Primary/Secondary Confusion

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Goulaigan
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Re: Primary/Secondary Confusion

Post #11 by Goulaigan » 4 years ago

Very interesting discussion here on this topic. I have to agree with the logic and reasoning that Kombat and Waurthaug have explained here as it reflects my own experience with the subject but I find it pretty interesting to read the different thoughts on not only primary/secondary but also the different lengths of time everyone seems to employ for different steps in the fermentation process.
:popcorn:

Personally I haven't found any benefit to leaving beer in the fermentor much longer than it takes to reach terminal gravity. Everything after that (settling etc.) seems to happen either way, wether it is in primary, secondary, or bottled. Only difference I could really see happening is maybe having another mm or 2 of gunk at the bottom of the bottle, which stiffens up anyway after a few weeks in the fridge so to me is a non issue.

Any beer I have bottled and given a week or 2 to carb has cleared after 3 or 4 weeks in the fridge. No matter if its been in fermentor for 10 days or for 4 weeks. (Except maybe Hefs) I always forget to use kettle finings and don't use any clarifying agents, and brew AG BIAB.

I should also probably mention that this doesn't mean I wait 3 or 4 weeks after carbed to start drinking them, since I can't taste clarity anyway....

:drunk: :cheers:
oro
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Re: Primary/Secondary Confusion

Post #12 by oro » 4 years ago

Goulaigan wrote:Very interesting discussion here on this topic. I have to agree with the logic and reasoning that Kombat and Waurthaug have explained here as it reflects my own experience with the subject but I find it pretty interesting to read the different thoughts on not only primary/secondary but also the different lengths of time everyone seems to employ for different steps in the fermentation process.
:popcorn:

Personally I haven't found any benefit to leaving beer in the fermentor much longer than it takes to reach terminal gravity. Everything after that (settling etc.) seems to happen either way, wether it is in primary, secondary, or bottled. Only difference I could really see happening is maybe having another mm or 2 of gunk at the bottom of the bottle, which stiffens up anyway after a few weeks in the fridge so to me is a non issue.

Any beer I have bottled and given a week or 2 to carb has cleared after 3 or 4 weeks in the fridge. No matter if its been in fermentor for 10 days or for 4 weeks. (Except maybe Hefs) I always forget to use kettle finings and don't use any clarifying agents, and brew AG BIAB.

I should also probably mention that this doesn't mean I wait 3 or 4 weeks after carbed to start drinking them, since I can't taste clarity anyway....

:drunk: :cheers:


I dont even bother checking FG until I am ready to bottle, normally 3 weeks, use a secondary only if adding fruit or really long ferment - I do cold crash as well use gelatin and really like it. I BIAB brew and my wort comes out very clear from the kettle using quality voile for grain and hops. I bottle as well people cannot believe the clarity of my brew - I feel clarity reflects the time and care taken in brewing so to me it is as important as all other aspects.
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Wingeezer
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Re: Primary/Secondary Confusion

Post #13 by Wingeezer » 4 years ago

Until recently I have always used both primary and secondary carboy. I got back into beer making a couple of years ago after bad experiences in the 1970's - much better results now, maybe because of better ingredients, maybe because I am now brewing all-grain rather than extract, I don't know, but I am very happy with the beer I can now make!

I have found however that in all the books / magazines I have read recently, there seems to be a strong trend towards using just a primary fermenter, so I have my first two batches done that way about ready to crash cool. I ferment in 6.5 gallon glass carboys and then keg.

I think the main concern in the past was that leaving he beer on the yeast "cake" might create off tastes, but many people seem to say that has now been disproven and it is time to rethink!

I'll be interested to see if I stay with primary only in future, or revert to my past primary/secondary methods. Should know in a couple of weeks!

Brian.
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victor
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Re: Primary/Secondary Confusion

Post #14 by victor » 4 years ago

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Wingeezer
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Re: Primary/Secondary Confusion

Post #15 by Wingeezer » 4 years ago




Very detailed and interesting reading! I'll be interested in seeing if my experience is in line with this - although I am not doing a side by side comparison which of course is the best way to assess the results. The two beers I have underway now will be my first venture into "no secondary" and as long as the beer meets my usual expectations, I will likely continue with "primary only." I don't really need to rack in order to free up my ferment for another brew as I have at least a half dozen 6.5gal carboys.

