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Secondary or not?!?!?!

Ok, about to brew my first batch this weekend. I sprung for the deluxe brew kit with caribou slobber. The kit came with a secondary, the beer extract kit instructions say to go to secondary, but most people on another forum say do not secondary? What am I to do?? Did northern brew sell me unneeded gear?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of going or not going to secondary? ugh!

I personally dont secondary anything. I never real saw much of a advantage to it except that some beers get better/less green with a little bit of age on them but you can just age them in the bottle or keg. You will most likely have less sediment if you secondary but again if you are good at syphoning you wont really have to worry about that.

Oh and welcome to the forum!

Edit realized I spelled Welcome wrong. lol

for various reasons i bought the smaller kit but I did spring for the extra carboy. you get a cleaner ale and it does give it time to settle in before bottling, as well as other factors. maybe a simple recipe like a cream ale you can do single; but when you have more stuff happening and more complexity it is nice to rack it off and let sit for a week or two. Clarification will make a big difference. just my 2 cents…

yeah, I wholly disagree with any perceived benefit of/need for a secondary. Just about every authority on homebrewing (Jamil, Tasty, Mosher, Palmer, etc.) has came out saying that they literally do nothing, and furthermore, the risks of oxidation, infection from transferring (while you can minimize them) far outweigh any potential benefit that could just as easily be achieved in one vessel.

This was done and did have some benefit in the earlier days of homebrewing (post Carter-legalization) because yeasts were not as stable, and there was risk of autolysis, when yeast cells actually die (as opposed to going dormant), and break down, allowing all the organic material to be released into the beer. This could produce meaty, rotten flavors that would ruin an entire batch. I had an APA place in a comp that was on the yeast for 10 weeks. It seems that most kit-makers just haven’t updated their instructions.

I think there are dozens of other ways beginners could improve their process and make cleaner tasting beer.

You won’t think of it as unnecessary gear after your first batch. You’ll have just the right amount to keep a cycle of beers fermenting. :wink:

[quote=“arborman”]Ok, about to brew my first batch this weekend. I sprung for the deluxe brew kit with caribou slobber. The kit came with a secondary, the beer extract kit instructions say to go to secondary, but most people on another forum say do not secondary? What am I to do?? Did northern brew sell me unneeded gear?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of going or not going to secondary? ugh![/quote]
Welcome! And thank you so much for bringing up the secondary debate! :roll:
JK
If you have another kit you want to get going, my advice is to go ahead and rack to a secondary to free up the larger vessel for fermentation. Most of the 4 week and 6 week beers just don’t need a secondary. If you plan to dryhop and save the yeast, racking to secondary will help keep the yeast clean. If you have a big beer that you want to bulk age, a RIS for example, moving to a secondary and aging for awhile is a good option. Do you get clearer beer, probably not. All in all, just do what you want to do. It’s not going to hurt the beer if you decide to secondary.
Good luck in your homebrewing venture this weekend!
:cheers:

[quote=“Pietro”]yeah, I wholly disagree with any perceived benefit of/need for a secondary. Just about every authority on homebrewing (Jamil, Tasty, Mosher, Palmer, etc.) has came out saying that they literally do nothing, and furthermore, the risks of oxidation, infection from transferring (while you can minimize them) far outweigh any potential benefit that could just as easily be achieved in one vessel.

This was done and did have some benefit in the earlier days of homebrewing (post Carter-legalization) because yeasts were not as stable, and there was risk of autolysis, when yeast cells actually die (as opposed to going dormant), and break down, allowing all the organic material to be released into the beer. This could produce meaty, rotten flavors that would ruin an entire batch. I had an APA place in a comp that was on the yeast for 10 weeks. It seems that most kit-makers just haven’t updated their instructions.

I think there are dozens of other ways beginners could improve their process and make cleaner tasting beer.[/quote]

+1^^^

But, on a bright note . . . . it is not “wasted” equipment. You can use it for another fermenter possibly (not sure what you have for fermenters - buckets, carboys, size, etc.) Also, some beers that need more age still need a secondary.

