Would secondary hurt anything if not needed?

I am about ready to brew my next batch (2nd), an irish red ale that i substituted the muntons light extract (which was expired) for the mallard malts gold extract, just waiting on my big mouth bubbler to come in.

Question is, would it hurt anything if I do a secondary fermentation on it if the recipe directions dont call for it?? and would I need to add more yeast? Im still a newb at this, so tryin to do what I can to get it as clear looking and tasting as possible without too much extra trub in the bottles. Im also a bit impatient to try the caribou slobber thats also coming with the bubbler. Want my main fermenter free for it.

As long as you don’t go to secondary too early, you should be fine. There’s a small risk of infection or oxidation, so sanitize everything, and rack carefully. No need to add yeast. I’d say wait until at least two weeks in primary, and rack away. Three weeks is better. A week after gravity readings are stabilized is best.

I did my Oktoberfest ale at 2 weeks (4 days no bubbling at all). first actual brew, came out pretty good. I dont think I oxgenated it enough when I first put it in the fermenter, but didnt taste anything weird or funny. Ill be usin my auto siphon to rack it to a secondary (my now old original fermenting bucket). Was already planning on first ferment at 2 weeks, second another week or 2.

Oxygen PRE fermentation= good

Oxygen POST fermentation= bad

It would be absolutely fine, as long as you’re careful not to splash it around and introduce unwanted O2.
And, personal pet peeve, as long as you don’t call it a secondary fermentation. Properly done, it should be racked for ‘cold conditioning’, or ‘settling’, or ‘bright tank’, or ‘lagering’ well after all fermentation is completely finished.
And as Uber said, there will be plenty of yeast in suspension, unless you forget about it and leave it for 6 months or more.
In my opinion, needing access to your fermenter so you can get another batch started, is a perfectly legitimate reason for racking for cold conditioning. More beer=More good. :beers:

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i tried to oxygenate it before i pitched the yeast, and gently stirred it in, and didnt touch it for the 2 weeks it was fermenting. Still learning how much to do it before its too much. As I said, didnt have any off flavors or anything on the first batch, but first time with that recipe, so not exactly sure how its supposed to taste, but it was still good regardless. didnt last that long once it was carbonated.

Sorry…misread something in the threat above which lead me to believe you were racking to a bucket for secondary, which makes no sense, so I withdraw my remarks.

i will be going to a bucket for secondary, will be using my BMB as primary fermenter as secondary wont have much of a head on it, safer to see if I need to add a blow off hose.

I have been brewing since 1981, I have used a secondary all but maybe 10 times. My SOP is to secondary. Have never had an oxidation, or infection problem from using a “secondary” or “brightening” vessel. When I have gone from primary to bottling, I have 1) less clear beer, and/or more sediment in the bottles, and 2) tied up primaries. I know this has been a long standing debate, but put me down for using a secondary. No need for extra yeast.


Thanks all, just wasnt sure if usin a secondary/brightening vessel would effect anything that dont call for it. I know the caribou slobber does, but makin my slight changes to my process now as I can afford to add more stuff, and try and keep the whole thing the same for all brews, excluding ferment time per recipe.

I appreciate the input on any scale. NB site has been more help then the other sites ive been on. They were kinda rude and accusing there, just because i m new to the hobby/lifestyle of home brewing. not alot of help at all.


Thanks Loopie, a touchy subject, but one I truly believe in, along with fly sparging. Guess I’m a “old fart”, or maybe “traditionalist.”

The need for secondary, (preventing autolysis) has been pretty well debunked at home brew volumes.
The risk of racking to secondary, (oxygenation) is also clearly overstated, as evidenced by the sheer number of brewers who do secondaries without tasting significant levels of oxygenation.

Frankly, I don’t understand why racking to secondary is such a touchy subject. If you want to do it, do it. If you don’t want to, don’t. Evidence suggests you’ll get good results either way. Once fermentation is complete, transfer to secondary whenever you want, even if it’s “never” or “always”

For my money, I like to transfer when I want to harvest the yeast for repitching. I like to transfer before dry-hopping. I like to transfer when my wife says, “Let’s transfer this one.”

Ive been thinking of re-harvesting my yeast from primary, but what would I do about the hop waste and excess specialty grain granules?? obviously for a different thread, but its a more advanced step for what what im into doing now, with just starting and all…Teach me the way of the force Yoda…

More information on harvesting yeast in this topic.

I find the simple pour it into a jar method the simplest way to harvest the most yeast.

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Don’t feel alone. I still fly sparge and still secondary when I feel like it. Now days it is more to free up a fermenter than anything else. If you want to cold crash your beer it is handy to get it out of the primary to use and have a slightly smaller (in the case of carboys) fermenter to put in the fridge.

I also believe that you would be hard pressed to oxygenate your beer transferring to secondary unless you were very sloppy about it or did it purposely.

Keep everything sanitized and transfer it.

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Since I started using a controlled freezer, I enjoy the results of ferment until you have a stable reading with the hydrometer, give it another week, then drop the temp. There it sits for a week,+ then rack to my keg with gelatin, add CO2 give it a week at 32 and start to adjust the CO2 to your liking. This is my way of doing a secondary stage…. I produce some very clear brews… Sneezles61

It won’t hurt anything, but it is an extra step. Personally I avoid any steps that aren’t absolutely necessary.

I agree with homebrew4us, and also use a secondary vessel for almost every brew I make. And I also quite often rack out of primary after 4 days: not only has it never been a problem with regard to the fermentation finishing properly and completely, it has also never resulted in oxidation, infection, or any other off flavors. Trying it both ways, I hands down preferred the results I got using the secondary (particularly when transferring after day 4 or even day 3) of the initial pitching.
If you do it right, the risks are almost nil.
I started brewing in the early '70s and started using a secondary by the end of that decade, however I’ve never used anything but glass carboys as secondary vessels, so I can’t comment on the results or risks involved with using a bucket as secondary.