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Secondary fermentation

This is my first time. I’m trying to make the Cream Ale. The recipe doesn’t require a secondary fermentation other than in the bottles.

Would it be beneficial or a waste of time to go through a secondary fermentation process in another carboy?

This would add another two weeks to the fermentation process over and above the fermentation in the bottles…

Lots of folks believe secondary fermentation for an ale is a waste of time. I usually do it because I keep my kegs full and it allows me to add gelatin and do some conditioning in the carboy.

For you… I’d just make sure the beer’s done in the primary and bottle it up.

Secondary fermentation is misnomer. When you rack from the primary fermentation vessel to another vessel, you are racking to a secondary. If any fermentation ocurrs in the secondary vessel the racking was to early for almost all recipes. Fermentation should be allowed to complete in the primary.
A secondary vessel can be used for some extra clearing of the wort, but is usually for flavor and aroma additions.

I basically never bother with racking. The main exception is if I’ve got something that needs to age for a truly long time - a couple months at least. In that case I’ll transfer it to a carboy in order to get it out of the bucket.

I just don’t really see the point. I do know of people who swear they get clearer beer by racking. But my friends who rack often express envy at how clear my beer is, so I’ve never personally felt the need. Certainly not enough to make me feel motivated to go through with the extra hassle.

[quote=“flars”]Secondary fermentation is misnomer. When you rack from the primary fermentation vessel to another vessel, you are racking to a secondary. If any fermentation ocurrs in the secondary vessel the racking was to early for almost all recipes. Fermentation should be allowed to complete in the primary.
A secondary vessel can be used for some extra clearing of the wort, but is usually for flavor and aroma additions.[/quote]
Yeah I like the term 'Secondary Conditioning ’ much better. Maybe if we all start saying that then it will take. After all, isn’t that how “LOL” caught on? :mrgreen:

[quote=“James Rausch”]
Yeah I like the term 'Secondary Conditioning ’ much better. Maybe if we all start saying that then it will take. After all, isn’t that how “LOL” caught on? :mrgreen: [/quote]

Get rid of “secondary” all together. Bulk aging/conditioning. Which can be done without transferring :wink: .

[quote=“Nighthawk”][quote=“James Rausch”]
Yeah I like the term 'Secondary Conditioning ’ much better. Maybe if we all start saying that then it will take. After all, isn’t that how “LOL” caught on? :mrgreen: [/quote]

Get rid of “secondary” all together. Bulk aging/conditioning. Which can be done without transferring :wink: .[/quote]
Point well taken! Except that sometimes I do like to transfer to a second container for whatever reason.
Now as a point of semantics, transferring to a keg after primary fermentation is complete, can’t that be considered a ‘secondary conditioning’ transfer? :lol: (you don’t have to answer, I was just being silly)

Kegs can be dual purpose items. Bulk aging and serving. The great thing is both are done at the same time!

i have a few questions about doing a secondary in keg.

  1. i’m assuming it wouldn’t need an air lock since fermentation should be complete. would i just vent it with the relief valve or would that even be necessary?

  2. also does the secondary have to be the same temp as the primary? i only have room for two carboys in my chest freezer. if the temp of the secondary doesn’t matter i could just use the chest freezer for the primary.

  3. if i do the secondary in a keg and the temp doesn’t matter could i cold crash before racking to the secondary so not to have rack a third time?

i’ve only done two batches. both 10 gallons. the first one sierra madre which turned out drinkable but lacking the bite that store bought sierra nevada has. the second is a black ipa that is currently in secondary. i would like to brew a batch every two to three weeks but if the secondary has to be the same temp as the primary i would have to figure out how to maintain the temp.

The term is “secondary fermenter” which is used for clarifing and flavor maturing without being in contact with the yeast waste from the fermentation. I find a secondary fermenter to be extra work. I rack the beer for bottling out of the primary fermenter after about 4 weeks which is sufficient time for clarity. I then bottle condition with corn sugar and CBC-1 yeast for 2+ weeks. Bottle conditioning is secondary fermentation! Big beers bottled this way can last for many years.

i have a few questions about doing a secondary in keg.

  1. i’m assuming it wouldn’t need an air lock since fermentation should be complete. would i just vent it with the relief valve or would that even be necessary?

  2. also does the secondary have to be the same temp as the primary? i only have room for two carboys in my chest freezer. if the temp of the secondary doesn’t matter i could just use the chest freezer for the primary.

  3. if i do the secondary in a keg and the temp doesn’t matter could i cold crash before racking to the secondary so not to have rack a third time?

i’ve only done two batches. both 10 gallons. the first one sierra madre which turned out drinkable but lacking the bite that store bought sierra nevada has. the second is a black ipa that is currently in secondary. i would like to brew a batch every two to three weeks but if the secondary has to be the same temp as the primary i would have to figure out how to maintain the temp.[/quote]

No air lock necessary. Fermentation is over and kegs are rated for 150psi. The cold crash is to get stuff to drop out faster. You don’t have to transfer a third time, just throw out the first pour. Don’t get the beer too warm, but keeping it room temp, 75*F will be ok.

[quote=“mvsawyer”]…just throw out the first pour.[/quote]Blasphemy! Lots of quality B vitamins in that glass and your wife will appreciate the warmer sheets, too. :wink:

[quote=“mvsawyer”]
No air lock necessary. Fermentation is over and kegs are rated for 150psi. The cold crash is to get stuff to drop out faster. You don’t have to transfer a third time, just throw out the first pour. Don’t get the beer too warm, but keeping it room temp, 75*F will be ok.[/quote]

thanks. in my mind i thought it would be ok but i just needed conformation. :cheers:

I usually don’t condone alcohol abuse…what am I saying? Yes I do! But I never thought about the warm sheets…

I usually don’t condone alcohol abuse…what am I saying? Yes I do! But I never thought about the warm sheets…[/quote]
what are these warm sheets you speak of?

Farting from drinking the yeast, im assuming it’s gonna produce co2 in your in your gut.

Warm like a dutch oven. :stuck_out_tongue:

But how do you kiss her good night with the gasmask on? :mrgreen: Cheers

Ok, after 70+ batches using secondary, I have successfully (?) kegged two beers with an extended stay in primary followed by a week-long cold crash and then straight to keg: Cream Ale and American Wheat.

I didn’t think it possible. But, I gave it a shot because there are those amongst us who swear by it (for lower gravity beers?). And, after 3 days of force carbing they both tasted great tonight !!

There was admittedly some level of discomfort, as I racked to the keg with ALL KINDS OF STUFF IN THE BOTTOM OF THE CARBOY. Thankfully, the cold crash settled most of it and I think hardly any made it into the keg.

I’ll post back in the morning, if the lack of secondary led to any digestive tract issues, which might have been my number one worry about this… :smiley:

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