Sorry, more newb questions, I wont know till I ask… I keep reading that I should use a carboy or a bubbler for secondary and not a bucket. What would be wrong with using a bucket for a secondary since the main fermentation is done?
The main reason for not using a bucket as a secondary vessel is the large surface area of the beer exposed to the air. This can increase the risk of the beer becoming oxidized. Even though an airlock may be in place the atmosphere inside the bucket will equalize with the atmosphere outside the bucket. A carboy, which should be smaller than the fermentor, will be filled up to or into the neck reducing the exposed surface area.
Or just skip doing a secondary, lots of brewers do and make good beer.
In my(and probably others) opinion, there are 4 reasons to use a secondary vessel.
- Adding fruit or other fermentables. This is maybe the only time you can really call it a ‘secondary fermenter’.
- Lagering. Or for ales, cold conditioning. I rack to a new vessel to do this. And leave it for anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months.
- I really need to get at that yeast cake to reuse it, and am not ready to bottle (maybe I don’t have enough bottles ready, maybe I don’t have the time)
- ahhh… OK I can only think of 3. Dryhopping, I do in the primary fermenter, cold crashing and gelatin, the same.
But to get back to your primary Q clag, flars answered well, as usual (you generally can trust flars). But, is there a way to decrease the ‘dead air space’? Yes, a couple:
- add some fermentables (like 1/4 cup sugar) to kick fermentation back in to generate some more CO2.
- add something to take up the excess space- a) water(only if it’s a very small volume) b) an already fermented beer- I’ve done this c) marbles or other inert substance to take up space.
- flush the bucket with CO2. If you don’t keg, it’s a little hard finding some CO2. I’m looking at paint gun cartridges, or pellet gun cartridges, or I have a nifty wine decorker which I think uses CO2. This weekend I’m doing a batch which I plan on splitting in 1/2 , each 1/2 eventually going on fruit. So I’ll have 2 batches, each 2.5G sitting on fruit in a 5G carboy. I’ll need to do something, and am not going to pay for two 3G carboys just for this batch.
Hope this longwinded post helps.
Yeah, Flars has been spot on on alot of stuff. I was plannin on doing the Caribou Slobber this weekend, and it calls for a 2-4 week secondary. Dont really want the beer sitting on the trub for a month and a half.
I was thinking of getting the 5gal big mouth bubbler just for secondaries when needed.
A good alternative to the secondary for a dark beer is leave it in the primary. My standard for Caribou Slobber, and some other beers, is to bottle after the CO2 has off gassed which will allow excess yeast and sediment to drop out. I bottle about the third to fourth week after active fermentation had begun. Sometimes five weeks if there is other stuff to do.
I went back to using Irish moss in the boil. Has reduced bottle sediment by 75% to 90%. Totally subjective eye balling.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, but there are many, more knowledgeable brewers here.
Well, got the 5gal BMB, just incase if its needed, also picked up the fast pitch yeast starter kit. Wish they still had the old stir plates, the maelstrom is a bit pricy and a bit more than what i want. I dont need to stir 5gals for anything, lol