Do I need a secondary?

Post #1 made 4 years ago
I have a couple of new brewer questions I need some help with.

For my second brew I'm looking at doing a Passionfruit Wheat beer. In the recipe it says to add the Passionfruit pulp into the secondary (I'm kind of guessing secondary is when you transfer to another fermenter/brew bucket after fermentation?) and leave for 10 days. I don't have secondary, so is there a way I can do this without one? I see other recipes that specify adding hops at secondary as well. I was told that if you transfer your brew to another bucket you are running the risk of contamination. I would like to keep my set up as simple as possible at this stage.

Also the airlock on my fermenter which is one of those Coopers starter kit ones with the screw top never seems to bubble up. I've done about 4 extract brews and 1 BIAB brew and it's never worked. Any ideas on how to seal it up or should I just buy another?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Post #2 made 4 years ago
Another way of thinking about this is;
Would it be OK to leave my beer sat on the yeast sediment for another 10 days?
In most situations that would be no problem at all (providing you are not at extreme temps).
The only reason I use a secondary now is if I am trying to recover the yeast from primary whilst needed to add "extras".
So, IMO if you are not worried about anything but the beer I would add the pulp to the primary.

As for the airlock, IMO they are a waste of time too. I am still using my original coopers fermenter that I bought years ago that has no sign of an airlock
Coopers Fermenter.jpg
(not my pic, nabbed from the internet).

Superb tap on those too!
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Last edited by mally on 01 Mar 2016, 15:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #4 made 4 years ago
I second Mally's take. It was once thought (somewhat recently too) that if you left your beer sitting on the yeast for two plus weeks that you would get some off-flavors from yeast autolysis. That has been mostly disregarded at this point. I would drop the fruit in after active fermentation is complete (once the krausen drops). The only time I use a secondary is when I want the beer to clear faster.
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Post #5 made 4 years ago
Secondary, there are many reasons to use one ... but you actually have to have a reason for added oxidation and infection risk to be worth it. Personally, I don't sweat the latter ... but I do the former for many styles that I plan to age.

Personally, I only secondary my hoppy and sour beers right now. The hoppy beers I just want to reclaim lost VIP by squeezing the dry hops, and having yeast soaked in is far from ideal. Sometimes I want to collect the yeast, and don't want the hop debris (I also am anti dry-hop sock). Plus, the hoppy beers are consumed rather quickly and likely will never have time for the oxidation to make a noticeable flavor impact.

For the 2 sour beers I have made to date (still in process), I needed the yeast/bug cake for a second generation fermentation. I'll ferment half a batch, and keep the rest in a cube to pitch on the same yeast and bugs. Second gen is more sour than the first, then I will blend when it is time. Plus, the added oxygen will theoretically help develop some acetobacter character which is generally desired for the style.

Autolysis, that is a crazy topic that i don't know much about. I won't worry about it for an ale, but for a lager or something that needs to be super clean ... it would be wise to consider a secondary for that if it makes sense for your process. Not the case here obviously.
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