Author Topic: Have you changed your secondary approach  (Read 23996 times)

Offline SleepySamSlim

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Re: Have you changed your secondary approach
« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2009, 10:00:41 PM »
""Apparently you're not up to the task of a back and forth discussion on this topic.  You're instead dead set on taking it off topic and making it personal. 

Do whatever you want.  I sincerely hope you enjoy your hundred extra steps, I'm sure you're beer is delicious.""


Don't make me pull this thread over ... because dammit I'll send MaltLicker back there to straighten things out !   
Some people tell you the old walkin' blues ain't bad
Worst old feelin' that I've ever had ...
-Robert Johnson

Offline Wildrover

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Re: Have you changed your secondary approach
« Reply #31 on: June 24, 2009, 02:14:15 PM »
I'm the one turning this into an argument and personal?  Oh brother  ::)

Well for what its worth, yes actually my beer is delicious as evidenced by the compliments I get and the fact they have done well in competition.  But the biggest indicator is that I enjoy the beer I make.  I also enjoy all the steps in the process however many there may be.  I also hope you enjoy the beer you make however few steps you employ. 

If your process works for you then great, run with it.  My process works for me and until I have a good reason to change it I'll run what I do.   

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Have you changed your secondary approach
« Reply #32 on: June 29, 2009, 03:09:31 PM »
Sheesh
I go on vacation and miss a nice discussion like this. Guess Ill quit going on vacation!  8)

Disclaimer: The opinions and ideas expressed in this posting are my own, If you subscribe to them, so be it, If not :  :P

 ;D

I still don't buy it.  I think the positive effects of using a secondary are mostly psychological.  I think it's also a case of... I read this somewhere once and it's what I do, so I'm going to keep doing it.
No There are very clear reasons to go to a secondary which are not psychological and there are clear reasons not to.
1. The addition of misc spices, fruits, and hops that you don't want the yeast to accost.
2. Big beers that need bulk conditioning. My personal rule of thumb is anything bigger than 1.060 should go to secondary for bulk conditioning.
3. Autolysis, It is not a myth, you may want to do more reading. Or speak to  professional brewers like dhaenerbrewer, AndrewQld, bonjour and hear their thoughts.
4. Adding fining agents like Gelatin
When not to go to secondary.
1. Small/Normal/Ordinary beers (IMO: under 1.050) after a sufficient amount of time has lapsed after primary fermentation has completed to clear the beer. Your call
2. Cloudy beers like wheat beers often do not need a secondary.
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Let's take these one by one-
1.  Bulk conditioning/Mellowing.  You can bulk condition in the primary.  Autolysis (at least in the first month) has been proven a myth.
No you can not bulk condition in in the primary. Bulk conditioning requires several months and I personally have bulk conditioned for over a year. Lagers take a minimum of 3 months and I usually do a tirtiary for that!
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2.  Clarity.  Gravity takes affect both in the secondary vessel and in the primary vessel.  Leaving the beer in primary longer will produce similar results.
Not sure which one you are talking about here Clarity or Gravity so I will address them both.
Clarity: Yes after a sufficient amount of time the beer will clear. However if you leave the beer on the primary yeast cake there will be more live yeast cells still in suspension because the beer is sitting on more live yeast cells. If you feel this is untrue, think about bottle conditioning your beer. You don't see the yeast, but there is some in there!
Gravity: the only thing I have to say about this, is your beer should be finished before you transfer it to secondary. If not then you are transferring to early. Trust your Hydrometer. It really works!
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Downsides as I see them-
1.  More work
2.  Another place to pick up contamination
3.  You're picking up more oxygen and increasing or hastening oxidation
4.  Loss of beer!
5.  A lot of times this is done too soon, you're pulling your beer off of the yeast before it's done working
1. Your hobby not mine. IMO: Your making beer how bad can it be!
2. Cleanliness is godliness, Yes! However, The PH and the alcohol content at this stage in your beer's life are not very conducive to bacteria growth.
3. O Come on! your kidding right? It takes ALOT to oxidate a batch. I have not succeed yet to do it. I once kegged a batch and forgot to purge before I started shaking the keg for carbonation. There was a good 6" of air on top of that batch and I still did not notice any off flavors.
4. Compensate like most of us do. Add an additional 1/2G and you wont have anything to worry about.
5. Trust the Hydrometer. 2 readings over 3 days. If no change, Transfer.
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Also Jamil Z and many top homebrewers practice and advocate a no secondary process for most beers.  Obviously there are times that a secondary is useful or required, but it's my belief that those times are few and far between.
I don't claim to know more than or less than anyone, I have presented clear facts as I believe them to be true. Take it how you like, or not at all.

