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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Aging or Maturing - Does it make a difference?
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:27 PM   #1
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Default Aging or Maturing - Does it make a difference?

I tried asking this question a couple of days ago but apparently I wasn't clear enough because it turned into a secondary vs. long-primary discussion. I've already made my decision so the question is just a hypothetical at this point.

I have a stout that was in primary for 14 days. I transferred it to my secondary fermenter and planned on letting it age or mature for another 4 - 6 weeks. Then I tasted it. It was so f'ing delicious that I couldn't decide if I should just go ahead and bottle this black beauty or if maturation would really help.

My line of thinking was this: If I know it tastes good right now and I don't know how it will taste after maturing for a few weeks, why should I not bottle it now? Does maturing really make that big of a difference?

I am 100% sure that it had completely fermented, no doubts about it. What do you more experienced guys think? Have you ever done a side-by-side taste test of a young beer (say 1 month or less) vs. an aged beer? Is it really worth letting her sit in the closet for a month all by her lonesome?

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Old 06-13-2011, 03:32 PM   #2
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It depends a lot on the style of beer and it's ingredients. I brew bitter which is good to go in about 3 weeks. If I made a mess of it somehow, then I might bottle condition it for longer to help off flavours dissipate. Hey, if it tastes good, then that's the time to carb it up and drink the sucker IMO

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Old 06-13-2011, 03:34 PM   #3
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My opinion with only 20 or so batches; if you like it now drink it, it's your beer. Set a couple bottles aside and try them at different intervals. Note which one you liked the best so when you brew the recipe again you know how long you want to age it!

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Old 06-13-2011, 08:55 PM   #4
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I have personally found that if you pitch properly and run a proper fermentation your beer will be conditioned much faster than you think.

I find that two weeks primary is my default basically, but if I use yeast strains that drop out and finish quicker I will sometimes keg them after 5-7 days. I recently brewed a bitter with WLP007 that was grain to glass in a week and it was heavenly.

I have found that WLP001 takes a little more time to condition and clear than more flocculant strains, for what its worth.

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Old 06-13-2011, 10:14 PM   #5
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I've had trouble with the last couple of batches (various equipment issues during brewing) and I have found that letting my beer sit in a keg for 3-4 weeks really helps the flavors come out nicely. If you don't have problems then you probably dont need to do that. Congrats to you if you dont :-)

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Old 06-13-2011, 10:19 PM   #6
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My beers have always gotten better with some aging (a few months in bottles is the most I have done), but its nothing crazy. The difference between 2 weeks after brew day and maybe 5-6 days after brew day is tremendous, but the difference between 6 weeks and 24 weeks isn't as great. Not saying all beers will be ready in 6 weeks, but once they stop tasting green, they don't get a ton better IME.

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Old 06-13-2011, 10:22 PM   #7
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About a month ago I found an Old St Nick (my holiday brew) that a been hiding in the corner of the Beer Cave for 3 years. It was so good. Now if that had been my Mouse Drool (an American Wheat), I don't think it would have been so good.

Basically the bigger and more complex beers take well to aging. The light beers tend to be better younger.

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Old 06-18-2011, 11:47 PM   #8
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Just wanted to update you guys and thank you for answering my post.....I just cracked open the first one after only 21 days since brew day and it's a little undercarbed (has only been in the bottle for 7 days) but the flavor is perfect. I'm hoping it will get even better with a few weeks in the bottle because right now I'm not convinced that aging is really worth it!

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Old 07-20-2011, 08:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mthelm85 View Post
Just wanted to update you guys and thank you for answering my post.....I just cracked open the first one after only 21 days since brew day and it's a little undercarbed (has only been in the bottle for 7 days) but the flavor is perfect. I'm hoping it will get even better with a few weeks in the bottle because right now I'm not convinced that aging is really worth it!

It is only going to get better, my friend!

As for aging beers, the rule of thumb is:

The higher gravity beer you make, the longer you let it sit. Anything less than 1.050 (disregarding sour beers and other styles with relatively unorthodox fermentation schedules) can usually be drank in 3-4 weeks.

For instance I made a Belgian tripel over the weekend with an OG of 1.089. It won't see the light of day until November. Even then, I'll probably be bringing it to all my Christmas parties. Big beers need big time. The payoff is worth it.
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:42 PM   #10
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Now that I've gotten my pipeline built up, I let everything sit in primary at least 2 months and I'm definitely not regretting it. I used to keep everything in primary 3 weeks then keg. The beer would be good when I tapped the keg but when I got down to about a gallon left, it was phenomenal. Now all of my beers are amazing right from the day I tap them and I don't notice any major changes throughout the 5 weeks or so they spend on tap. The IPAs and other hop-bombs I've made have definitely become a little more balanced the longer they sit. I guess that could be good or bad depending on your view point. I have a 5.3% ESB I made about 4 months ago on tap (in the kegerator on CO2 for 3 weeks) and it hasn't deteriorated at all. Until I see one of my beers get worse, I'll keep letting them sit longer and longer.

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