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Old 12-10-2012, 10:41 PM   #11
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What do you mean "at 54 pts" exactly? And to measure the gravity now, do I just take the lid off of the primary and take a sample with my thief and do it that way, or is there some sort of special way to not get oxygen in there? And what about cold crashing it instead of letting it sit once fermentation has completed?
All cold crashing does is get the yeast to drop out faster so that you have clearer beer faster. This is also a kegging term, but it looks like you are not kegging. When you put the bottles in the fridge or cooler the day before the party to get them nice and cold you are "cold crashing"
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:08 AM   #12
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All cold crashing does is get the yeast to drop out faster so that you have clearer beer faster. This is also a kegging term, but it looks like you are not kegging. When you put the bottles in the fridge or cooler the day before the party to get them nice and cold you are "cold crashing"
So I shouldn't cold crash my primary before siphoning it into my bottling bucket and bottling?

Also, is there any advantage to letting the beer stay in the primary even after fermentation has stopped and you're getting the same gravity readings?
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:18 AM   #13
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So I shouldn't cold crash my primary before siphoning it into my bottling bucket and bottling?
I wouldn't ever do that personally but I can't say what others would think about that. Just put your bottles on the fridge 24 hours before the party and that will clear the beer, which is the point of cold crashing
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:25 AM   #14
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Dont rush your beer, it will be ready when it's ready, you can't force it to be ready by a certain date. Primary fermentation will be over when you get the same gravity reading over 3 days, I personally go for about 3 weeks in primary only on almost all my beers, then another 3-4 weeks in bottle. Back when I started I rushed my beer a bit cuz I didn't have a nice pipeline to keep me distracted.....usually I realized with the last bottle that the beer was finally perfect, while good previous I drank it all while it was decent and not ready and excellent
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If you want this beer to be ready by Christmas Eve, skip the secondary. In fact, I say you should always skip the secondary but that's just my preference.
Fermentation and conditioning just takes time. Depending on the style that time could be as little as 3 weeks or as long as a year. There is really no getting around it if you want a quality product. You dont HAVE to use a secondary so bottling after primary is finished would be your only option if you want to carb in time. Just be sure to have your guests leave 1/8th inch of beer in the bottom to avoid sediment re mixing in. that can taste quite bad.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:32 AM   #15
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You dont HAVE to use a secondary, but why not throw it in a secondary until the 23rd then bottle that night. beverages almost always condition better in bulk.
Well, the recipe doesn't call for a secondary, and after many hours of poking around the forums today it seems that secondaries aren't really recommended unless you're doing something special like dry hopping, using fruit, or using oak chips or something like that..

The general consensus seems that beer should be bottled for 1-3 weeks before drinking it, and that it improves with age; but how long should it be primaried for? Let's assume that I get two of the same gravity readings twice in a row on Friday and Saturday (this was brewed Sunday) -- would that mean it's ready for racking into my bottling bucket and bottling?
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:27 AM   #16
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I prefer to rack to secondary as soon as I hit FG. In your case you could do that with your bottling bucket instead of a dedicated secondary. Then give it about 3 days in the bucket for cleanup, that's usually enough when you use a secondary.

That also gives your beer some time to settle before you bottle. You'll still get some sediment, but it shouldn't be a big deal.

It will be a squeeze for time, but I'd also get your bottles in the fridge as soon as you have your carbonation level where you want it. A day cold crashing in the fridge will drop the sediment, but it will be easily stirred up when you are drinking from the bottle. If it's cold crashed for more then 3 days it's usually compacted and is harder to stir up.

In any event, you just don't have the time to do a huge amount of clearing.

Finally, relax. It's almost impossible to make homebrew that's worse then the typical macro brew.

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Old 12-11-2012, 04:50 AM   #17
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Belgians can be finicky. Tomorrow I would let that start warming up, about a degree per day if you can so it is finishing at about 70-72F, that will also help you get to your FG. Sounds like you're making a wit so clarity is not a huge deal but some settling time would be a benefit.

After you bottle keep those things warm, like in the house, 70F warm. After a week you can try one by putting it in the fridge for 24 hours then opening to test the carbonation. One week for carbing is really pushing it but you're not going to have much more time than that.

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Old 12-11-2012, 07:57 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by welker85 View Post
What do you mean "at 54 pts" exactly? And to measure the gravity now, do I just take the lid off of the primary and take a sample with my thief and do it that way, or is there some sort of special way to not get oxygen in there? And what about cold crashing it instead of letting it sit once fermentation has completed?
Sorry, 54 pts meaning OG of 1.054. You don't have to worry to much about O2 getting in there, just be sanitary and pull a sample out for your hydrometer. I was thinking of a few recipes Ive read with OG in the 1.040 range, I think it's a bit easier to rush them as fermentation is fast. I think in those cases it's still a 2 week fermentation though
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:03 PM   #19
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well, i think HBT probably has the OPs head spinning by now. lots of conflicting advice and plenty of unwavering declarations in this thread.

good luck, OP! (and yes, when i said cold crashing i meant putting the primary outside or in the garage where it is cold but not below freezing)

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Old 12-11-2012, 12:20 PM   #20
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What's nice is your Belgian style will be complimentary of "green" beer flavors. A green beer is a young beer that can potentially have some off flavors from poor conditioning. These flavors can express themselves in acetylaldehide (green apple), dicetyl (butterscotch) or phelonics (banana, clove) from other fusel alcohols. These rudimentary alcohols are formed in greater concentrations by yeasts initially, then re-consumed by yeasts as the available malt sugars are depleted. That's why most folks go with a 3 week primary, to allow the yeasts to clean up their own off flavors.

You can rush your beer, just be prepared for some of those off flavors. I think you'll find that the longer you let it condition in the bottle, the better the beer will taste. Sometime in mid January, it'll taste like a completely different beer.

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