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Is secondary fermentation necessary? Irish Red

I have the NB Irish Red in initial fermentation where the bubbling has just about come to an end. My question is, is secondary fermentation really neccesary, or can it just stay in initial for the entire time until bottling? If not, why? I have read differing schools of thought on this and don’t know if anyone has thoughts on this.

Thanks in advance

Most brewers here only do primary fermentation and skip secondary altogether. Secondary is not necessary and increases the chance of contamination and oxidation.

Thanks, that’s what I had heard. Would you leave it in for the same amount of time?

First, when do you want to drink it? Sooner rather than later works great with kegging…
Soooo, bottling will take time and mindful monitoring, you’ll produce some awesome brews…

I leave mine 3 to 4 weeks in primary

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Thanks guys, first time brewer here, all info is good info.


You are correct if you rack haphazardly and are a sloppy brewer in regards to sanitization. If not secondary has very little chance of this as the pH of the beer is lower to fight off infection and the saturation of CO2 in the beer protects you from oxidation. Just as much as secondary being a myth so is lack of nit needing secondary.

I tend to make “bigger” (high gravity) beers which like to age a while so I always secondary those. I’ll also secondary if I’m adding something like bourbon. I’ve never had an infection or oxygenation issue.

When making something lower gravity that’s done in 3 or 4 weeks, I do tend to skip the secondary.

Don’t count on the bubbling in your airlock for an indication if fermentation is complete. If you don’t have one yet do yourself a favor and get a hydrometer. A couple of weeks in primary usually does it with a normal (as in not high) gravity beer but it’s nice to be sure. If you already have one, ignore that advise.

Secondary wise, most of us skip it unless doing a long fermentation or adding fruit. Needing the primary for the next brew also comes to mind.

Back in the dark ages I always did a secondary because that is what you did. Now we know it’s not always necessary and I rarely do one.

Yes, a hydrometer is def on my list of add ins to my new kit. Seems like everyone is in agreement on this thread. People have been great, glad to have this resource.


Just add the bourbon at bottling or kegging. No need for secondary for just some additional bourbon. Bourbon soaked in oak I also add at bottling now. There’s not much additional that beer is going to get out of oak that bourbon won’t as bourbon is a much better solvent.

Good point. I’ll try that. Thanks.

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