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When to move

How exactly do you know when to move from primary to secondary?
What readings are you looking for?

Just bought an hydrometer today so ill be taking the readings in a couple days, maybe Saturday which it would be in the primary for a week. I know the instructions give you a guess-timate for time(1-2 weeks) but when do you know exactly.


when your gravity readings are the same 2-3 days in a row. but it’s not a bad idea to leave the beer in primary for 2-3 weeks. that gives the yeast time to “clean up”.

You can move it when fermentation is complete. You can tell this by taking hydrometer reading 3 day apart from one another. If the gravity is identical after 3 days it is probably done, and you can transfer. In my opinion AT LEAST leave it in the primary for 2 weeks before you take gravity readings

BUT, most beers don’t need to be put into a secondary. It’s easier, and arguably better to just leave it in the primary for longer. say 3-4 weeks primary, then to the keg or bottle

Edit: Edward posted while I was typing. Good advice

AND… before you ask, do your own research on secondaries and if they are needed. This seems to be major debate amongst brewers. Maybe try both and see what works best for you. Me, I believe it helps my beers clear. :lol:

I no longer secondary, preferring to primary for 2-3 weeks followed by at least 48 hours to one week of cold-crashing.

I like to use bulk age when dry hopping/spicing, oaking, or adding fruit puree. sometimes I’ll do a second fermentation (a true secondary 8) ) on my big beers, then bulk age. I like to leave my sessions in primary for 2-3 weeks. it’s all a matter of preference.

Move your beer the least amount possible. You risk less problems by leaving it alone. I rarely will use a secondary vessel for an ale, unless adding more fermentables or other additives that need to be off the yeast cake or require aging.

What exactly is cold crashing ?

And I have an idea of bulk age but what exactly is that too

[quote=“BEER4U”]What exactly is cold crashing ?

And I have an idea of bulk age but what exactly is that too[/quote]
cold crash is when you put the fermented beer in the primary or secondary vessel into a cold storage (like fridge or temp controlled freezer) to help drop the yeast out & clarify your beer. it’s real handy for kegging. bulk age is kinda like cold crashing, but at ambient temps. usually used for dry hopping, adding oak,or other flavors. some use it to let all the flavors meld before bottling.

Another reason to secondary, if you are new to brewing and now addicted, is that it can free up your primary vessel and allow you to brew the new batch quicker. It really helped me to get my pipeline going when I would primary for two weeks or until clearly done, transfer to secondary for a week or two and then bottle or keg. That way you always have a backlog of beer coming online.

Another option to transferring to a secondary to free up your fermenter is to purchase another (or 2-3) pail/carboy big enough to ferment in.

As mentioned already, both practices are acceptable. You need to decide if the time taken to clean and sanitize another vessel is worth the risks of oxidation or infection. Any clearing that would happen in a secondary/bulk aging vessel will also happen in the primary vessel. There is nothing special about the second vessel.

I’ve honestly never understood this reason for secondarying (ing). Ale pails are under $20. Extras are always good to have around. If you’re worried about brewing pipeline, harvest yeast and reuse three times and another fermenting bucket will pay for itself.

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