first question asked in homebrew.stackexchange.

I've got a pumpkin ale that I've just moved from primary to secondary (after 7 weeks). The original plan was to have it 7/7/7 (7 weeks in primary, 7 weeks in secondary and then 7 weeks in bottle) before opening.

Why? because I liked the sound of it

However, there's a local home-brewer's competition that I'd like to enter, and the submissions close in 4 weeks time. So the question is:

  • Do I leave it in secondary for another week and then bottle for 3?
  • Do I leave it in secondary for another 2 and bottle for 2?
  • Do I leave it for another 3 weeks and then bottle for only 1?

I know that there are different types of fermentation stages and it has to go through each of those stages after I add my bottling sugars, but to be honest, I don't QUITE comprehend those stages (yet).

I was just wondering which of the 3 above options would probably be the best.

Thanks in advance!

As an added bonus, would I need to pitch more yeast?

Extra info: I've got about 45 litres of the stuff, so I'll be drawing about 5 for the competition and leaving the rest for the 7/7/7 plan

1 Answer 1


Personally I'd bottle for 2 or 3 weeks. As I like it to develop and carbonate nicely in the bottle. I would usually not leave my brews sitting in the primary so long as it rests on a lot of lees. The yeast it is sitting on will start to break down and can potentially release off flavours.

Once I hit my target gravity I try to get the beer/wine into the secondary or bottle as soon as possible, to minimise the risk of these flavours getting into the beer. Secondary I sometimes leave for up to 3 months as it slowly evolves, but I use a glass secondary if I am leaving it this long as plastic has a very low permeability to oxygen and the beer can spoil. Minimum time in bottle for nice carbonation I usually find to be about a week.

  • Awesome, thanks. I only have plastic. Would oxygen permeation really be a concern over a period of like 3 months?
    – Jim
    Jun 8, 2015 at 12:10
  • It could be, it may slightly oxidize the beer. This could lead to a desirable level of oxidation or an unpleasant sourness. I'd suggest if you only have a plastic secondary not leaving it much more than a month or 2 in the plastic and bottling earlier and allowing it to develop in the bottles.
    – Mr_road
    Jun 8, 2015 at 12:40
  • In that case, I DO have glass carboys... hundreds of them, they're only 440ml, and I usually seal them air-tight ;-)
    – Jim
    Jun 8, 2015 at 13:10
  • Sounds like the perfect option to me, you may just end up with a little more sediment at the bottom, but damn tasty beer :)
    – Mr_road
    Jun 8, 2015 at 13:17

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