The fact is this: There are no Hard Fast Rules. All you can do is read what others do and derive your own processes from that. It is your hobby do as you like.
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Break free from the shackles of secondaries!
Ya right!

Cheers
Preston
« Last Edit: June 29, 2009, 03:13:10 PM by UselessBrewing »
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Have you changed your secondary approach
« Reply #33 on: June 29, 2009, 05:24:56 PM »
Good post Wildrover,
Lately I have not been using a secondary.  I had a string of infections, so I've been going overkill trying to minimize new ones.  Without a doubt infections can occur while siphoning, either from contaminated equipment or air containing bacteria laden dust.
It all depends on what I'm making and the audience.  If the S.G. is under 1.040 and I don't plan to share it with anyone who I want to impress, I'll go two to four weeks in the primary (plastic bucket) then into the keg.
If I'm making anything more potent I tend to rack it into another bucket, or a glass if I think it will need to sit around for a while.
The only problem I run into when I don't use a secondary for clarification is excessive wind I attribute to yeasties eating sugars in my belly.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Have you changed your secondary approach
« Reply #34 on: June 30, 2009, 05:26:26 AM »
The only problem I run into when I don't use a secondary for clarification is excessive wind I attribute to yeasties eating sugars in my belly.

I will put that one down as a positive effect for secondary. Excessive Wind! SWMBO calls it differently and can hear it across the house over all the other noise/ruckus going on in the house. Bionic hearing I tell you! Seriously!

Cheers
Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline stadelman

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Re: Have you changed your secondary approach
« Reply #35 on: June 30, 2009, 03:16:20 PM »
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No There are very clear reasons to go to a secondary which are not psychological and there are clear reasons not to.
Agreed there are some reasons to go to secondary.

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Autolysis, It is not a myth, you may want to do more reading. Or speak to  professional brewers like dhaenerbrewer, AndrewQld, bonjour and hear their thoughts.
What I said was autolysis shouldn't be an issue in the first month.  I didn't deny the existence of autolysis.  Even if autolysis is a big issue, which I doubt, moving it to secondary won't help significantly, because- 1.  There is yeast in supension and 2.  There is going to be a thin layer of yeast on the bottom of the secondary.  Whether it's sitting on 1/16th of an inch or two miles, it's going to be roughly the same amount of surface area that is in contact with the beer.

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No you can not bulk condition in in the primary. Bulk conditioning requires several months and I personally have bulk conditioned for over a year. Lagers take a minimum of 3 months and I usually do a tirtiary for that!
Are you seriously saying that the beer doesn't bulk condition while it's in the primary?  Or, is that a joke?  As long as the beer is being stored in bulk, it's conditioning in bulk.  Unless you've got the ability to stop time, the beer is going to condition.  Again, I wouldn't tell you to leave a lager on the yeast cake for 3 months, there are clearly reasons to use a secondary fermenter.  Also, primary fermentation and secondary fermentation processes are occurring in tandem.  The beer doesn't say hey, I'm in the secondary now, I'm going to start secondary fermentation.  On a side note, during the Basic Brewing/BYO collaboration experiment, one tester left their beer in the primary for months with no perceived off taste.

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Gravity: the only thing I have to say about this, is your beer should be finished before you transfer it to secondary. If not then you are transferring to early. Trust your Hydrometer. It really works!
I'm talking about the kind of gravity that keeps you from floating away into space.  Hopefully that's still working where you're at.

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1. Your hobby not mine. IMO: Your making beer how bad can it be!
I'll tell myself that the next time I'm scrubbing out my brew kettle.  Hey, maybe I'll dirty it up again for no reason or cause a boil over so I can have more fun- how bad can it be??

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3. O Come on! your kidding right? It takes ALOT to oxidate a batch. I have not succeed yet to do it. I once kegged a batch and forgot to purge before I started shaking the keg for carbonation. There was a good 6" of air on top of that batch and I still did not notice any off flavors.
Sweet!  I can disregard everything I've read or heard about oxidation because this one time UselessBrewing shook up a keg with oxygen in it and he said it tasted good.  By the way, when I made the list of downsides of using a secondary, I didn't preface each one with "This would be the absolute worst thing in the world."

