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TonyK

Racking to Secondary

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Another querry. Using mostly MRB extracts for brewing. Do any of you feel that racking to a secondary is worth the extra effort. I understand that this procedure may clarify the finished product a bit. But most of my batches fine with me using only the single fermenter. Once again thanks for your attention. TonyK

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Depending on the particular beer, if it's a "lighter colored" beer, yes, I tend to use a secondary to help clear it up a bit. But when it comes to porters, I do it sometimes. When it comes to stouts, I see no point. and when I do rack to a secondary, it's pretty much just to "cold crash" what I've transfered.

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I've never racked to a secondary and I've never cold crashed and I've been happy with my results so far. Maybe if I racked to a secondary and cold crashed, I'd be even happier, but I honestly don't see the need.

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I am sorry borg. This is where I regretfully disagree. I think a lot of beers do not need a transfer to secondary but I think ALL beers benefit from it.

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I found this conversation between John Palmer and Jamil Zainasheff interesting on this subject. I think that this was mentioned in another thread recently as well. Definitely worth a read or listen...

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swenocha wrote:

I found this conversation between John Palmer and Jamil Zainasheff interesting on this subject. I think that this was mentioned in another thread recently as well. Definitely worth a read or listen...

I am seriously considering the purchase of that 3rd Edition. The process is definitely evolving.

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A few months ago there was an article about this in Brew Your Own magazine. These two guys did some batches of different recipes and racked half to secondaries while leaving half on the yeast. They had several readers do the same thing. Results were nobody saw any difference in taste or clarity on 2 week fermentations. Some reporte a slight difference in 3 week fermentations but said the difference was very slight and considered insignificant.

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Here is the article that Gymrat mentioned (I think.) It might be helpful to read the entire article. In particular, I found it interesting that some of those doing the experiment did notice "meaty" or "nutty" flavors. Those flavors are sometimes associated with autolysis. But they said those flavors were hard to notice and they didn't necessarily make the beer taste worse.

In that same issue (Sept 2009) Ashton Lewis (Mr. Wizard) answered a question that pertains to the same topic. It doesn't seem to be available online. Again, reading the entire article would be helpful. If I were to dare to summarize it, he seems to say that autolysis is a real threat, but that you can safely skip the secondary fermenter if you bottle "on schedule."

Years and years ago, John Palmer told us:

I should mention that by brewing with healthy yeast in a well-prepared wort, many experienced brewers, myself included, have been able to leave a beer in the primary fermenter for several months without any evidence of autolysis. Autolysis is not inevitable, but it is lurking.


It might seem that he's recently changed his mind a little, but certainly not much. He's never been an "alarmist" about autolysis.

I rack about half my beers to a secondary. I think the beers racked to secondary have less trub in the bottle and are clearer. I would rack all my beers to the secondary if I weren't occasionally a little "lazy" and in a little bit of a hurry to drink them.

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For MrB size batches using the extracts, racking is really not a necessity. The only times that I have done it with MrB brews is when I've added fruit or honey after the primary ferementation.

If/When I cold crash I use the primary fermenter and almost always have clear beers.

I tend to rack the all grain recipes to help with clarity and to move the brew from the plastic jug to the glass carboy.

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