I used to allow for primary fermentation, then rack the beer out of the primary fermentor and than let it 'age' in secondary for about 2 weeks. At that point I used to move the beer from room temp (~18-20ºC), to about 5ºC for aging.

I've been searching here about the lengths of fermentation, aging, and if I should rack the beer from primary fermentor into secondary, etc.

I'm understanding now that if I'm making some simple ale, and don't want to add anything for secondary fermentation, I don't need to rack my beer out of primary to avoid any troubles that may incur from racking to secondary.

My question is the only thing I couldn't find in previous questions:

If I don't rack the beer out of the primary fermentor, do I have to change the temperature like I've done in the past for secondary fermentation or should I let it stay at room temperature for more time? I don't understand the purpose of this. Previous questions only cover the advantages and disadvantages about secondary fermentation, but nothing regarding fermentation temperature requirements and differences between primary and secondary fermentation.

1 Answer 1


For a simple ale that doesn't require a secondary fermentation, you can go straight to your aging temperatures after primary fermentation has completed (approximately one week to allow for a quick diacetyl rest). The only thing accomplished by racking a beer from primary to secondary is to get it off the trub and yeast that has flocculated (sunk) to the bottom of the bucket/carboy. It is suggested that you rack from primary to secondary to ensure that you get the full effects of the secondary fermentation (if you require a secondary fermentation) and dry hopping (if you are dry hopping), as the yeast cake from primary will supposedly inhibit some of the taste you would otherwise get from racking to a secondary fermentation.

In your case, you can follow the exact same temperature/aging schedule as you normally would minus the step of racking to secondary without issue.

  • Thanks, man, i've read a lot of posts about this, and understand this debate of racking or not, but was no certainly about change the temperature or not. Thanks for the very good edit to my post to, i'm speak portuguese, its a little difficult to me to write english. If I don't change the bucket temperature and let it stay over the yeast cake about 2 or 3 weeks in room temperature, what's gonna happen? There is any problem?
    – jards
    Jul 23, 2013 at 15:10
  • No worries about the language barrier. I'm glad to hear Portugal shares in the hobby. The only concern people have regarding letting the beer sit on the yeast for an extended period of time is autolysis (the yeast dying, digesting itself, and pooping out rancid flavors). So long as you are pitching fresh, healthy yeast, and you aren't brewing an unreasonably high gravity beer, you shouldn't have to worry. Autolysis, while a concern, isn't very common as long as basic homebrewing steps are taken (e.g. yeast starters and fresh yeast). See: howtobrew.com/section1/chapter10-3.html
    – Scott
    Jul 23, 2013 at 15:58
  • Talking here from Brasil, man! Thanks again, I will see the link. Bye!
    – jards
    Jul 25, 2013 at 13:50
  • I disagree - cold crashing a beer after just 7 days will give you a green tasting beer for anything other than small beers (<1.035)
    – mdma
    Jul 26, 2013 at 20:23
  • @mdma, could you tell me more about that?
    – jards
    Jul 28, 2013 at 23:09

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