Looking for advice on carboy time

I brewed a Honey Porter kit. It was in the primary for 10 days. With the same hydrometer reading on a three day spread at the end. I transferred to the secondary last Saturday. My plan is after some resting time in the secondary. I am going to move it to the fridge to cold crash it for a bit and then keg. Everything I have read on cold crashing, I only see positives in it. My questions are. How long in the secondary before I cold crash and how long should I cold crash for? Of course the instructions say 1 week in the primary and 1 week in the secondary. I know those are just a suggestions.
Any advice you folks can give would be great.

need to know what your reasoning is for needing to cold crash, to answer the question?

I cold crash all of my beers as a final step prior to kegging. It’s optional, to be sure…but I like having clean beer from the first pour (and the extra bit of cold aging while it’s crashing before kegging offers a chance at a bit more beneficial cold aging before starting to serve it).

I’ll usually let the cold crashing stage go for a week or 2 (though it certainly never technically takes that long). Since I pretty much always have some homebrew on hand to enjoy, there’s never a rush to get it into the keg. The extra time always also pretty much guarantees perfectly bright beer if I decide to bottle some from the keg.

So like many other aspects of the hobby, it’s mostly a matter of personal preference in the end, and, of course, how much of a hurry you are in.
There’s really no right way or wrong way if the end result satisfies you.

[size=85]edit: minor typo correction[/size]

i thought you may be a novice brewer, but it sounds like you are more of an experienced brewer. i leave my beers in the primary for three weeks to clear and then bottle.

My question isn’t why the cold crash, rather what were you looking to accomplish in the secondary? If it’s to get a clearer product, then cold crashing is what you want to do. Crash it for about 1 week, and then package when it is convenient.
I would have kept it in the primary for 2 weeks, then crash it in that for another week, but what’s done is done. Your beer ought to be just fine.

Transfering to secondary, cold crashing, lagering, fining, filtering - these are all techniques people use to get clearer, cleaner tasting beer. They can all work, but you certainly don’t need to do all of them. Try different things and figure out what gives you the combination of beer you want and the amount of effort that you feel is worth it.

I use to do secondary followed by a couple days of cold crash, and that worked well for me, but I found that once my brew day process was under control simply leaving it in primary for the total time and then lagering in a keg worked even better, but took less effort.

Cold crashing will initially drop out yeast and sediment (and proteins, etc.).

Longer (4+ week) extended cold storage will eventually start to drop out polyphenols, including tannins. This is the main benefit of true ‘lagering’. Absence of tannins will create a ‘cleaner’ tasting product.

To the earlier points, I would focus more on developing a solid primary fermentation schedule that works for you. For me, I like to start most ales in the low/mid sixties, raising after 4 days, to finish at 70-72 for another week or a few days after stable FG is reached. For lagers, I start around 50-52 for a week, then raise to 60 for another week, then 65 for another week or so, then rack off yeast and cold crash. I am also not a believer in transferring ales off the yeast unless you are planning to dry hop or do a fermentation with a new microbe.

I don’t brew many lagers, and while they do get better with extended cold storage, I haven’t noticed an overly significant difference (though it has been there - they have improved, noticeably but marginally) in my from tasting of my lagers after primary fermentation and after cold storage.

In any event, for your beer, cold crashing it certainly cannot hurt it, and it will most likely improve it, if for no other reason, that you won’t taste any yeast when serving. :cheers:

Quick background: I brewed 20-30 batches of beer as an extract brewer. Than my daughter was born and had a lot of medical issues so there just wasn’t the time or money to brew. After a 6 year break from brewing. I was eating breakfast on a Saturday. Looked at my wife and said “I’m brewing beer tomorrow”. I went to the local brew shop and picked up an IPA kit and brewed the next day. I love it as much as I did 6 years ago and so I am going to continue brewing. I have all the equipment and remember most of what to do. One problem is somehow all of my brewing notes are no where to be found. So the short answer. I have brewed many gallons of beer but it is like being a 1st timer all over again.

I am transferring to the secondary for two reasons really. #1 I have a very hectic life and I can’t always deal with my beer when I want to. I have read if you leave it in the primary for too long you can ruin the beer. I have never heard of a time limit in the secondary, within reason of course. #2 I want good clarity when I pour a pint.

Cold crashing is new to me. I did it with my last brew (IPA) because the hops would not sink to the bottom for me. I did some searching and found one way to get the hops to drop out is cold crash. I did some more researching on cold crashing and found it also helps with clarity.

My IPA has been in the keg for a couple of weeks and I feel it is getting better with age. I want to accomplish the same thing with this honey porter but don’t want it half gone when it starts getting really good.
I put the secondary in the fridge last night and will leave it there for a week or two. As long as I have IPA still in the keg I’m not in a huge hurry to transfer the porter.

Good for you, jumping back in. I started brewing about a year before my first was born, and things slowed down but I never let it totally stop me. You have to take some time for yourself too.

Just so you know, brewing wisdom and what is recommended as the “best practices” for homebrewing changes over time. Partially this is due to new or better ingredients or equipment being available, and partially it is due to the experience of many homebrewers who test and challenge the conventional wisdom. The issue you mentioned about leaving it too long in the primary touches on all of those.

Back in the day, the yeast available to home brewers wasn’t of the best quality, and it would sometimes autolyse relatively quickly, leading to off flavors in the beer. These days, the yeast is better. Plus, a bunch of brewers have discovered that on a homebrewer production scale, the yeast will go much longer without risk of autolysis than is the problem for big commercial batches - which is where most of the conventional wisdom originates, as they’ve spent a lot of time and money on brewing research.

So a lot of homebrewers (myself included) now skip the secondary and just leave the beer in primary for 3-4 weeks. It would probably take a couple of months in primary before you might run into problems.