Secondary fermenting and bottling

In an attempt to have an Irish Red Ale ready for St. Patty’s, I have over-brewed my equipment. Now I don’t have enough secondary fermenters to handle all the beer I’ve brewed.
My question is, what are the consequences of leaving beer in the primary fermenter longer than 2 weeks (I would have a secondary ready in 3 weeks). Also, what are the consequences of bottling after only two weeks in the secondary fermenter (in fact, what is the difference between time spent in the secondary and time spent in the bottle…I understand that it’s becoming carbonated, but I also understand that the beer continues to develop in the bottle).

The two beers that will need to be moved to secondary fermenters are an Irish Red Ale and a Belgian Tripel. I moved an American Amber (phat tyre) to the secondary fermenter the same day I brewed the Tripel. I don’t know if any of that information will make a differecne in the answers.

Thanks!

Irish Red doesn’t need a secondary and leaving it in the primary on the yeast cake until you’re ready to bottle will likely improve the beer, too. The Tripel might benefit from some time in secondary - move it once you’ve hit final gravity + 7-10 days.

I would leave the Red on primary for 2 or 3 weeks and bottle

[quote=“brewhatcher”]In an attempt to have an Irish Red Ale ready for St. Patty’s, I have over-brewed my equipment. Now I don’t have enough secondary fermenters to handle all the beer I’ve brewed.
My question is, what are the consequences of leaving beer in the primary fermenter longer than 2 weeks (I would have a secondary ready in 3 weeks). Also, what are the consequences of bottling after only two weeks in the secondary fermenter (in fact, what is the difference between time spent in the secondary and time spent in the bottle…I understand that it’s becoming carbonated, but I also understand that the beer continues to develop in the bottle).

The two beers that will need to be moved to secondary fermenters are an Irish Red Ale and a Belgian Tripel. I moved an American Amber (phat tyre) to the secondary fermenter the same day I brewed the Tripel. I don’t know if any of that information will make a differecne in the answers.

Thanks![/quote]

Consequences of leaving beer in primary for more than 2 weeks: Nothing bad, possible benefits since the yeast can consume some of the off-flavors they made early on. The only worry with leaving yeast on the trub is autolysis (yeast dying), but with healthy yeast you’re safe for at least 4 weeks (probably much longer).

Difference between secondary and bottles: Not a whole lot. Either way, they’re conditioning in glass. Honestly, the only time I even use a secondary is when I’m lagering, dry-hopping, or using some other flavor-goodness item (cacao nibs?). Unless you have a specific reason for bulk-aging, bottle-conditioning is a great way to go if you can keep yourself from drinking the beer while it’s green :wink:

i got 2 questions…

  1. how do i post my own question instead of replying to someone elses question to ask my question?

  2. i brewed for my first time about a week ago and the directions that the ingredients kit came with said let the brew ferment in the primary for about 4 days or 48 hours after the co2 bubbles stop. then add in the priming sugar into the bottling bucket. since it had no directions after that i figured the final step was to bottle it, so i did. NOW THE BIG QUESTIONS IS… did i f**k up? b/c i read some of the forums and some people let it ferment for 2 weeks in the primary where as my directions were let it do its thing in the bottle for 2 weeks.

[quote=“2thumbzUP”]i got 2 questions…

  1. how do i post my own question instead of replying to someone elses question to ask my question?
    [/quote]
    Click the New Topic button.

[quote=“2thumbzUP”]
2. i brewed for my first time about a week ago and the directions that the ingredients kit came with said let the brew ferment in the primary for about 4 days or 48 hours after the co2 bubbles stop. then add in the priming sugar into the bottling bucket. since it had no directions after that i figured the final step was to bottle it, so i did. NOW THE BIG QUESTIONS IS… did i f**k up? b/c i read some of the forums and some people let it ferment for 2 weeks in the primary where as my directions were let it do its thing in the bottle for 2 weeks.[/quote]
Yes, bottle after you’ve added the priming sugar. Did you bottle after 4 days or 4 days after you stopped seeing bubbles? 4 days, your beer probably wasn’t finished fermenting and could lead to bottle bombs. The two weeks in bottles probably refers to how long it will take to carbonate. I usually wait at least three before I crack one.

[quote=“2thumbzUP”]i got 2 questions…

  1. how do i post my own question instead of replying to someone elses question to ask my question?

  2. i brewed for my first time about a week ago and the directions that the ingredients kit came with said let the brew ferment in the primary for about 4 days or 48 hours after the co2 bubbles stop. then add in the priming sugar into the bottling bucket. since it had no directions after that i figured the final step was to bottle it, so i did. NOW THE BIG QUESTIONS IS… did i f**k up? b/c i read some of the forums and some people let it ferment for 2 weeks in the primary where as my directions were let it do its thing in the bottle for 2 weeks.[/quote]

Wow, those are some poor instructions. What kit (store) is this from?

I would add that 2 weeks is a bare minimum time in the bottle for carbonation to happen. More likely 3-4 weeks.

But, if you did a really short fermentation time, and didn’t take hydrometer readings to make sure the beer was done, you may have bottle bombs on hand. You may want to go ahead and start sampling them in 2 weeks.

Also, you may want to store them in a large tote. Just in case some explode the glass/liquid will be contained.

And, when you bottle your next batch, fill one soda bottle. Squeeze the O2 out and screw the cap back on. The bottle will expand as CO2 is formed. No wondering what is happening inside the glass bottles.

Do a good job with your initial brew straining, trub should be minimized. Secondary is way overrated from my experience. I used to be a big believer in it now rarely do it. Let it sit. I don’t keep checking beer either for gravity. And the notion of autolysis is just that. Yeast help clean up your beer so letting it sit on the cake for a month or two is only going to help. Now, you may want that period in 50 F rather than 70 F at some point.