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Damehasajojajo

Secondary vs. Bottle Conditioning

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Hello Everyone,

Back with another new guy question!

I'm planning on making the Christmas 2004 Ale in time for December. After reading the reviews and various posts for the recipe, many people recommend letting it sit for at least a couple of months so that the flavors have time to come together. In doing so, some say that they have (1) transferred to a secondary for an extended period while others say they (2) fermented in a primary as usual, and then gave an extended amount of time during bottle conditioning.

My question is: are there differences between allowing more time in a secondary vs. in the bottle? I understand that time is a beer's best friend (one of them, anyway), but once primary fermentation has ceased, is there a difference between spending the time in a secondary vs. in a bottle?

My apologies if this question has been asked a million times before, and thanks again for your help!

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Yet another valid question.
For a lager, extended periods of time at the cool temps is a good thing as the yeast normally work a lot slower.
For an ale, I'd say about a week in the secondary to allow the yeast to follow up on what they were doing AND allow "bits" to fall out.
When I go to a secondary, I normally do that to cold crash the beer. That helps drop out some goobies I don't want. I give it anywhere between 3~7 days, then bottle.
After bottling, I normally TRY to give it a month before I sacrifice them.
And, instead of Diablogging as I have, I'd say, brew, ferment (14~21 days) cold crash in secondary (3~7)days, store at room temp 60 days.
I'll shaddap now.

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for the most part I use a secondary for three main reason
1) I'm lagering so I need a long fermentation schedule
2) I'm brewing a high ABV ale that need extra time to hit the FG
3) I'm dry hopping or adding fruit or racking over oak (coming soon)

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Thanks to you both for the quick reply!

From what you have said, I think I am gathering the idea that a secondary fermenter is beneficial in allowing the fermentation process to continue off of the trub when an extended fermentation process is necessary (eg. fermenting at lager temps).

That being said, allow me to refine my question a bit: generally speaking, once the wort has arrived at its FG, is there any taste benefit to leaving the wort in a secondary for an extended period vs letting it age in the bottle?

I think I understand that clarity can be improved by additional time in a secondary (especially when combined with a cold crash), but is there a specific taste/quality benefit that can be achieved in the secondary (past FG) that cannot be achieved in bottle conditioning, or are they both equally beneficial once FG has been achieved?

Maybe the answer depends upon the kind of beer being made?

Hope this isn't too pointed a question - I'm still at the stage where I'm not even sure what questions to ask!

Best to all...

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another valid question.
There are some beers that "clearing up" isn't going to help. Like some wheat beers. They tend to stay cloudy.
And, as you have noted, the secondary allows for the yeast to continue to clean up while not setting on the Trub.
For Ales, see my other answer, for lagers, again see my other answer.
And maybe, I just don't know what answer you're looking for.

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Sorry to Hijack but have a question on this myself if it is ok..


Ramping up to start my Russian Imperial Stout that I will hopefully start Monday. I will be using 1 cup of brown sugar (not sure if that is needed for my question but it is out there now).

My question is would this be a brew that would benefit from moving to a secondary after 1 week? and if so for how long? If so I will get me a slim line.

Thanks and sorry again for the hijack.

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yankeedag wrote:

...as you have noted, the secondary allows for the yeast to continue to clean up while not setting on the Trub...


How long can the brew "safely" stay in the secondary prior to bottling?

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yankeedag wrote:

another valid question.
There are some beers that "clearing up" isn't going to help. Like some wheat beers. They tend to stay cloudy.
And, as you have noted, the secondary allows for the yeast to continue to clean up while not setting on the Trub.
For Ales, see my other answer, for lagers, again see my other answer.
And maybe, I just don't know what answer you're looking for.

For those of you, like me, who are extremely appreciative of Yankeedag's advice, and are amazed at his ability to simplify complex tasks - take a look at his most recent youtube video.

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packerduf wrote:

yankeedag wrote:

another valid question.
There are some beers that "clearing up" isn't going to help. Like some wheat beers. They tend to stay cloudy.
And, as you have noted, the secondary allows for the yeast to continue to clean up while not setting on the Trub.
For Ales, see my other answer, for lagers, again see my other answer.
And maybe, I just don't know what answer you're looking for.

For those of you, like me, who are extremely appreciative of Yankeedag's advice, and are amazed at his ability to simplify complex tasks - take a look at his most recent youtube video.

I have wondered what Fonzi was up to.

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packerduf wrote:

yankeedag wrote:

another valid question.
There are some beers that "clearing up" isn't going to help. Like some wheat beers. They tend to stay cloudy.
And, as you have noted, the secondary allows for the yeast to continue to clean up while not setting on the Trub.
For Ales, see my other answer, for lagers, again see my other answer.
And maybe, I just don't know what answer you're looking for.

For those of you, like me, who are extremely appreciative of Yankeedag's advice, and are amazed at his ability to simplify complex tasks - take a look at his most recent youtube video.

:huh:
Like me, do you ever dream that stuff and not write it down immediately?
:S

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For me letting a batch ferment at 70F for 21 days has always produced a slightly carbonated flat beer that tasted like beer. My question is what if any flavor differences does letting the fermenting beer sit on top of the trub for that long make?

So the next batch I brew up I'm planning on letting it ferment at 70F for 7 days and then transferring it to a second sanitized Mr. Beer fermenter for the remaining 14 days to see if I can detect any difference in the taste of the finished beer.

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One thing to be aware of if you use a secondary for a long period of time is that enough yeast can settle out of solution to make it necessary to add more yeast at bottling time. Most of what I've read suggests adding yeast if lagering at cold temps for over two months. Warmer temps however, will enable more and more rapid settling. Just something to bear in mind. One popular author (Papazian) recommends adding several grains of dry yeast to each bottle if long secondaries are a concern.

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when brewing high gravity brews I would definitely go with the secondary. Also with the larger sized batches for me anything over 3 gals

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The use of extended fermentation in a secondary versus extended time conditioning was the original question. There were a good number of thoughts on both options but none addressed the original question about Christmas 2004 beer. The need in this brew is time for the the spice flavors to mature and be infused throughout the beer. This need is best served through a long conditioning period.

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Giving your beer time to ferment in a secondary allows any remaining trub to settle out in the bottom of the secondary, as opposed to settling out at the bottom of your bottles.

Most any beer will improve with time as long as you maintain the correct temperature range for the type of yeast you pitched.

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Screwy Brewer wrote:

Giving your beer time to ferment in a secondary allows any remaining trub to settle out in the bottom of the secondary, as opposed to settling out at the bottom of your bottles.

Most any beer will improve with time as long as you maintain the correct temperature range for the type of yeast you pitched.

really good advice you screwy brewer

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