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Secondary Fermentation in Bottling Bucket

Hey everyone.

Excited to begin brewing…well actually I’ve done it before a few years ago but didnt have time or space to continue, but now I do.

I recently got the “bucket system” off of NB as well as two kits to get started again (Irish Red and Karma Citra).

What I am beginning to notice, is that a lot of beers either recommend secondary fermentation or at least 2-4 weeks primary. Having only one fermenting bucket and one bottling bucket, I dont see myself being able to brew as often as I wanted to or would like to. I have done some research on carboys as well as just leaving in primary for an extended period of time. My question is this: can you use the bottling bucket as a secondary fermenter or will that cause issues when trying to bottle? Has anyone tried this?

Perhaps the solution is that I just get another fermenting bucket… has anyone tried the new wide mouth carboys they are now selling online here?

Thanks, and glad to be back at it.

PS. Lets go Bruins

I would not use the bottling bucket as a secondary. You’ll clog the spigot with sediment.
Skip secondary all together and just leave it in primary for an additional 2 weeks then cold crash for a couple days before transferring to the bottling bucket.
If you want to do more batches buy an additional bucket or big mouth plastic bubbler. :cheers:

Yes, definately get a second bucket. Then you can get a third bucket, and …

I’m not a fan of secondary fermentation. I normally do my primary in a bucket and run the beer into a keg about a week after I reach a stable gravity - or three weeks, whichever is longer. I don’t have a problem with my spigot clogging. Almost all the trub, yeast and hops settle below the spigot. Since you’re just restarting, I’m assuming you’re bottling; with sufficient time in the primary you can run directly (and gently) from your primary into your bottling bucket.

Possibly, if you don’t leave most of the trub and hops in the boil kettle, you could have enough debris in the fermenter to clog the spigot.

Agree with the above - get a second bucket and skip the secondary. For the vast majority of beers using a secondary doesn’t help in any way. If you leave it long enough in the primary, it will syphon very clear when it is time to bottle.

If you really want to do a secondary without buying more equipment, you could use your bottling bucket as the primary fermenter, rack it into the fermentation bucket when it is time to do a secondary, and then back to the bottling bucket when you want to bottle. But be aware that there does tend to be a lot of sediment in the primary and if you do this you should use an autosyphon or racking cane to transfer the beer from primary to secondary, not the spigot on the bottling bucket.

Good results for the Bruins last night :smiley:

Buckets are cheap. Even carboys are cheap. And better.

I think the need for secondary is overstated, at the homebrew level; a lot of kits recommend secondary more to help sell extra carboys. Personally, I like doing secondaries, but it’s more from that’s-the-way-I-do-it than any real belief in technical merit. I will say if I leave most of the sediment in the primary, then it’s virtually impossible to get enough sediment in the secondary to worry about bottling sediment. Dry hops are another matter.

My reason for avoiding the bottling bucket as a secondary is that those spigots tend to leak ever so slightly. It might not be a significant amount of loss, but over a couple of weeks, it will really smell bad in whatever space you keep the bucket. And once the beer is in, you can’t adjust the nut.

IMO, Skipping secondary altogether is the better option than using a bottling bucket.

I ferment in my bottling bucket without any problems. I use my autosiphon instead of the spigot just to take sucking any of the yeastcake into the keg/bottles out of the equation.

Quick tip, Lowe’s sells food grade 5 gal buckets for like $3. I have several of these for fermenting smaller batches and they work fine. I’ve done 4 gal batches in these. I have even drilled one for a spigot to use as a bottling bucket if my primary bucket is in use as a fermenter.

I have yet to experience any leaks from the spigot. Brew-On! :cheers:

I have done a secondary in a “bottle bucket” before. But the spigot is probably different than others, as there would be no chance of plugging it up - uses a 1/2" hose.

Worked fine for me as a cold crash vesel.

I don’t actually bottle beer, I keg. So I use the term bottle bucket losely. But I do rack a lot of beer/wine through a spigot, either at 1/2 " or 3/8" . Never have a problem.

[quote=“JMcK”]I think the need for secondary is overstated, at the homebrew level; a lot of kits recommend secondary more to help sell extra carboys. Personally, I like doing secondaries, but it’s more from that’s-the-way-I-do-it than any real belief in technical merit. I will say if I leave most of the sediment in the primary, then it’s virtually impossible to get enough sediment in the secondary to worry about bottling sediment. Dry hops are another matter.

My reason for avoiding the bottling bucket as a secondary is that those spigots tend to leak ever so slightly. It might not be a significant amount of loss, but over a couple of weeks, it will really smell bad in whatever space you keep the bucket. And once the beer is in, you can’t adjust the nut.

IMO, Skipping secondary altogether is the better option than using a bottling bucket.[/quote]
I agree that skipping the secondary is the better option, and I almost never use a secondary any more, but if someone wants to then good for them.

I don’t think that the instructions are there to sell carboys, but rather because they just haven’t been updated. If you go back just a few years it really was better to do a secondary. The quality of the yeast available to homebrewers has improved so much in the past 15 years that autolysis is no longer something that you need to worry about. But before good yeast was available, it really was a good practice to get the beer off the yeast quickly to prevent off flavors from decomposing yeast cells.

[quote=“rebuiltcellars”]
I don’t think that the instructions are there to sell carboys, but rather because they just haven’t been updated.[/quote]

Perhaps you’re right. I admit to being fairly cynical, especially when it comes to retail up-selling. I worked my way through college in retail…

Or you could pick up a glass secondary.

(I don’t own a glass secondary manufacturing plant. Honest.)

Thanks everyone for the tips/feedback.

Brewed the Irish Red Ale this sunday and its in primary. Fermentation seems to be rocking and rolling right along.

Feeling inspired, my buddy and I then went online and order two more fermenting buckets and 2 more kits… looking to brew a batch a week or so.

Coming up next we have the Karma Citra, then The Rye PA and finally Honey Weizen (gonna add some Apricot Extract)

If its not apparent, I am officially back/addicted to the hobby.

[quote=“BostonBrewins”]Thanks everyone for the tips/feedback.

Brewed the Irish Red Ale this sunday and its in primary. Fermentation seems to be rocking and rolling right along.

Feeling inspired, my buddy and I then went online and order two more fermenting buckets and 2 more kits… looking to brew a batch a week or so.

Coming up next we have the Karma Citra, then The Rye PA and finally Honey Weizen (gonna add some Apricot Extract)

If its not apparent, I am officially back/addicted to the hobby.[/quote]

I don’t know what it is about the NB Irish Red Ale kit, but it is one of my favorites. I don’t normally migrate towards Irish Red’s when I am out in bars etc. but the home brewedkit of theirs I love. was the 1st kit I ever made. great one to make

if you like the idea of an apricot ale, you can try adding the extract as you state above, OR I will say ND sells a separate Apricot Ale kit which is also (IMO) really good. But I will say it is more on the expensive side (~$60 for the kit)

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