I know a lot of people think the secondary fermenter is pointless. I’m doing the Belgian Tripel right now, which is one scheduled to take three months going by the book. Is bottle aging after the primary fermenter better than secondary fermenter aging, and if so, why? I already put it into the secondary last night, but I was thinking about putting it into bottles sooner than the two months the instructions say and then letting it bottle age longer.
I bulk aged a few lagers and a Belgian Tripel. I bottle aged a Smoked Vienna Lager. All came out well and there’s no way I could have told you which was bottle aged and which was bulk aged without already knowing. There was no discernible difference. But that’s just my experience.
I bulk age all my beer simply out if convenience. It’s easier for me to store a bunch of catbird than a bunch of bottles. I just make sure I get a clean rack to get it off the yeast cake. But that’s just me.
Edit: a bunch of carboys, not catbirds. Stupid auto correct on my phone.
Very good point that I didn’t think off. Bulk aging is more convenient… at least for me too.
Granted, I do have a few bottles that are aging. I usually keep the last two of each batch just to see how they progress with age. But that takes up minimal room.
Thanks. I too keep a few bottles of each kind I brew, more to share with someone who hasn’t tried it yet later on. It does seem like they taste better months down the road than when I start drinking them. Maybe that should tell me something.
I have a nice little spot in my brew supply closet where I can stack cases and stash carboys, so I can bulk and bottle age without too much trouble. That said, I am increasingly inclined to bottle directly after a 3 week primary.
As for long term aging, I have taken to adding a six pack to a “reserve” every time I bottle a batch. At this point I have 30 bottles/5 brews set aside and will be adding another 18 over the next 3 weeks, making a full 2 cases. I’ve discovered that brewing three weeks in a row helps me build up a non-reserve stash that lets me take off at least two weeks without dipping into the reserve, so it seems feasible some of those beers will be around for quite some time. We’ll see! Will be fun to have homebrew reserve samplers at parties and other gatherings down the road.
this whole autolysis thing makes me wonder about secondary’ing beer whether or not you plan to bulk age it or bottle age it. I mean, if I bottle age w/o a secondary, wouldn;t I be bottle aging on the same crappy yeast I was trying to get the beer off of if secondary’ing? I always wind up with a ton more yeast in the botom of my bottles if I don;t secondary. My beers carb a lot quicker, but I don’t age most of those beers. Simply talking higher gravity beers that you might plan on aging, wouldn;t it be bad to have them carbonating by and then sitting on the original yeast for all that time? essentially creating autolysis to some degree?
I dunno, that’s why I ask.