Why is it recommended to perform a secondary fermentation (an actual "sugars were added to cause a second fermentation" secondary fermentation) in a secondary vessel, as opposed to fermenting the beer a second time in the primary fermentation vessel? Is there an advantage to doing something like adding fruit or sugar to the wort when it's not on the primary fermentation's yeast cake?

Everyone says you should, but never explain why.

This answer comes close, but I'm looking for something a bit more verifiable than "I think".

  • maybe you should rename to something like "why is it common practice to rack off primary for secondary re-fermentation" just to make it clear. (I almost flagged this as a dupe just based on the title - only the content made it clear.)
    – mdma
    Commented Nov 13, 2013 at 21:11
  • hehe, ok, you took it word for word!
    – mdma
    Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 0:08
  • Hey, I capitalized, so it wasn't a direct copy and paste! ;-)
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 5:20

1 Answer 1


I would assume mostly for convenience, since it is likely easier to rack onto fruit than dump fruit into a primary vessel. Also, people are likely combining secondary fermentation with secondary for purposes of clarity. You would leave some trub behind (which also includes yeast) but there would be plenty of yeast in suspension for the secondary fermentation. I have spoken with a yeast specialist that described yeast in suspension as more active and "better than the lazy yeast in the trub" (his words), so perhaps there is an advantage to using only the suspended yeast.

There's racking to a secondary vessel, that is, moving the wort off of trub ostensibly for purposes of clearing; a somewhat controversial practice many regard as unnecessary as well as risky as it increases oxygenation and risk of contamination and there is a secondary fermentation; which simply means more sugars added for the purposes of fermentation after initial fermentation has subsided or slowed (like fruit, honey or usually something other than malt). The two practices can be combined but they are two different things.

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