Author Topic: How to go from Primary to Secondary  (Read 13344 times)

Offline Catch-22

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How to go from Primary to Secondary
« on: November 23, 2013, 01:26:20 PM »
Good afternoon.  This is my first post here, so I will admit that I'm a newbie all around.

I just brewed my first batch today, so I have my ale in a 7.9 G Speidel fermenter for the next couple of weeks.  I had planned on trying to do a secondary, but I have a few questions.

First, should I use the siphon that came with my equipment, or will using the spigot work just as well?  I ask because it just looks like the spigot is pretty far down, and I'm worried about too much of the trub going through to the secondary.

Second, I have a 5 G glass carboy that I was going to use for my secondary, since most of the fermentation should be over at that point.  Do I need to worry about a certain amount of head room on a full 5 G batch when doing a secondary?  I have a stopper and airlock for the 5 G carboy, but I didn't know how much room I'd need on top. There's about 5.5 in the primary, but I know some of that will settle out over time, giving me close to 5 G. 

Any help for this newbie would be greatly appreciated.  Obviously I have a little time before I have to worry about this.
RIP
Blonde Ale
Porter
Vanilla Stout
Amber Ale
American PA
Dunkelweizen
Blood Orange Hefenweizen
Roll Over In The Grave Tootsie Roll Stout
Party Gyle Stout/Brown
Pliny The Elder Double IPA
Toffee Nut Brown Ale
Drinking:
Oak Barrel Bourbon Stout
Amber IPA

Offline durrettd

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Re: How to go from Primary to Secondary
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2013, 03:09:10 PM »
I use a bucket with a spigot at the bottom. Yes, you'll get a LITTLE sediment if you use the spigot, but you can avoid it when you rack to the bottling bucket or keg. If a little gets into your keg or bottles, it will settle out. You're going to get some additional sedimentation in the bottles or keg anyway.

Most participants in this forum usually say you don't need a secondary - unless: 1. you only have one fermenter and you need to free it up for your next batch, 2. you want to dry hop in the secondary and want to harvest yeast from the primary for a future batch, 3. you are convinced a secondary will lead to clearer beer, or 4. Damn! I forgot what was number 4!

Your batch will probably fit into the 5-gallon carboy. You don't need any significant headspace in the secondary, unless you want room to dry hop. If it doesn't all fit, bottle the excess with a half-teaspoon of sugar in each bottle.

If you haven't already, start devising ways to keep your fermenting beer (not the ambient air, the beer itself) in the mid-60s. Check Nighthawk's signature line for suggestions on controlling fermentation temperature.

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: How to go from Primary to Secondary
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2013, 03:13:03 PM »
Only use the spigot, if you can hook up a long piece of tubing to it so that the outlet of the tubing is at the bottom of your carboy.  Avoid splashing the beer as you transfer to the secondary.  Splashing will lead to oxygen, causing off flavors in your final product.

I like to siphon out of my primary into my secondary, but only because I don't have a spigot at the bottom of my primary buckets.

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Offline Mtnmangh

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Re: How to go from Primary to Secondary
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2013, 07:22:33 PM »
I also like to siphon for the same reason as Scott.  Avoiding any splashing  keeps oxygen out, and helps with long term stability of the finished product.  I have had beers in bottles for over 2 years that were still good.  I also use oxygen absorbing caps, which helps too.
Drinking: Belgian Golden Strong ale
              Step Up Porter
              Oktoberfest
               Brown IPA

Primary:  Step up Porter

Secondary: nada

Offline RiverBrewer

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Re: How to go from Primary to Secondary
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2013, 08:48:29 PM »
Catch-22 ......You listed a First and Second......... Third, what you need to consider is WHY do you need a secondary? Just to say you did it isn't really a qualifier. As a beginner, you need to realize, the less you dick with your beer the better the chances of success! I use secondary only for fruit beers, barley wine, and cider. Just concentrate on the first three fundamental of brewing! Sanitization, Sanitization, and Sanitization!!!!!!
« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 09:00:36 PM by RiverBrewer »
Enjoy good beer daily.....Hell is a dry town!

Offline ihikeut

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Re: How to go from Primary to Secondary
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2013, 06:05:25 AM »
The debate goes on about using a secondary. I find it depends on how long the beer is going to ferment, and weather your going to bottle or keg. The yeast book recommends only leaving the beer on the yeast cake  for a max of three weeks. When I make a lager it can take up to 8 to 10 weeks in the primary and secondary. When I keg I,m dry hopping directly in the keg, basically using it as a secondary.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 06:08:57 AM by ihikeut »

Offline Slurk

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Re: How to go from Primary to Secondary
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2013, 06:37:54 AM »
For my Pilsner/Lager type of beers I use a secondary. Cold and long fermentation without racking could give some yeast related off flavours from my experience. Since I am using a secondary for my Pilsner/Lager type of beers I noticed that yeast related off flavours are minimized. For my other beers I use in principle only a primary (if I am not dry hopping).
Ad Fundum!

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Aging: Slurk Whirled White Wheat (Wit)
Fermenting:
Next brew: Slurk Hav

Offline Catch-22

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Re: How to go from Primary to Secondary
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2013, 08:34:25 AM »
I certainly appreciate all of the replies.

Prior to attempting my first brew yesterday, I tried to read as much as possible, including the debate about whether or not to use a secondary.

