too lazy to measure.

The old thinking was that co2 production could scrub off hop flavors, so wait until it’s done. Some of the new theories think that yeast activity does complex chemically things with some hop compounds. Also, maybe the co2 production mitigates oxidation risks. I’ve also heard that only some yeasts really have that effect on hop compounds. It’s all ripe for experimentation… There were a few threads on here in the past week on hop studies, juicy NE IPAS, etc. Lots to look at.


I would possibly say, that dry hopping during active fermentation will blow out aroma, maybe not all, but even some is too much. Sneezles61

Don’t pay attention to what a recipe says on fermentation times. Your schedule is dependant on the yeast pitch rate, fermentation temps, and wort composition. It’s ready when it’s ready. Believe it or not, beer can’t read a calendar.

I’m still not sure why beersmith is still default to say “4 days primary.” :confounded:

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Me like to use secondary fermenting. So in a brain wave. Want to add hops or. More flav. Still can do. But primary fermenting. I do leave it stand. For 10 to 12 days. Before transfer to second. But waiting to get my speidel. Conical fermentors in. Proberly will do couple of single fermenting. See how this comes out

I don’t follow the online brewing stuff. You that brew alot, know, its a guide line… There so many variables, even the slightest, will change stuff… Just saying… Sneezles61

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