Primary, Secondary, Bottles....

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Recently I have begun to have a few doubts over the methods of my
brewing, particulary when it comes to bottling!

Basically I tend to move straight from primary into bottles for
secondary. Usually I have used a Keg and this method seems to work
perfectly however with the bottles I am sure that there is a better

Currently I use a 5 Gallon Bucket for primary fermentation. Would it be
advisable to get another of these for secondary prior to bottling?

The plan would be to move from primary to secondary to bottles. I
assume that in this process I would leave the priming until it went
into the bottles?

Thanks :D

Re: Primary, Secondary, Bottles....

that is tthe way that i do it, from the primary after about 8 days, than
into the secondary with a cup of priming sugar dissolved in 2 cups of water,
then to the bottle.  doing this causes there to be a little more setament in
the bottom of the bottle but ya need to rinse the bottles after ya pour
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Re: Primary, Secondary, Bottles....

I have been doing the same thing with my brew; going from the primary
after 7-8 days and then racking to my bottling bucket, mix in the
priming sugar, and bottling immediately thereafter.  I have been
getting consistently good results with my ales using this process.  My
beer comes out reasonably clear, but I will be trying a carboy as a
secondary next time around in hopes of an even better brew.  For ales,
using a  secondary for another 4-5 days before bottling gets the beer
off of the trub(?) which could contribute to off flavors and also gives
any suspended particles in the beer more time to settle.

Re: Primary, Secondary vs. Bottles....

Brew Man wrote:
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Thats what the TEXTBOOK says, but other forums and my experience (as a
microbiologist) tell me it has to be on trub for WEEKS before off flavor
possibly appear.

I have left ales on trub for 2 weeks and in secondary for 0 weeks, 1
week, and 2 weeks...same recipe...and with the same bottle-conditioning
time, I have noticed no difference or improvement going to 2-nd vessel
secondarys before bottling.

This is for ALES now, where your grain bill is mainly one grain and
another grain with it to enhance or augment the recipe's identity.  With
such simple recipes I'm told, and I aggree in what i've done, that you
can bottle in lieu of secondary

HOWEVER, my last mess, a nutty brown ale contained several malts, a
chocolate, carapils, and tho it fermented according to schedule, it not
only needed a secondary in another vessel, it's gonna need weeks in
bottle before the "burnt" flavor mellows out.

My rule of thumb: any ale with more than 1 principal malt, besides
carapils, secondary it and dont jump the gun drinking it

Lagers? :(cant do yet) follow the textbook!


Re: Primary, Secondary, Bottles....

chev wrote:
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That's another reason why I bottle (my ales) quickly, (I don't need a
secondary) cause I collect that sediment in a subculture to make a
starter for my next mess.  Has worked for years. I buy maybe three
smak-packs a year.

Re: Primary, Secondary, Bottles....

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How do you store the culture? And for how long?  I've read it's not
good for more than a week or two in the fridge, but I imagine there has
to be a way to making it last longer.  Some pitch their next batch
right onto the yeast cake from the last batch, but some of us don't
brew often enough for back-to-back batches.

I've been looking online and haven't found much in the way of
instructions on DIY long-term yeast reuse and storage.


Re: Primary, Secondary, Bottles.... says...
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While you can go directly from primary to bottling, I've found I get
cleaner (appearance and taste) results if I use secondary fermentation as

Use a 5-gal glass carboy for the secondary, not another food grade
bucket.  Less headspace for the beer/ale.  Also, you don't need to add
sugar or yeast when you rack to the secondary.  Add the priming sugar
when you rack from the secondary carboy to the priming bucket for
bottling, not when going from primary to secondary.

So -

Primary in the bucket: 7 days or whenever desired FG is achieved.

Rack to secondary carboy, set your airlock and leave alone for at least 2
weeks (if not longer depending on the type of beer/ale being brewed).

Rack to priming bucket, add priming sugar and bottle.  Let it bottle
condition for at least another 2 weeks, again depending on the type of
beer/ale you're making.


Re: Primary, Secondary, Bottles....

jrprice wrote:

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You might want to consider using a carboy for the primary as well.  You
can sometimes get a slight plastic taste when using a bucket.

If you use a 6.5 gal carboy you'll have less blow-off, but hey, cleaning
up the mess is half the fun right?


One person's dumb is another person's dada.
-Daryl, ABSFG

Re: Primary, Secondary, Bottles....

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What benefit does the reduced headspace have?
I presume it would still be okay to use a plastic bin same as I used for
primary? My main concern is the space (the 2 bins could easily be stacked
when not in use. The wife is already a little peeved by he space I am taking
up (and we don't have much to begin with!)

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Re: Primary, Secondary, Bottles.... says...
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Initially, racking from the primary to a secondary greatly increases the
oxygen/air exposure to the "head" of the brew.  The smaller headspace
of a carboy helps to minimize the impact that may have since a carboy
allows for less air.  Just one more factor you can control....

From "How To Brew" ( Ch. 8:

"It is important to minimize the amount of headspace in the secondary
fermentor to minimize the exposure to oxygen until the headspace can be
purged by the still-fermenting beer. For this reason, plastic buckets do
not make good secondary fermentors unless the beer is transferred just as
the primary phase is starting to slow and is still bubbling steadily.
Five gallon glass carboys make the best secondary fermentors. Plastic
carboys do not work well because they are too oxygen permeable, causing

My carboy (5 gal) fits inside my primary bucket for storage, so that
shouldn't be an issue.

Re: Primary, Secondary, Bottles....

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While the above is true, and the headspace argument is also true, the
experience of most folks for fermenting ales in the 2 - 3 week range is
that plastic and headspace are not problems, especially if you plan to
drink the beer within 6-8 months.  Those staling/oxydation arguments are
very applicable for 6+ month secondaries and for beers that will be
stored for 1+ years.

I agree with the schedule posted before: primary about 1 week, secondary
1 to 2 weeks, prime in bucket and bottle.  Note, priming in the bucket
is best because there are no measuring issues like there are in bottles.

Re: Primary, Secondary, Bottles....

Thanks for all the advice. Will have a look into getting a carboy.

Re: Primary, Secondary, Bottles....

save your money, i've got 2 carboys sitting in the basement not being used
because they are not necessary, i've made probably 25 beer kits and not 1
single bad beer (knock on wood) by doing the primary to secondary and
priming, then to bottle method.  but it's up to you.
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Re: Primary, Secondary, Bottles....

What do you use for secondary? Also if you are priming at this point before
bottling, don't you lose all of your carbonation when you open the

I would have thought tha priming when bottling would be better?

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Re: Primary, Secondary, Bottles....

i use a 6 gallon plastic bucket for my secondary. and when i say priming i
mean that after dissolving my cup of priming sugar in 2 cups of boiling
water , put that mixture into you clean secondary, now rack the beer from
the primary into the secondary with the sugar,  then bottle immediatly. the
beer is only in the secondary to mix in the priming sugar.
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Re: Primary, Secondary, Bottles....

My plan is to leave in secondary for at least 2 weeks before bottling. This
will hopefully mean that I get less sediment when bottling and a better
quality berr.

Thanks anyway...

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