Secondary fermentor - have I ruined my beer?

Brewed the Bavarian Dunkel and Winter warmer back around thanksgiving and all went well - transfered to the secondary after 2-3 weeks with “appropriate” OG readings and have maintained at recommended temps - Dunkel at about 45 degrees and the Winter at about 65 degrees. Unfortunately, I have not yet had an opportunity to bottle either…

  1. have I ruined these two batches by keeping in the secondary for too long (off flavors, etc)?
  2. if not, should there be enough active yeast to allow for bottle conditioning?
  3. if not, is it possible to somehow use new yeast to ensure that I still get a good carbonation without negatively effecting the flavor profile of each brew?

I have not tested OG since the secondary rack but will be testing this weekend. Any thoughts/advise would be appreciated. cheers.


You’re fine. Wouldn’t have hurt to leave it on primary longer, and you can secondary for over a year if you really want to. Only recommend that for really strong beers, but you’re fine. Brewing doesn’t happen on a timer, its ready when you feel like its ready, and extra time rarely hurts.

You’ll have plenty of yeast to bottle also. If you ever do want to reyeast, just sprinkle a small amount of dry yeast in the bottling bucket. Doesn’t have to be the same strain you fermented with. For your lager, it doesn’t even have to be a lager yeast. The amount of fermentation that happens during bottle conditioning is too small to have a big impact on flavor.

Has that lager been at 45deg its whole life? A diacetly rest (raising the temperature a bit to encourage yeast to clean up diacetly) might have been a good idea. You could still try it now. Also, you’re going to want to lager it before you bottle, which means store it at close to freezing.

Just a note on terminology - OG means ORIGINAL gravity. So that only applies before fermentation starts. Otherwise, we just say SG (specific gravity). When fermentation is done, its FG (final gravity). SG is a generic term for any gravity reading, but OG and FG imply specific points in the process.

That’s excellent - thank you Nate. I have kept the Bavarian Dunkel in the garage but have not seen the fermometer read below 42 (don’t have a fridge setup for brewing yet). Great advice on the diacetly rest prior to bottling.

Yes, my spoof on the OG reference.

First time posting in the forums and glad I did - saved two batches of brew. Thanks again