However, I agree, there is very little “evidence” that on average beers, secondary is needed. I just go with 3-4 week primary and keg or bottle. My beers end up crystal clear for the most part (unless it is a style that tends to be more cloudy).

To start with, I would just primary - because it is easiest and will help you get started with less to worry about. Once you get into it a little more, go ahead and try secondary a few times and see what you think. If you feel you get something out of it that is worth the extra step, then keep at it.

I completely disagree with some beers that need extended aging needing to be transferred to a second vessel.

I kept a 17% mead in the original yeast, + a second pack, + a pack of champagne, for close to 2 years. NO off flavors are perceived.

mvsawyer makes a good point. If you are ‘gearing up’, always good to have more fermenters, whether they are ale pails, bottling buckets, or carboys.

If its a 5.5 gal carboy though, you don’t even have to transfer the first batch into the carboy, just ferment the second batch right in the carboy!

+1
I secondary all of my brews. Having done it both ways, I’m pretty well convinced it produces a cleaner brew and anyway, it involves minimal extra effort or risk.

Of course (as you’ll find by the dozens of past threads in the forums covering this topic) opinions vary widely so as with most aspects of brewing experimentation is the best course to follow. The only way to know is to try it both ways yourself, see if you perceive a difference, and then proceed with future brews based on your own personal judgement.

I’m in the no secondary crowd. We did secondary on our first half dozen or so brews, and all of them came out oxidized…granted, we literally poured from one bucket to the other because we didn’t know better.

Now we know better, and still don’t secondary unless it is for a dry hop.
As a new brewer, I would suggest you don’t secondary. It’ll add another variable to your batch in case things don’t turn out well.

Cheers!

[quote=“stompwampa”]I’m in the no secondary crowd. We did secondary on our first half dozen or so brews, and all of them came out oxidized…granted, we literally poured from one bucket to the other because we didn’t know better.

Now we know better, and still don’t secondary unless it is for a dry hop.
As a new brewer, I would suggest you don’t secondary. It’ll add another variable to your batch in case things don’t turn out well.

Cheers![/quote]

If you are not in the secondary crowd, no need to move to secondary to dry hop. Just throw them right in to the primary, in a muslin bag if you want.

I actually just tried a method new to me with great results where you add the dry hops when there is still signs of active fermentation (4-5 days from pitching). This apparently drives off some of the oxygen that is in the hops themselves, but lets you keep the volatile oils you need for aromatic goodness.

I dry hop in primary just wait for the yeast to finish up first.

I don’t bother to secondary…just primary longer even if I gotta dry hop. If your bottle conditioning then secondaries slow down carbonation too. Less yeast in suspension = longer lag time.

Is this from experience? I’ve found no carbonation issues either from using a secondary or even using a secondary and cold crashing for several weeks. The amount of yeast needed to carbonate quickly in a bottle is miniscule. I’ve had no problem bottle conditioning lagers after secondary and lagering for a couple of months. Is there evidence to back up your statement?

No secondary. Dry hop in keg. Bottle from keg if needed.

I’ve had a Chocolate Stout that sat on yeast for 6 months and won first place in a pretty large competition.

Is this from experience? I’ve found no carbonation issues either from using a secondary or even using a secondary and cold crashing for several weeks. The amount of yeast needed to carbonate quickly in a bottle is miniscule. I’ve had no problem bottle conditioning lagers after secondary and lagering for a couple of months. Is there evidence to back up your statement?[/quote]

Ah man, sorry for the late response, the only evidence I have had is waiting 4 weeks to carb up an ale that was sitting in a 70F environment. Once the sugars go away the yeast fall asleep and go dormant at the bottom of the secondary. Sure some is left in suspension but I found that getting it to carb can just take more time than I want.

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