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I've heard mentions of people using tertiary, quaternary, quinary, etc fermentations. Does this really provide any significant benefit beyond secondary?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think this same answer applies here:

What's the point of secondary fermentation

The purpose of n-ary isn't more fermentation, but aging, clarifying, etc.

So for me, no it doesn't provide any additional benefit. The only time I use a secondary vessel is for fruit additions or extended aging. I've never found a need for a third vessel.

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This. I've heard of some people who are overly anal about clarity racking three or four times, but it's honestly not necessary and just increases the risk of oxidation or, to a lesser extent, infection. –  Jeff L Nov 15 '10 at 22:22
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Sometimes the purpose of n-ary fermentation is more fermentation. You can work with higher "effective" O.G. by adding additional sugars ( and possibly more yeast ). I make a quad that I add boiled molasses to after primary fermentation; and I add a type of indian date sugar boiled in water and additional yeast before tertiary fermentation. For extremely high gravity beers I don't think this is unreasonable. –  Sindhudweep Nov 16 '10 at 17:58

I can't get a pumpkin ale clean with only a secondary for the life of me. Next batch I plan on using a tertiary. Just be careful with splashing, I've been careless and oxidized the hell out of an otherwise good beer before.

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I've heard of having a tertiary phase if you add fruit (etc.) to the beer during the secondary, to help precipitate out the fruit particles before bottling.

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