Brian
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Warthaug
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Re: Primary/Secondary Confusion

Post #16 by Warthaug » 4 years ago

Wingeezer wrote:Until recently I have always used both primary and secondary carboy. I got back into beer making a couple of years ago after bad experiences in the 1970's - much better results now, maybe because of better ingredients, maybe because I am now brewing all-grain rather than extract, I don't know, but I am very happy with the beer I can now make!

I began brewing in the 90's and we used secondaries religiously then as well. The reason (in hindsight) is now obvious - mainly under-pitching (under pitching was the norm) and a lack of temperature control. As such, you needed the extended ageing in a secondary to get rid of those flavours.

I frequently brew beers that are 7-10 days from brew-day to kegging-day, and they generally exceed the quality of my old, long-aged beers. All because we know a lot more about proper fermentations these days...

Bryan
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Wingeezer
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Re: Primary/Secondary Confusion

Post #17 by Wingeezer » 4 years ago

Warthaug wrote:
Wingeezer wrote:Until recently I have always used both primary and secondary carboy. I got back into beer making a couple of years ago after bad experiences in the 1970's - much better results now, maybe because of better ingredients, maybe because I am now brewing all-grain rather than extract, I don't know, but I am very happy with the beer I can now make!

I began brewing in the 90's and we used secondaries religiously then as well. The reason (in hindsight) is now obvious - mainly under-pitching (under pitching was the norm) and a lack of temperature control. As such, you needed the extended ageing in a secondary to get rid of those flavours.

I frequently brew beers that are 7-10 days from brew-day to kegging-day, and they generally exceed the quality of my old, long-aged beers. All because we know a lot more about proper fermentations these days...

Bryan



So you mean you find the beer acceptable to drink after 7 days, or do you let it condition in the keg. I have been typically not drinking my beers until about 6 weeks from brewday - usually about 2wks prim/2wks sec/2 wks keg. Even if I gon to fermenting only in the primary I was still thinking to stick to a 6 week rule of thumb from brew day to drinking. Do you reckon I am wasting god drinking time?!

Brian.
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Warthaug
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Re: Primary/Secondary Confusion

Post #18 by Warthaug » 4 years ago

You can drink them at 7 days (if you do the keg-shaking thing). Bitters, pale ales, milds, etc, if pitched properly and the fermentation temperature kept in check, are good to go in 7-10 days.

Stronger beers need longer, both to finish fermenting and to clean up off flavours. But even then, unless you're doing something super-strong (triple, barley wine, imperial stout, etc) 6 weeks is likely excessive.

So yes, I would reckon you're wasting good drinking time - and in my experience, at least with bitters and pale ales, you'd already be past the peak flavour/goodness time as well.

Bryan
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Wingeezer
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Re: Primary/Secondary Confusion

Post #19 by Wingeezer » 4 years ago

Warthaug wrote:You can drink them at 7 days (if you do the keg-shaking thing). Bitters, pale ales, milds, etc, if pitched properly and the fermentation temperature kept in check, are good to go in 7-10 days.

Stronger beers need longer, both to finish fermenting and to clean up off flavours. But even then, unless you're doing something super-strong (triple, barley wine, imperial stout, etc) 6 weeks is likely excessive.

So yes, I would reckon you're wasting good drinking time - and in my experience, at least with bitters and pale ales, you'd already be past the peak flavour/goodness time as well.

Bryan



Ohhh ....... The drinking time I have wasted! I generally make UK style bitter / ESB, and had the immersion they improved with maturity up to perhaps 6 months. Seems to me I had often heard people say the best pint out of a keg was usually the last and I assumed that was a comment on the effect of aging. Could be my imagination, but I also thought I experienced that phenomenon too!

Anyway, I will do a little experimentation! ..........

Thanks, Brian.
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Warthaug
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Re: Primary/Secondary Confusion

Post #20 by Warthaug » 4 years ago

ESBs do change a lot with ageing - hop flavour and aroma fades; malts move forward, etc. So when is "best" really depends on what flavours you are shooting for and your recipe. Historically, bitters were served very fresh (sometimes at the tail end of fermentation), to maximize the hop character - and,I'm sure, the breweries liked the fast turn-around as well.

Bryan
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