Secondary Fermentation

I successfully completed primary fermentation at exactly the 2 week period that was recommended for the Irish Red Kit. After that I filtered the beer into the secondary fermenter which it has been fermenting in for three weeks on Sunday. It is not quite at the clarity I want yet so I plan on leaving it in there for 4 weeks and bottling it this weekend to let it condition. Is this to long to wait and is the beer ruined now since it has been three weeks, or I am still good with the time frame I am working with?

Your beer won’t be ruined by the long secondary. An infection will usually show up as an oily pellicle spreading over the surface. I would suggest not following NBs instructions so closely on primary and secondary times for your next brew. Three weeks in the primary will usually be enough time for a low or moderate specific gravity beer to finish and clear. My typical primary time is three weeks in the primary. Five to seven more days additional primary time if dry hopping. I siphon directly from the primary to the bottling bucket.

Not using a secondary saves some work and the risk, with the additional step, of introducing and infection or oxidizing the beer. I will take my first specific gravity reading about 12 to 14 days after active fermentation had begun. This is also the first taste and check of how much CO2 and particulates are suspended in solution. CO2 in solution will suspend excess yeast and other particles. I’ll take a second specific gravity reading about day 18. This reading will usually confirm final gravity has been reached and the beer is ready for bottling if the sample is clear. I’m in no hurry to bottle though. I bottle when it best fits my schedule. Two, three, or four more weeks in the primary will not cause a problem with the beer.

How did you filter your beer? Usually filtering equipment is an unusual step for the home brewer.

I didn’t secondary with my Irish Red. Left it in primary for a month and then used gelatin. It’s crystal clear now. Are you cold crashing? It may start looking clear now, but once you chill it down it will probably form some chill haze. I don’t really see the benefit to using a secondary unless you’re dry hopping or adding oak chips or something similar. Even then, you can still do that in the primary.

If you want it super clear and have the means to do so, cold crash it for a few days and then get some unflavored gelatin and use that to clear it. I think you’ll be pretty impressed.

You filtered going into secondary? How did you do it? I’d be more worried about oxidizing the beer by filtering than the length of a secondary (which you don’t need anyway).

stupid question, can I use a 6.5 gallon carboy for secondary fermentation even though the recipe is for 5 gallons?

You can use a 6.5 gallon carboy for secondary. There will be a lot of head space for oxygen witch could lead to problems though. So it’s not recommended.