The setup that I purchased came with a 5 gallon glass carboy, so I knew I could not put a 5 g batch in there without problems.  Therefore, I added a 7.9 Speidel to my stock. 

This is the main reason I thought about using a secondary because I could put 5 g into the carboy as a secondary, because the majority of the active fermentation should be over at that point.  At the same time, it would allow me to age it a little longer while freeing up the primary for my next batch.

When I'm able, I will probably get another Speidel.

But my question still remains, whether I don't use a secondary or not.  Let's just say I go right from the Speidel to my keg and do not utilize a secondary.  Should I siphon or use the spigot at the bottom of the Speidel?
RIP
Blonde Ale
Porter
Vanilla Stout
Amber Ale
American PA
Dunkelweizen
Blood Orange Hefenweizen
Roll Over In The Grave Tootsie Roll Stout
Party Gyle Stout/Brown
Pliny The Elder Double IPA
Toffee Nut Brown Ale
Drinking:
Oak Barrel Bourbon Stout
Amber IPA

Offline RiverBrewer

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Re: How to go from Primary to Secondary
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2013, 09:37:06 AM »
Cold crash to drop the yeast if you can do this. It will also helps settle the trub pile. The spigot may be ok if their is room between the spigot and the trub. The auto siphon available at the LHBS's, is a must have tool for the home brewer, and my personal preference. The spigot is used on the cold side of brewing where most contamination enters the system, so I wouldn't use it unless you know it is sanitized.  I sanitize my auto siphon by spraying the individual components with Star San and then pumping it through the unit and hose.
My vote is no on a secondary fermentation.
Enjoy good beer daily.....Hell is a dry town!

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: How to go from Primary to Secondary
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2013, 09:47:21 AM »
If it's an ale, and it's not over 1.070 OG or so, then I'd say keep it in primary for three weeks or so, and then package it. 

Lagers need lagering time, and high-gravity ales benefit from cold conditioning time, but "standard" ales typically do not need to be put in secondary just for clarity's sake.  You can achieve the same clarity by leaving in primary for longer, and then when the beer is stored at 45F for serving, the last remaining gunk will settle. 

Yeast strain does affect some beers, however, such as Wyeast 1007 in an altbier.  It's a non-flocculent yeast that can benefit from cold storage just like a lager. 

Offline Slurk

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Re: How to go from Primary to Secondary
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2013, 11:07:28 AM »
Yeast strain does affect some beers, however, such as Wyeast 1007 in an altbier.  It's a non-flocculent yeast that can benefit from cold storage just like a lager.

Thanks Maltlicker! You gave me a new idea.
R, Slurk
Ad Fundum!

Ready to drink: Slurk Fjellbrygg, Slurk Foeyn Ale, Slurk Agurk (Cucumber Wit), Slurk Belgian Blonde, Slurk Eng (Raspberry Wit), Slurk Hav (Seaweed Wit)
Aging: Slurk Whirled White Wheat (Wit)
Fermenting:
Next brew: Slurk Hav

Offline Mtnmangh

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Re: How to go from Primary to Secondary
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2013, 06:00:55 PM »
The setup that I purchased came with a 5 gallon glass carboy, so I knew I could not put a 5 g batch in there without problems.  Therefore, I added a 7.9 Speidel to my stock. 

I regularly use a 5 g carboy for my 5.5 gallon batches.  They barely fit, but they do fit.  You want as little headspace in your secondary (if you choose to even do it.)  This is again to prevent oxidation.  All I can say is I always have, and probably always will mostly for harvesting sake and because it is just habit now.

But my question still remains, whether I don't use a secondary or not.  Let's just say I go right from the Speidel to my keg and do not utilize a secondary.  Should I siphon or use the spigot at the bottom of the Speidel?
[/quote]

Auto-Siphons are pretty cheap $15ish and worth ever penny.
Drinking: Belgian Golden Strong ale
              Step Up Porter
              Oktoberfest
               Brown IPA

Primary:  Step up Porter

Secondary: nada

Offline grathan

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Re: How to go from Primary to Secondary
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2013, 05:51:59 PM »
The speidel's spigot is a weird diameter to fit a hose onto. Might need a hose clamp.


I don't secondary ferment. Airlock activity done I give a couple more days then into a keg it goes.


 I use the siphon, no special reason why I don't use the spigot. actually I think I use the spigot on top with a blow off tube and the solid cap on the bottom because this gives a lower profile to fit in the small chest freezer I have.


Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: How to go from Primary to Secondary
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2013, 06:33:43 PM »
Fellow homebrewing coworker of mine has spigots on his plastic carboys. Says they work great. I siphon between glass carboys.  Whatever works.
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Offline BILLY BREW

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Re: How to go from Primary to Secondary
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2013, 06:53:27 AM »
Morning all. Don't know if I am late to this conversation, but wanted to chime in.
I always go to secondary and never use plastic. Consequently I siphon with tubing and hot water starter. As for the size of the vessel, I usually do 6 gal batches, but the story is all the same, you will be able to fit most all of the wort into the secondary, and what little you may lose is your sacrifice to the brew gods.
I never let my initial sit on trub longer than 7 days, as I have found there is little benifit and the beer will clarify better in the secondary when it is pulled a bit early. I suspect it is because the little yeasties do a little more work to clear out and settle what suspensions are left behind.
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