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4. Compensate like most of us do. Add an additional 1/2G and you wont have anything to worry about.
Here's a news bulletin... if you make more beer and waste some of it, you're still wasting some of it.  Again, I didn't say the world is going to end.

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The fact is this: There are no Hard Fast Rules. All you can do is read what others do and derive your own processes from that. It is your hobby do as you like.
Thanks for the permission to do as I like.  Sweet

Offline tommiwommi

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Re: Have you changed your secondary approach
« Reply #36 on: July 01, 2009, 08:43:57 PM »
I like doing all the steps I do while making my own suds, They taste great and I enjoy doing it,
  This thread is like arguing about how we put our socks on, Everyone talked about how they like to pull them on (and why), And I guess we comfortably walk around all day with no problems. Now them flip flops are wierd ::)

Offline SleepySamSlim

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Re: Have you changed your secondary approach
« Reply #37 on: July 01, 2009, 10:57:17 PM »
Well actually .... I wear socks during primary fermentation and flip-flops during secondary. Is that going to be a problem ?

You should all be happy I don't do a tertiary ....
Some people tell you the old walkin' blues ain't bad
Worst old feelin' that I've ever had ...
-Robert Johnson

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Have you changed your secondary approach
« Reply #38 on: July 02, 2009, 07:10:31 AM »
Stadelman
Snide Comments are not necessary! We are all friends here. We are here to help each other learn this great software, and make better beer of course! If you want me to respond to you, don't try to slam me because that is not productive. I did not slam you, I merely attempted to answer your questions. Ask a question, like What do you mean by that, or whats your take on that. It's about perspective, Yours is different than mine. I went back through some of your other posts in an attempt to get a feel for what kind of brewer you are and you obviously have a grasp on brewing. So I would hope to see more posts from you. Remember, none of this is a personal attack on you or your brewing methods and methodology.

Cheers
Preston
« Last Edit: July 02, 2009, 07:21:22 AM by UselessBrewing »
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Offline tommiwommi

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Re: Have you changed your secondary approach
« Reply #39 on: July 02, 2009, 06:43:28 PM »
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flip-flops during secondary
......Awesome!!! I thought I was the only one man ;)

FastWilly

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Re: Have you changed your secondary approach
« Reply #40 on: July 11, 2009, 03:57:17 PM »
After many years of using a glass secondary I grew tired of the bother and somewhat apprehensively tried the single plastic fermentor approach.  After several batches of different styles, I can make the following objective comments and observations:

 (1) Clarity has not been affected, whether I use a fining agent (i.e.: Polyclar) or not.  And it's certainly easier to add the finings to a plastic vessel.

 (2) Oxidation does not seem to be an issue.  I say "seem" because I tend to fine tune or change each batch, so it's possible that increased oxidation has occurred making subtle changes to the taste.  I am very sensitive to this and have sent back many a stale beer at the pub.  It does not seem to be an issue so far, as each batch has turned out fine with no perceived defects.

 (3) In all cases I limited the time in plastic to two weeks.

And now some comments.  I would hesitate to condition beer in plastic much longer than two weeks or so due to oxidation concerns.  But until I try it, I can't be certain.  It makes sense to keep your temperature at the lower end of that recommended for your yeast to minimize oxidation and autolysis concerns.  Assuming clarification has not been an issue in your glass secondary, it shouldn't be an issue when using a single plastic fermentor. This assumes your beer is sound. Clarification is a physical (gravity) process that proceeds the same in either vessel.  On the other hand if your technique is faulty and you need finings, they are much easier to use in a plastic vessel.  And lastly, it's much easier to dry hop, which I usually do, in the plastic vessel.

So overall, my experience has been guardedly positive.  I intend to split a batch with a blind taste test to see what the differences are.  I'd suggest anyone with lingering concerns over this issue to do the same. Keep an open mind - even old dogs can learn new tricks.



