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How long to leave in primary

How long can I safely leave my beer in a fermentation bucket? I’m going to start a beer that recommends 4 weeks (2 primary, 2 secondary) but I think I want to let this one sit 6 weeks to clear up a little more. Can I leave it in a 6.5 gallon bucket primary for 6 weeks at about 64 degrees? Or will leaving it that long in a large primary risk oxidation? I know I COULD rack to a 5 gallon secondary but not sure I want to unless I absolutely have to

Well it sounds like you want to bulk age. I’d rack it at the 2 or 3 weeks and age it in a carboy or keg for the rest. What kind of beer is it?

It’s a yuengling lager clone but I’m using an ale yeast

I’m pro ‘secondary’ but 6 weeks in a primary is pushing it IMHO. How are you going to lager it?

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Once primary is done… You can do what ever you want… Be mindful, Oxygen will make almost any brew suck…
Me? Push with CO no matter what…


Six weeks in the primary is not an issue at all. I’ve left beers longer when my kegs are full. Safer sitting there than getting transferred needlessly. It will be fine. Just make sure your airlock doesn’t dry out.

I agree with @dannyboy58 I used to let all of my beers sit in primary for 4-6 weeks. Would love to hear how this beer turns out!

I’ve never done it that long out of fear, honestly. My fear is that letting it sit on all that trub and dead yeast for so long, never know if it can pick up flavors. Probably safe, but always a fear of mine. That’s why I try to do a transfer after about 2, leaving the gunk behind. More gunk will drop out in the secondary. If I plan to have my secondary for more than 3 weeks, I usually move it and cold crash it, then keg. I know it’s a lot…

My brew from last W/E has been silent now… It’s at room temp down in the brew/tap room since yesterday… I’ll hook up gas to it and get samples tomorrow… If it’s within a point or two from what I expect it to be at… I’ll rack into the keg then… Use 40 PSI’s to seat the lid and then I have options…
Leave at room temp… Or throw them into the lager fridge… Or just cold crash, quick carb and imbibe…
Since I have brews on tap… I’ll lager until one kicks…

I’ve opined on this before, but I don’t see any point in using a secondary. Others disagree. I’m sure 6 weeks in primary is fine, but I also don’t see any great benefit of leaving it that long. Why not stay with the recommended 4 weeks, but just do it all in the primary?


I guess my thought was that it might be more clear after 6 weeks than it would be after 4. But maybe not?

This will only be my 3rd beer but yuengling is my favorite so I guess I’m just trying to get the best result I can

Time can indeed be beneficial to a clear finished beer but process is more important. You should be able to get a clear ale in under 4 weeks if you follow good process. I’ll say extract beers are harder to clear but there are extract brewers who will likely disagree.

As to process…Use a fining agent like Irish moss or whirlfloc in the last few minutes of your boil. Chill quickly to drop out the hot and cold break, then whirlpool to keep most of the trub in your kettle as you siphon off to the fermenter.
The last part is less important to me but some brewers feel otherwise. After active fermentation begins to slow down let the temperature of your beer rise for a D rest. Then prior to packaging cold crash to as close to freezing as you can get for a day or 2. Rack carefully beginning high and ending low but avoiding the trub in the bottom of the fermenter. if you’re kegging the cold crash is less important as you’ll do that in the keg but doing it before can keep some trub and yeast out of your keg.

A week or so at cold temperatures in the bottle or keg and your beer should be clear.


Believe it or not a light lager is one of the harder beers to brew. Get it brewed and cold crash for a week then bottle. You can age some bottles to see the difference. What are you doing for water? Light beer you need very soft water

It clears in the bottle or keg better than it clears in the fermenter. I wouldn’t waste anytime sitting on a fermenter of finished beer an extra 2 weeks. This being an ale and not a lager you’re not really going to benefit from lagering IMO.
Unless you are exceptional with your brewing practices.

[quote=“squeegeethree, post:14, topic:28796, full:true”]
This being an ale and not a lager you’re not really going to benefit from lagering IMO.[/quote]
I disagree with this in terms of clarity. Lagering, or cold storage, will assist in clearing up any beer. Whether an ale or a lager. Especially if you’re trying to make a lager or pseudo-lager.


i secondary mostly now as well. clearing is yeast driven and time will indeed clear all things. I’d rather clear it in the bottle after fermentation is complete. So i can ferment something else. If you have a flocculant yeast I don’t think you will be able to tell the difference after a few weeks in the bottle between a 4 and 6 week in the fermenter beer.

Wasn’t that something out of Carlie Pappazin(?) book… “All brews will eventually clear”? See, that’s why I live up north… the cold will clear it up! :joy:

@sneezles61 no guaranties on Northern cold with this week’s weather news.

“Siberia, one of the world’s coldest places in winter, just reached 100 degrees (F) this year before Dallas or Houston did.”

OH crap… :flushed:

You are correct. Talking to some professional brewers, they all say how impressive bud light is. Not talking about taste preferences, they just say it’s one of the hardest beers to make, and make consistently. A light lager, decent abv, mass produced. It really opened my eyes

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