You Don’t Need a Secondary Fermenter

glass-carboy

glass carboy

As you know, my system, One Pot Brewing, has one vessel for everything: mash, boil, ferment, bottle. When it comes to fermenting, here’s what most homebrewers do. After boiling and cooling, they put the beer into a “primary fermenter” for about a week, probably a plastic bucket. Then, they “rack” the beer into another vessel, a “secondary” fermenter, usually a glass carboy, which allows the beer to finish fermenting and to settle (clear). This involves purchasing the carboy, purchasing a siphoning device, tubing, and sanitizing them every time you use them. Already a pain in my ass. Not to mention wasting beer and introducing oxygen into your beer (and potentially infecting your beer). I hated using a siphon.

Unless you are making a huge, hoppy barley wine, or a scotch ale sitting on bourbon oak chips for a month, you simply don’t need to transfer your beer from one bucket to another bucket. It makes no sense. A beer takes about a week to ferment. Then it takes a few days to clear (settle out). Then you can bottle it. A beer sitting on sediment for this long will not develop “off flavors.” It will be just fine. I’m guessing that secondary fermentation is just an old habit, hearkening back to the days when malted barley and yeast didn’t have the quality it does now. I also think some homebrewers are obsessed with clarity. Which is fine – then you should cold crash and use gelatin (again, no need for another bucket).

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