Offline Wildrover

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Re: Have you changed your secondary approach
« Reply #41 on: July 11, 2009, 10:02:47 PM »
Stadelman gets some credit for keeping an otherwise slow board alive with some energy.  I'm not so sure I completely dig his vibe but kudos for keeping a thread alive as long as you have.  I went on vacation myself thinking this thread would be a memory by the time I got back and low and behold, it's still here!  This board doesn't often get that.  Anyway, to further the conversation I found the following post on another brewing board.  I hope I'm not breaking any sort of message board etiquette by posting it here but it seems to fit as this seems to be a pretty universal debate on pretty much every brewing board I've looked at.  Why its a debate is beyond me as just about all but one person has said, you should do what works for you, but I digress.  The following is a summary from what appears to be a knowledgeable brewer on why he does a secondary:

Originally Posted by Texlaw
Oh, boy. Here comes this fun again. There are a few reasons why "secondary fermenter" is not a misnomer. For many brewers, some fermentation does occur in the secondary.

First, fermentation does not always complete in the primary. Racking beer to the secodnary rouses the yeast and often results in further attenuation. Getting those last few points out can be very important if you are bottling. Most bottle bombs are not the result of overpriming, in a sense, but of failing to reach full attentuation before priming. Even if you are kegging'>kegging and want the clearest beer you can get, that little bit of fermentation in the secondary will help you along.

Second, some beer styles (or recipes) call for a second fermentation by adding more fermentables. In those cases, the brewer usually wants to rack off the old trub before adding those fermentables.

Finally, the practice of an extended primary fermentation, followed by immediate packaging, has only recently become common. Back before a homebrewer could reliably get excellent quality yeast, you wanted to get your beer off the inital trub as soon as possible or risk nasty consequences (e.g., autolysis). Often, that meant racking after fermentation had slowed but not completed, usually within the first several days after pitching. Fermentation clearly continued and completed in the secondary. Because many brewers who have been around for a good while don't like to fix things that ain't broke, they still follow that practice.

I still advise and use a secondary, even though I have high confidence in today's yeasts. I find [racking to a secondary] makes my brewing more consistant and, frankly, better. I also leave beer in the primary for at least 10 days after visible yeast activity begins, so that there is plenty of time for the yeast to both have its party and clean up, afterwards. I've tried a couple batches where I just leave the beer in the primary for three to four weeks and then kegging'>kegging straight out, and I was slightly less happy with the results, both in the beer and in the perceived convenience (i.e., I did not see any extra convenience, as it was a greater hassle keeping trub out of the keg). On the other hand, I know many brewers who go straight from the primary to the package (or bottling bucket) with great results. Do what suits you.

Just as an aside, there is virtually no risk of introducing contamination when racking to the secondary, so long as you practice proper sanitation. You have a finished beer, there, still with quite a bit of yeast suspended within it. That is not a happy place for intruders to find refuge. You do, however, need to consider oxidation, but that also is not a problem with proper practice (e.g., avoid splashing, use a properly sized vessel). If you can purge your secondary with CO2, do that. If not, the CO2 that comes out of solution when you rack should provide plenty of protection.

As another aside, comparing homebrewing to industry brewing is a poor analogy, unless you have analgous equipment and practices. For those homebrewers with conical fermenters and who very quickly repitch slurry, the secondary might be a true bright tank. For the rest of us, not so much.


Now for the rest of you, if you secondary or primary in bare feet, flip flops or regular old tennis shoes, so long as you dig the scent coming from down yonder, run with it (no pun intended)

Offline SleepySamSlim

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Re: Have you changed your secondary approach
« Reply #42 on: July 11, 2009, 10:37:11 PM »
Nice post Wildrover .... and yes I've thinking this thread needed to be shot-gunned for a mercy killing.

But as they say - you say TomAto and I say Tomato - both taste great on a salad (or a burger)

With the wide range of Ales out there, I think its totally brain-dead if you never go to secondary or if you always secondary. The bottom line is to question -test and evolve.

My original question was, do I need to secondary for exactly 2 weeks ?  Where did that come from ? And I've noticed that after 7 - 8 days there is a ton of sediment at the bottom of the carboy. I had planned to bottle at 7-8 days but a small family emergency popped up and the brew sat for another week. So next batch I'll only go 7 days --- and I will try a direct primary to bottle.

Ok ..... I'm turning the lights out .....
Some people tell you the old walkin' blues ain't bad
Worst old feelin' that I've ever had ...
-Robert Johnson

 

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