Back to Shopping at

No secondary this time

This is only the fourth extract batch I have made and the previous three I have racked into a secondary. My question is how long do I leave in the carboy before I bottle? When using a secondary I would leave in the primary for a week secondary for two and bottle for three before drinking. Would three weeks be to long before bottling?

I normally leave my beers in primary for 3 weeks, no secondary (yet). Then I leave them in the bottle for 2 weeks before refrigerating for a few days … good Luck. Cheers!

+1…3 weeks primary…2 weeks bottle.

I do 2 weeks and keg

I have a Saison going on 10 weeks in the primary. No other reason than haven’t done anything with it. The other 5 gallons is gone. So it’s time.


3 weeks is fine. Could probably be done sooner, but at three there is no doubt and no reason for taking gravity readings. Still lots of viable yeast in suspension to condition in the bottle.

Could be some exceptions with more complicated fermentations, but for the most part I find 3 weeks ideal.

What is the consensus on going to a secondary fermenter? I’ve seen a fair number of posts (mainly from experienced brewers) advocating primary fermenter only. Is it personal preference or is there benefit to primary only? On a recent thread it was suggested that the instruction kits, that indicate primary and secondary fermenters, are out of date. Is primary-only fermentation a growing trend?

Is it safe to say that a good rule-of-thumb is that most beers can be primary fermenter only? What type of beer and/or length of fermentation would cause someone to lean toward using a secondary fermenter?

Primary only vs. Primary plus Secondary is something that everyone really have to decide for themselves. There are pros and cons for both camps, and if you look around you’ll see some pretty heated discussions, and a few “Dum***s” comments.
When I started out, I moved everything into a secondary, usually after a week, because that was how it was done. Now, it depends, but I find myself leaving most in the primary for 3 weeks, then directly to the bottling bucket.
The exceptions for me are:

  1. If I need/want to use that yeast cake. I’ve been doing more and more back-to-back, or back-to-back-to-back brewing months where I start with a low OG, move to a middle OG, and finish with a high OG, using the same yeast. I normally would prefer to harvest that yeast after 2 weeks, and if I feel the beer is not ready to bottle, I’ll stick it in a secondary for a couple weeks.
  2. Fruit additions- For me, so far, it’s been easier to do it in a secondary. Dryhopping I now do in the primary after the 1st week.
  3. Long term aging/conditioning, especially lagering. These I transfer.
    If I do or don’t secondary, I always cold crash and give it a dose of gelatin to settle out cold haze.
    This is what works for me, at this stage in my brewing career. Change is good, especially as I learn more. Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better… :cheers:

I will bulk age some Belgians in a secondary for a month or longer for some of the more subtle flavors to come through. This is usually after four to five weeks in primary. Beyond that I no longer use a secondary. A long primary has negated any of the benefits.

If I’m going to secondary I do it in the keg

I only bother with a secondary if I’m adding fruit or if I plan on long-term aging and I don’t have a keg available. As for when to transfer, I wait for it to be done, which depending on the yeast and the temperature, could be as short as 1-2 weeks, but is usually 3-4 weeks.

If I was to do a secondary, I would want to transfer while before the beer had reached FG, maybe a few points before at least. That way you are sure there is plenty of yeast still in suspension to finish the job. You don’t want to do anything that might cause it to stall before the end.

I am old school and for years would never think of not using a secondary. Now I rarely do unless I am long term bulk aging, adding fruit or dry hopping or just need the fermenter back to do another batch.

Three weeks for a middle of the road gravity beer is no problem. If you have a lot of trub in the bottom just have a container handy to catch some of it before transferring to your keg or bottling bucket. I just kegged one yesterday and instead used one of those potato chip bag clips on the racking cane to hold it up from the gunk in the bottom of the carboy.

+1 for not secondary.
I don’t bother with it for most brews. Partially laziness, but mostly because it’s really not needed. It also gives that much more opportunity for infection, for oxidation, and for accidents.
I leave my beers in primary for 3 weeks. I check on them for the first few days to make sure there is stuff going on and that I don’t need to replace my airlock with blowoff, then forget about it for 2 more weeks. After 2.5 or so, I’ll pop the top for the first time since brew day, check the gravity. I’ll then seal it back up, and after a full 3 weeks I’ll check again. Presuming it’s the same, I’ll then bottle, and leave for another 2 - 3 weeks for carbing.
I will secondary for bulk aging, like a sour I recently did, that spent nearly a year in a secondary. I’m planning on an imperial stout at some point soon, and I think I’ll split some off for bourbon aging in secondary.

A Secondary Fermentation isn’t really that. Fermentation in most beers is done in primary. Secondary is simply bulk aging.

Reasons to use a secondary:
-Dry Hopping (though some do it in primary)
-Adding secondary fermentables, such as fruit
-Long-term aging of a big bear, such as Imperials of Barleywines

Reasons not to secondary:
-Less risk of contamination
-Less risk of oxidization
-Fewer variables to control
-Frees up a secondary vessel as a primary to make more beer! :cheers:

All that said, I have not done a secondary for a long time. Gave up on them after our 4th batch probably. I have an Oktoberfest lagering right now that is in a secondary vessel - that’s the only thing that’s been transferred to a secondary vessel.

Back to Shopping at