Questions from First Homebrew

Hey there;

So I finally made my first homebrew: the Chinook IPA. Had a great time brewing, so I wanted to ask a few questions in preparation for my second go-around:

When and how would secondary fermentation be beneficial?

Why do I have to siphon into secondary fermentation?  Wouldn’t pouring from the primary fermenter to the secondary lead to better mixing?

What temperatures are best for primary and secondary fermentation?  I was told that the best approach for the Chinook was to start cold and then move to a warmer location.  Does that hold true for most brews?

Thanks, guys.

1.There is debate whether a secondary is needed. I don’t always secondary. Sometimes I do.
2. Never splash a beer once it is fermenting or fermented. You are doing everything possible to avoid oxygen once you have begun fermentation. Oxygen leads to oxidizing of compounds in the beer leading to off, cardboard/ sherry like, flavors.
3. Temperature is dependent on yeast strains. Some yeast like it warm and some like it cold. In general cooler temperatures lead to “cleaner” flavors and warmer leads to more yeasty flavors. There are many wonderful yeast flavors out there that can hint of descriptors like citrus, banana, pepper, clove, etc. but not all yeasts are capable of making these flavors. Some make unpleasant flavors or “hot” fusels at high temperatures.


I think I did a secondary once … now about 100 batches later I have never seen any ill effects. However the once time i did it was a beer that was conditioning with some fruit, so the idea was to have it sit on the fruit purée in the secondary and off the yeast cake which made good sense. The less I need to move the beer around the better. Now it goes from the primary into the keg under co2.

It’s a fun hobby though for sure. I am a bit afraid to add up all I have spent … certainly not doing this to save money. But it’s up to you and your self discipline as to how deep down the rabbit hole you go. It makes life easier if you have a temp controlled chamber to control fermentation and then later to cold crash. I bought a small chest freezer for a couple of hundred bucks and added a 30 dollar inkbird temp controller to it and it has been awesome.

Lots of info and advice on this site as well, its been a huge help for me ( I started maybe 3 years ago I think). also check out the Brulosophy web site and podcast… they do lots of great “exbeeriments” testing many theories and long time beliefs and myths.


I haven’t secondaried (is that even a word ?) in years. The last great proponent of always doing a secondary @loopie_beer has vanished from our forum… in my mind it adds risk of oxidation with the possible benefit of clearer beer, for which I care not one whit.


I really miss @loopie_beer I hope he’s alright. I think I do get a cleaner beer with a secondary but I don’t cold crash.