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Old 01-04-2010, 11:19 PM   #1
jjones17
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Default Big beers and their conditioning time

Hello everyone out there in brewing land! Such a great day to be consulting with such fine ladies and gentlemens... (only 2 beers in and I am feeling cavalier).

Nevertheless, I am curious as to the general consensus on how long I need to be setting aside my beers to condition in the bottle. Actually, I really have a 2 part question:

1) In the larger gravity beers (1.060 + OG), I understand that a longer conditioning period is necessary for flavors to develop, and for the beers to clear. Longer, that is, than your standard 1.040 ish OG beers. I currently have 2 beers that have been about 3 weeks in the bottle, after 3 weeks in the fermenter. My IIPA, which was my first AG attempt suprisingly, turned out to be delicious after 1 week in the bottle though still cloudy. Now, after 3 weeks in the bottle, I am getting some unbalanced flavours... in fact it almost tastes green 'again' if that makes any sense. This beer was highly unbalanced (too malty not enough hops) for the style, and perhaps the reason it tasted good at 1 week was that I dry hopped (and it faded back to reveal green beer). This is a 8.1% ABV beer, with a FG of 1.020 (quite sweet, but 1.020 was intended and was exactly as beersmith predicted), and perhaps it needs more conditioning. Does anyone know how long this takes typically for these types of beers, they are being stored in my basement at around 62F (constant). I am hoping this will get better with age... I do love a huge malty beer, even if it is needing in the hop department.

2) It would seem that beers with simple sugars (honey, molasses, etc) also need longer conditioning times (am I right/wrong?). Does anyone know how I can confirm this? I have about 4 gallons of beer that used above 10% simple sugars in the recipes, and I do not want to dump them....

Anyway, I am hoping others share these questions that I have. Maybe this has been discussed, I could not find anything that would specifically speak to the mechanics of this process on big gravity beers.

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Old 01-05-2010, 12:28 AM   #2
Suthrncomfrt1884
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IIPA's can be a bit tricky as far as general rules of thumb go. On one hand, you have a high gravity beer that needs extended aging times (sometimes 3 months or more). On the other hand, you have an IPA, which is intended to be drank fresh to get as much hoppy goodness as possible.

This is why when I create big IPA's, I plan for the extra aging time. I add a little more hops than I think I may need, that way by the time the beer is carbonated and the hops have mellowed slightly, it will be perfect. This isn't a science, I just add a bit more flavor/aroma hops than usual. After about 3-4 months in the bottle, mine turn out wonderful.

I'd suggest finding a happy medium for your current beer. Wait at least 6 weeks and then start trying them. The hop flavor will go down, but it could still turn out nicely.

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Old 01-05-2010, 07:18 AM   #3
jjones17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suthrncomfrt1884 View Post
IIPA's can be a bit tricky as far as general rules of thumb go. On one hand, you have a high gravity beer that needs extended aging times (sometimes 3 months or more). On the other hand, you have an IPA, which is intended to be drank fresh to get as much hoppy goodness as possible.

This is why when I create big IPA's, I plan for the extra aging time. I add a little more hops than I think I may need, that way by the time the beer is carbonated and the hops have mellowed slightly, it will be perfect. This isn't a science, I just add a bit more flavor/aroma hops than usual. After about 3-4 months in the bottle, mine turn out wonderful.

I'd suggest finding a happy medium for your current beer. Wait at least 6 weeks and then start trying them. The hop flavor will go down, but it could still turn out nicely.
Thanks. Sounds like you have had some success on making IIPAs, so I congratulate you there. They are probably one of my most favorite beers.
What I have done is placed the remaining bottles of this batch in a box of which I will not touch until Feburary. I have already reworked my recipe to basically double the hops (I could hardly detect the hops at all, my malt was so pronounced). I will not cut down on the malt character though, I want to preserve it. 1.020 FG, and 158F mash times really show up... I will probably not try this again for while though.

SWMBO said something to me after trying this beer: "Who will enjoy that? Just you?" Which rang with some truth, giving way to my new goal....

Make the best possible 'American Ale' that I can, which will appeal to most everyone who already likes craft beers.
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