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Since I started brewing I've ALWAYS transferred to a secondary after about 2 weeks. This was how I learned and what many recipes say to do so I always did it. And I felt that this was a fantastic way to really remove that yeast cake and trub at the bottom out of your fermenter, ultimately providing less of a risk to stir it up and have it in your bottles or keg.

Many discussions here and entries in books have made a very convincing argument to STOP transferring to secondary unless you're actually performing a second fermentation or lagering. And I think I'd rather take the risk of stirring up some trub than contamination/oxidation so I'm going to try this.

My question is, given basic homebrew equipment, and avoiding additional gear purchases, what are the best ways on bottling day to avoid picking up the cake at the bottom and keeping it out of your beer other than just being as careful as you can?

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Cold crash to help sediment and compact yeast. Safely tip the carboy 10-15° so you can maximize beer extraction at the end of racking (I use a couple of paperbacks). Do any movement or tipping of your carboy hours before racking so any disturbance can re-settle. Very carefully lower your racking arm down into the sediment bed. Use some sort of spacer so the racking arm is drawing from above the sediment (the common autosiphon has this built in, as the black plastic tip serves as such a spacer). Secure the racking arm so it cannot move around and stir up trub.

In short: be careful. :)

  • The cold crash I'm familiar is the process of cooling wort as quickly as possible following boil, but this refers to cooling the whole carboy down for about a day, just want to make sure this is what you mean? Another thing I've never done before is drop my auto siphon into the sediment, I may be mistaken but I feel like my sediment bed is usually deeper than the spacer I have on it, that it would end up pulling from the bed before pulling from the beer above, though I've solved that from holding it myself. – nevets138 Jun 9 '16 at 1:49
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    The spacer on my autosiphon isn't enough to keep from sucking up yeast sediment. I use a squeeze clamp of some sort on the body of the siphon at the top of the fermentor to hold it above the sediment. – brewchez Jun 9 '16 at 12:24
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Just becasue you don't use secondary doesn't mean you can't rack to a bottling bucket and bottle from that. That's what I do. So, to answer the question directly, the best way to bottle from a primary is to not bottle from a primary!

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    Totally agree. Just a night in the bottling bucket helps a lot. – Robert Jun 22 '16 at 17:57
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I like the stainless steel racking cane with the orange seal. (Steril Siphon Starter) https://www.morebeer.com/products/sterile-siphon-starter-3-5-6-65-gallon-carboy-smooth-necks.html?site_id=9

What's unique with this cane is You can actually move it to the side of a carboy about 2/3rds down and see what you're doing. The red top is visible in even dark beers when it's on the glass.

There's no pumping movement to stir up trub. Simply blow into through the sanitary filter to start the siphon, or use c02.

I think the best added feature of this cane is you can vacate your secondary of all oxygen with a little trick. Fill your secondary with starsan, then remove the sanitizer using the cane and c02. Then cover in foil or plug, you then have a secondary full of c02, and not air. Some caution though, carboys should not be put under pressure so your c02 pressure and flow should only be enough to fill the void under normal siphon gravity flow. Though I have transfered from carboy to carboy with no elevation change with just a couple psi with no failures.

Minimize your trub (a bit off topic but worth mentioning)

Use your whirlfloc or Irish moss properly. Many times too much is used, and it is used wrong making a huge amount of fluffy trub. 1/2 a whirlfloc is the recomended amount for 5 gallons. A whirlfloc is really only effective IF you whirl pool and leave the hot break it collects behind, it shouldn't be racked to the fermentor. I've discontinued the use of them and still make brilliantly clear beer with normal post fermentation finings.

Use hop bags in the boil This is the single most thing that will reduce your trub. I like my hops to float free and bagless, so I use a large BIAB bag so the hops don't feel trapped and can float free.

Use Hop shots this is a great way to get generic bittering with no plant material to add to the trub.

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    Definitely like the idea of "reducing your trub" vs "how to deal with too much trub" this seems like a better solution to the problem in the long run. – nevets138 Jun 10 '16 at 4:28
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I use Cold Crashing with my 30L fermenter and it has significantly increased my yield whilst reducing sediment in the bottom of each bottle.

If you're using a bucket or similar fermenter with a tap then there is minimal risk of disturbing the trub cake during bottling.

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