Secondary, doesn't matter either way!

So the age old question, to secondary or not. I’ve read numerous posts about this and it got me thinking.
It seems that its been proven that leaving your beer on the primary yeast cake is the way to go so the yeast can clean up its own mess and make a better beer.
I still secondary, mostly for the clearing effect.
But as I was looking at my secondary last night it got me thinking. When I transfer to secondary it brings a lot of healthy yeast with it. It creates a nice clean looking yeast cake. Wouldn’t this act the same as the primary yeast cake? Wouldn’t it have the same effect? I wouldn’t think that yeast in the secondary is doing nothing at all.
I understand that adding the step for secondary risks things going wrong with your beer, but that must be the only downside.
So really, what are the downsides? Creating a new yeast cake that is still working to refine your beer cant be any better or worse than leaving it on the primary yeast cake. Am I wrong?
Is the yeast in the secondary not doing anything? It must be doing something, especially with so much still in suspension.

I think you are looking at this the wrong way. Leaving the beer in the primary doesn’t help the beer clean up better because it is on the yeast cake. The clean up happens primarily due to the yeast that is in suspension, and if you transfer to secondary at the proper time, the beer hasn’t yet reached FG and there is still a LOT of yeast in suspension. So there is no reason to skip the secondary to let the yeast clean up better. On the other hand, if you are careful with your beer not to stir up the sediment, the beer will clear pretty much as fast, and will certainly reach the same level of clarity, whether you leave it in the primary or rack it to a secondary. So with no real difference in beer quality either way, it comes down to why do the extra work of transfering?

These days, the only time I use a secondary is when I am adding fruit or similar, or I have a pressing need to use the primary for something else.

This is usually my main reason to secondary. But in other words, a finished beer will do just as good in secondary as it would staying in primary, its just a waste of time and effort for most people?
Ive had plenty of beer with a lot of yeast still in suspension, I transferred to secondary, and it “seemed” to clear up faster (could have been my imagination), and the beer always comes out tasting great.

so all in all, personal preference I gather?

Yeah, personal preference. A lot of people swear that using a secondary will clear the beer faster. I haven’t seen that, but everyone’s process and equipment is slightly different and maybe that is true for some. But it obviously works either way, so use whatever you are comfortable with.

I have done secondary and have also just left in the primary. I agree that it just seems like it wastes effort putting it into the secondary.

I may be doing a secondary soon but only because I might be brewing an IPA next that I want to dry hop :slight_smile: