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Tippsy

Using the Bottles for a Secondary?

21 posts in this topic

I just batch primed today for the first time and found it tedious, nerve-racking and messy! So the thought of later introducing a secondary into the process aswell is just daunting. Admittedly, i think using the auto-siphon caused the biggest headaches.

My question is, what are the major drawbacks of using the bottles themselves as the secondary and, a couple of weeks later, just dropping in sugar CUBES to start the carbonation? Just fill from the primary and cap 'em! The gentleman on this posting demonstrated that the beer does not foam up when cubes are added:
http://community.mrbeer.com/forum/11-basic-brewing-techniques/363767-bottle-priming-again

If I want to add flavor essence or santized zest, i could just drop some in each bottle and therefore not need to rack the beer over the additions in a secondary. Ok, the bottle might look wierd with some orange peel in the bottom but if we can tolerate a worm in your tequila bottle then what's a slice of peel.

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couldnt you just drop coopers carbonation drops (basically just rounded sugar cubes) into the bottle then siphon directly to the bottles? i do.

i dont batch prime and have no desire to. i find the carb drops work well and have only once nearly double primed but i caught it. using a bottling bucket or even a secondary fermenter just means one more avenue to infect my beer possibly.

the only troubles and headaches i have with the autosiphon happens when i stick it too far down and it sucks up trub (the protein, dead yeast crap on the bottom of the carboy).... and when siphoning something with lots of floatie crap like a pumpkin weisen. in the first case i have my wife hold the siphon constantly between the trub and the surface until the level gets near the bottem.

re the peel in the bottle... mind you im still a noob but if you do it might add more fermentable sugar to the bottle. it might throw off your priming sugars and you could get bottle bombs... not sure though.

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Something about that proposal strikes me as wonky, and I can't explain why I don't think it's a good idea other than to say I don't think it's a good idea. In other words, I just have a gut feeling that it's a bad idea, but I can't put it into words or offer a scientific explanation as to why.

But let me put it this way: If it was such a good idea, something tells me we'd have heard about it before now.

I'm actually more concerned about your disastrous experience with batch priming. What made it so difficult and messy? I've batch primed from the beginning of my brewing adventure, and I can't think of an easier way to prime. I have a bias, I admit, but to me, bottle priming seems tedious, with more opportunity for inconsistent carbonation and bottle bombs.

I'd love to have a run-down of what you did and what happened.

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The question is:
Did you transfer the beer to a bottling bucket?
Did you mix the priming sugar in the bottling bucket?
Did you have a bottling wand attached to the auto-siphon?

I'm thinking that if you did the secondary in the bottle, with those additional additives, you're gonna have a hot mess in each of the bottles.

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+1 Ive switched to batch priming and never looked back. Everything I need(siphon, bottling wand, hose, spoons,etc) for bottling/racking I keep in a large jar filled with sanitizer. When Im brewing or bottling I just pull out the jar and take off the lid and all my utensils are all ready for use. I just rinse them off before putting back into the sanitizer so as not to introduce wort or anything into the jar of sanitizer. When Im done I screw the lid back on and put it back on the shelf. Only my large paddle wont fit but everything else that will touch my beer fits in it nicely. Every month I make up a new batch of sanitizer and refill the jar. I just got tired of cleaning everything before and after each use so its worked for me.

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Hmmm....
Never considered this!
Then again, I've never batch primed either.
Not saying it wouldn't work, just saying it's "outside the box"! :lol:
Might batch prime with my Celebration Citra since it's in my Ale Pail and my bottling bucket is tied up at the moment!
My understanding of batch priming is, once you rack the beer to the bottling bucket with your siphon, the rest is pretty much easy as using your bottling wand to get it in the bottle.
Quite a few guys on here bottle with the auto siphon, I can't do it! Uncoordinated I guess! :P
I also am not understanding the mess involved unless you don't have a auto siphon clamp.

I also believe with the additives, you won't have consistent carbonation.

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"yankeedag" post=368893 said:

The question is:
Did you transfer the beer to a bottling bucket?
Did you mix the priming sugar in the bottling bucket?
Did you have a bottling wand attached to the auto-siphon?

I'm thinking that if you did the secondary in the bottle, with those additional additives, you're gonna have a hot mess in each of the bottles.

wait, you mean i'm suppost to us the wand when transferring from the primary to the bottling bucket? that would take roughly forever.

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There are several ways to transfer from the primary to a bottling bucket/slimline. One is an autosiphon, with a hose attached or a bottling wand for more control. Another is via a hose that goes from the nozzle of the primary to the bucket/slimline, and can have a bottling wand on the end also - or not.

I tried a few ways and now just go hose into the slimline, and start the flow slow so it doesn't aerate.

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Well the current trend really is that secondaries are unnecessary. I almost never do them unless their is something specific calling for them such as adding fruit to the secondary or dry hopping in secondary. Even then I am likely to just add it to the primary after vigorous fermentation stops.

One of the big benefits of using a secondary is getting more yeast and other sediment to drop out. If you were to secondary in the bottle it would still be in the beer.

As others have said I prefer to just batch prime and not do a secondary.

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"Duff" post=368917 said:

Well the current trend really is that secondaries are unnecessary.
One of the big benefits of using a secondary is getting more yeast and other sediment to drop out. If you were to secondary in the bottle it would still be in the beer.

Secondaries are unnecessary, but they can be convenient. When I don't have time to bottle, or I want a longer dry hop, I like to get the beer off the trub. And I get clearer beer that way. Just my preference.

When not kegging, I batch prime in a bottling bucket and use a simple hose and bottling wand to do that do the bottling. Racking from the carboy to the bucket, I had problems early on with the autosiphon. My basement ceiling was too low to put the carboy on the bench. Easily fixed by changing location. Second problem: hose kept coming out of the carboy on the floor. Solution: bought a longer hose. Third problem: sucking up trub. Solution: I clip (LHBS should sell the clips) the autosiphon to the neck of the carboy with the tip off the bottom. Eventually, I rest the tip on the raised part in the middle of the carboy bottom. Problems fixed. I don't hate bottling, but it is a chore. It's well-worth it to drink my own beer.
:charlie:

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"Tippsy" post=368880 said:

I just batch primed today for the first time and found it tedious, nerve-racking and messy! So the thought of later introducing a secondary into the process aswell is just daunting. Admittedly, i think using the auto-siphon caused the biggest headaches.

Since your experience with batch priming (and particularly the auto-siphon) was much different than so many brewers (myself included), it would help to know what difficulties you actually encountered. With a bit of help and a few changes in technique, I bet you'll be fine with it.

Here are my "Batch Priming 101" steps when using an LBK. Many to the steps also apply to standard 5-gallon batches.

You can buy a bottling bucket at your LHBS for not much $$. Or, get a 5-gallon food grade bucket at Lowes for $3.97. Add an "Italian spigot" ($3 at my LHBS). Snag a few feet of 3/8" tubing (35-40 cents/ft). If you really want to make bottling day easier, get a spring-loaded bottling wand (cost about $3-4).

When it's time to prime and bottle, sanitize the bucket, wand and all hoses (preferably with StarSan). Prep your priming solution by boiling a cup (2 cups for 5-gallon batch) of water in the microwave for 5 minutes. Add your calculated/measured amount (by weight is most accurate) of priming agent to the water and boil for another few minutes. Cover with a sanitized piece of foil and set it aside to cool.

Set up your LBK on the kitchen counter and place the bucket on the floor on top of something so that the top of the bucket is about 4-6" below your LBK . Put a section of 3/8" tube on the LBK spigot that’s long enough to reach to the bottom of the bucket and curl a bit. You want the beer to flow smoothly into the bucket and not splash.

As the beer flows out of the LBK, prime it by slowly pouring your calculated (sterilized by boiling and cooled) sugar solution into the stream of beer. Stop draining the LBK before you get into the trub layer. Very gently stir the beer with a sanitized spoon to get a nice, consistent distribution of the sugar. Cover the top of the bucket with sanitized foil or, if you have a lid, place it on top without pressing it down.

I like to do the next step at the dishwasher with the bottles having been sanitized and placed on the lower rack (also sanitized). Place the bucket on the counter above the open dishwasher. Attach the wand to the spigot using a 3" piece of tubing. This allows it to flex a little, but not flop around when you fill each bottle. Crack open the spigot. As you fill each bottle by pressing the wand button against the bottom of the bottle, let it get all the way full. When you withdraw the wand, you'll create just the right amount of headspace each time.


"FedoraDave" post=368891 said:

Something about that proposal strikes me as wonky, and I can't explain why I don't think it's a good idea other than to say I don't think it's a good idea. In other words, I just have a gut feeling that it's a bad idea, but I can't put it into words or offer a scientific explanation as to why.

Trust The Hat. I have the same gut feeling about what you are suggesting.

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How are you planning to airlock the filled bottles during secondary fermentation? You obviously can't cap them or you'll be asking for bottle bombs, and if you don't cover them at all you're asking for contamination....

I'm surprised you found batch priming so problematic. I just paid $9 for an extra LBK (I had the survey coupon) and a couple of $$ for a length of hose from the LHBS. Attach the hose to the spigot of the "fermenting" LBK sitting on my kitchen countertop, drop the hose into the bottom of the "bottling" LBK (sitting on a kitchen chair) so that it rests on the bottom, open the spigot and let gravity do the rest. Add the bolied and cooled priming solution while the bottling LBK is filling and "Bob's Yer Uncle".

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Many thanks for the pointers everyone.

The bottling-as-the-secondary idea just seems to cut out a lot of transfers and therefore the risks of contamination especially if the sugar can be added anytime thereafter. However you guys made valid points such as potential inconsistency and, if dry hopping for example, ending up with gunk in the bottles.

As for my auto-siphon problems, I'm certain they come from my inexperience and clumsiness:
1) at first the flowing liquid in the tubing was not solid ie there was a flow of air alongside the entire length causing bubbling as I filled the bottle. I found pinching the tubing and letting go somehow allowed the tube to "fill" with liquid and finally create a solid flow.
2) the auto-siphon would move around. The clamp idea is a good one which I'll get for next time, but in my case yelling at the wife to do something useful and hold the siphon steady worked nicely.
3) transfering the tubing between bottles left drips everywhere. I don't have a bottling wand and use a tubing valve instead and somehow (perhaps the seal in the valve is crap) there is a continuous dripping.
4) On a few occasions, I'd forget to re-sanitze my fingers before grabbing the tubing to guide it into the next bottle. Here again, the wand would probably overcome this problem.
5) (this one's embarassing) during one occasion whilst straining to see the beer level in a nearly-filled bottle and juggling with the moving auto-siphon, I turned the valve the wrong direction and the beer overflowed.

BigFloyd, I think the idea of having a spigot/tubing combo on my bottling bucket would make things a heck of a lot easier.

Oh well. I suspect the first few bottles are probably contaminated but we live and learn.

Thanks again everyone.

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Ive had some doozies and to my knowledge no infections. Or if they were infected, they ended up pretty good. Ive dripped sweat in my fermenter once, no discernible problems. I dropped a spoon in the LBK and reached ina and grabbed it only to have brewing glove fill with wort. I got rid of the gloves long ago. So along with the help waiting here, Ive come to the conclusion that beer is pretty resilient. So dont sweat it. As your techniques progress you'll limit the times you need to do anything to your wort. Therefore limiting any chance of something bad occuring.

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If you are going to use sugar cubes, IE dominos DOTs or the like, then why not just put the sugar cubes in the bottle and then just ... bottle.... Leave it in your primary until it's fermented out and then bottle...

If you use the bottles as a "secondary" and then drop in the sugar later, you are getting no less yeast or hops or crap in the bottles... In fact if you put it in there "early" like a secondary, then you'd be putting more yeast and hops and crap in the bottles, end up with more bottle tub, and also it's not done fermenting so god knows what kind of disaster that could cause, you'd somehow have to put an airlock or at least a piece of foil over every bottle to let the CO2 out, or BOOM!

If you want to bottle prime, then just do it...

I both bottle and batch prime, and I use Dominos DOTs when I bottle prime. I almost never use a secondary, the only beer I did transfer once in the last year was a huge beer that I pitched on a yeast cake and it made a enormous trub layer of a mix of new and old yeast that I didn't want to leave it on for 4 weeks.

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"Tippsy" post=369087 said:


3) transfering the tubing between bottles left drips everywhere. I don't have a bottling wand and use a tubing valve instead and somehow (perhaps the seal in the valve is crap) there is a continuous dripping.

Please do yourself a favor - set up a bottling bucket with an Italian spigot and get thyself a spring-loaded bottling wand/filler ASAP. The way you described is not only really messy, it greatly increases the risk of oxidizing your beer (which gives it a wet cardboard taste). The bottling wand fills the bottle fills from the bottom up and eliminates that problem.

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+10000!

Oh my goodness, yes, Get a bottling wand. It's probably the most useful thing you could buy.

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I don't know if anybody else caught this. But it looks like the OG is asking about doing a secondary AFTER batch priming. If that is the question, if you are going to do a secondary that comes before priming. A secondary is moving the beer to another vessel to get it off of the yeast cake as soon as primary fermentation is done. A step that is no longer necessary with today's yeast strains and modified grains.

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This was one thing I have been looking for info on.. I ordered a Premium Gold kit( yes , am a newbie) ,and have read about priming troubles come bottling day. Thanks for the guidelines! I hope my first batch will turn out ok.. :unsure:

reply was to Big Floyd's post on priming.

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"Tippsy" post=369087 said:

Many thanks for the pointers everyone.

The bottling-as-the-secondary idea just seems to cut out a lot of transfers and therefore the risks of contamination especially if the sugar can be added anytime thereafter. However you guys made valid points such as potential inconsistency and, if dry hopping for example, ending up with gunk in the bottles.

As for my auto-siphon problems, I'm certain they come from my inexperience and clumsiness:
1) at first the flowing liquid in the tubing was not solid ie there was a flow of air alongside the entire length causing bubbling as I filled the bottle. I found pinching the tubing and letting go somehow allowed the tube to "fill" with liquid and finally create a solid flow.
2) the auto-siphon would move around. The clamp idea is a good one which I'll get for next time, but in my case yelling at the wife to do something useful and hold the siphon steady worked nicely.
3) transfering the tubing between bottles left drips everywhere. I don't have a bottling wand and use a tubing valve instead and somehow (perhaps the seal in the valve is crap) there is a continuous dripping.
4) On a few occasions, I'd forget to re-sanitze my fingers before grabbing the tubing to guide it into the next bottle. Here again, the wand would probably overcome this problem.
5) (this one's embarassing) during one occasion whilst straining to see the beer level in a nearly-filled bottle and juggling with the moving auto-siphon, I turned the valve the wrong direction and the beer overflowed.

BigFloyd, I think the idea of having a spigot/tubing combo on my bottling bucket would make things a heck of a lot easier.

Oh well. I suspect the first few bottles are probably contaminated but we live and learn.

Thanks again everyone.

Tippsy, I would advise against ever doing #2 again, that could get your auto siphon broken and maybe you a headache when it gets broken! :P

A bottling wand and an auto siphon clamp are two things I really can't do without now.
Inexpensive and very functional!
As far as the air in the stream of the siphon, mine does it for a couple of minutes before the stream become solid.
Good Luck! :chug:

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I always use a secondary. I keg my beer and I want it crystal clear as not to clog the out-tube. Had that happen once never again. You would be amazed at what falls out of a beer in secondary. I generally get another inch of trub!! My beers are 3 weeks in primary. I draw the beer from above the trub in all cases. I design my beers so I net 5 gallons so I usually have 6 1/2 gallons going into primary, 6 into secondary 5 into the keg. As other have stated never heard of doing a secondary in the bottle. I do bottle it is batch priming.

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