I just finished brewing my 3rd batch of beer (after taking 2 years off) and I started looking up the debate about secondary fermentation. I found this article which I think was explained very well by the accepted answer.

The brew that I just made has been fermenting for 3 days so far. It is a Red Hook ESB brew that I have a recipe for. The recipe says you should rack it to a secondary after 4 days. However, going off of this quote from that link,

So, the new rule of thumb: don’t rack a beer to a secondary, ever, unless you are going to conduct a secondary fermentation."

I should not rack this ale to a secondary. Seems like almost all recipes from books say you should do a secondary. To be totally clear, I have 2 questions,

  1. Should I rack this to a secondary?
  2. If I do not rack a beer to a secondary, how can I improve clarity?

1 Answer 1


You should not rack it to secondary. You can improve clarity with:

  1. simply waiting longer in primary for more particulate matter to settle
  2. cold-crashing to promote yeast settling
  3. clarifying agents like Irish moss, gelatin, clarityferm
  4. careful racking
  • I was reading a bit about cold crashing. Seems like I need to have a controlled temp freezer to do that right? Are there any cheap options to cold crash? Also, which of the clarifying agents can be used post fermentation?
    – Metropolis
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 19:07
  • 1
    No, precise temp control isn't necessary for crashing. Just put it somewhere cold, like a fridge.
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 17:11
  • @DennyConn Cool thanks for the reply. How long do you put it in there for, and does it effect the flavor, or just clarity? Would an ice bath work for this?
    – Metropolis
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 21:25
  • 1
    A couple/few days should do the trick. AIUI, it will only really effect the flavor as a function of crashing out any yeast and other particulate matter in suspenion. I don't see why an ice bath would not work; it will get the wort just as cool as any other means.
    – jsled
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 12:44

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