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Homebrewing Tips – Secondary Fermentation

Secondary Fermentor - Glass CarboyOne fact about Homebrewers is that they love to make life more complicated than it needs to be. I know, I’m a homebrewer; and I’m as guilty as anyone on this account. For this reason I really try to separate the necessary from the unnecessary – especially when I’m teaching a beginner how to brew.As I lurk around a few of the homebrewing forums out on the Internets, one topic that often comes up is the issue of secondary fermentation.

Experienced homebrewers often like to scare beginners with horror stories of all the nasty things that will happen to their beer if they don’t use a secondary. My opinion is that this step is unnecessary for most beginners, and is more likely to cause infections for inexperienced brewers.

That said, they can be very useful under certain circumstances.

If you have questions about secondaries, we have created a page on DrunkMansGuide.com that details more than you probably care to know about conditioning and secondary fermentation. You can get to the article here: “Do You Need To Use A Secondary Fermentor?”

Today’s Featured Mixed Drink Recipes:


January 9, 2008 - Posted by | beer, Homebrewing | , , , , , ,


  1. Got any tips for sterile siphoning? I’m thinking that putting my big greezy lips on the end of the tube and sucking is not a good thing, not to mention that ‘who knows where dem hands have been’ kinda thang.

    siphon pump?

    Comment by Wiss-Brau | November 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. This would probably make a really good newsletter article. But here’s a short description of what I do.

    Assuming that you’ve already sanitized your racking cane (if you’re using one), and your siphon tube…

    Now, sanitize a pot – two gallons or so, and fill 2/3 with clean water.

    Next, put your tube into the water. If you do it right, you can get it in there without any big air bubbles remaining in the tube. The trick on this is to start with one end, and then feed the rest down into the water keeping the tube submerged until the entire tube is under water.

    Now, pick up your tube by the ends. It will be filled with water.

    Attache one end of the tube to your racking cane, while keeping the other held high. Don’t worry if a little of the water flows into the racking cane – it’s just water, and anyway it probably won’t make it all the way to the bottom of your cane.

    Now, bring your tube down to the ground in a quick, smooth motion. The water in the tube will “pull” the beer into the line and start the siphon.

    If you think ahead, it helps to have a bowl or large glass ready to catch the initial slug of water.

    Once the beer starts flowing, switch it to your bottling bucket or secondary fermentor. You’ll spill a little, but that’s what paper towels are for.

    Comment by drunkmansguide | November 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. just get an auto siphoning cane ionline or at a local beer supply store there about 10$ good investment

    Comment by havefunhomebrewer | May 6, 2009 | Reply

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