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First brew (Belgian IPA) questions


Jan 5, 2015
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Howdy all,

I am working on my first home brew, Brewer's Best Belgian IPA, and I have some questions on how to proceed.

It is currently in the primary fermenter, has been for 2 days and fermentation seems to be slowing down a bit. I have 2 different friends giving me different advice on how to proceed from here.

Friend 1: stick to primary fermenter, after 7 days add dry hops (1 oz Chinook) and let sit for 10 days, then bottle. carbonate in bottle for 2 weeks, condition in fridge for 1 month, enjoy.

Friend 2: after 5 days total rack to secondary fermenter, dry hop for 3 weeks, bottle for 2 weeks and condition for another 2 weeks in fridge. Enjoy.

tl/dr version: should I rack to secondary fermenter, online concensus seems to be no. If not, is dry hopping in primary fine? And how long should I dry hop and condition for? Thanks guys, I think I'm already addicted :)
Both of your friends agree that you need 7 weeks after primary.

Friend 1: This method has the benefit of moving into the bottle faster. However, there will be more sediment in the bottle, so, this method has a longer maturation time to let things settle.

Friend 2: This method has the benefit of letting the beer age in bulk and be clearer when bottled. This should mean clearer beer when you pour it.

I don't like the sediment possibilities of method 1 and I don't like the extended dryhopping time of method 2. Method 2 also has a greater possibility of oxidation due to the extended time.

Method 1 is preferred. Sediment requires a little finesse in pouring, but otherwise should give you a fresher tasting product.
I'd go somewhere in between.

Friend 3: After two weeks in the primary, rack it. Dry hop in secondary for another two weeks, then bottle it.

This way you get extra settling time in both vessels, which means less sediment in the bottles. And not enough time for the dry hops to make it taste like a fresh cut lawn.

There's a lot of debate on this forum with regards to using a secondary. I'm in the pro-secondary camp. I'm also in the minority.

I agree with Maine. Personally I use primary only for most lower gravity beers, but always use a secondary on high gravity. I also never dry hop onto yeast cake if I can help it. Dry hopping just seems more effective in the secondary.