28 Apr
2010
Posted in: Home Brewing
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Why Use a Secondary Fermenter, What Does a Secondary Fermeneter Do?

Beer in Primary Fermenter After Two Weeks

After a week or two in the primary fermenter, your beer may have quite a bit of foam on top still and will probably be pretty cloudy looking.

A secondary fermenter is used to help clean the beer up. It will give it a much more clean taste, make it less cloudy, and help clear out a lot of the dead yeast and sediment.

So after your beer has had time for its initial fermentation, which may be a week or two, you will siphon your beer into a secondary fermenter.  The secondary fermeneter should be a glass container (carboy), and it should be the exact size of your batch of beer. So if you are brewing a 5 gallon batch of beer, chances are you used a 6 – 6.5 gallon fermenter bucket, which is perfect. But when you siphon the beer into a secondary fermentor, you should use a 5 gallon glass carboy.  This way there is little to no air space in there with the beer.

Too much air could oxidize the beer.  So when you are siphoning the beer into the secondary fermenter, make sure that you don’t splash the beer around, getting air bubbles in it.  Try to siphon the beer down the side of the secondary fermeneter, without splashing at all.

Secondary Fermenter (Glass Carboy)

Once you have your beer in the secondary fermeneter (Glass Carboy) you will be able to see the clarity of the beer in the carboy. You should start to see the yeast settle and he beer clear up in about a week.

Once your beer is ready to bottle, you will have much cleaner tasting and clearer looking beer than if you didn’t use a secondary fermenter!  A secondary fermenter is not a necessary step in home brewing, but if you are looking to get a better tasting beer with less yeast in it, and have a more true color, we would definitely recommend trying it.

Primary fermenter Photo Credit

So, what do you think?