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Old 10-06-2007, 12:42 PM   #1
max4677
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Default Maximum time to leave beer in primary fermenter...

Last night my homebrew club had our monthly meeting and we got into a fairly heated debate over the merits of not taking beer off of the trub for long periods of time.

I personally have gone as long as three weeks because of scheduling problems and the like, but I don't think it is a great idea. Most of the members present felt that the "standard" seven to ten days is the longest time you should let it sit in the primary. I agree with that sentiment.

However, one member said he has been hearing of a lot of people leaving it on the trub for up to six months without ever transferring it. We all thought that was not good for the health of the beer.

Even if lagering it, you generally want to remove it from all the decaying yeast, break material, etc. before doing so, correct?

So what do you think? Is it acceptable to let beer sit for extremely long periods on the trub from the primary fermentation stage? If you have tried it, what was the longest period of time you went before transferring/kegging/bottling?

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Old 10-06-2007, 02:02 PM   #2
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I'll defer to the 2007 AHA Nationals Ninkasi award winner Jamil Z who claims his beers improved when he stopped using a secondary on most of his low to mid gravity beers. He primaries for 3-4 weeks. He argues that removing the beer from the large mass of yeast too quickly substantially prolongs the conditioning process. I mean, if you have the extra time to secondary (most don't), it won't matter that much. In any case, if I can muster the discipline to leave beers in primary longer, I'll do it.

I don't mean to be such a fanboy, but as soon as someone with a dissenting opinion starts winning that many first place awards at major competitions, I'll consider the debate live and well.

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Old 10-06-2007, 02:21 PM   #3
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I leave most of my beers in the fermenter for 3-4 weeks. In a couple cases, they've gone 8 weeks. I never enter any contests, so I can't say they are award winners. Haven't had anything bad happen, though.

Several people on the board have left batches in the fermenter for 8-12 months.

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Old 10-06-2007, 06:17 PM   #4
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I have a Belgian Tripel that is still fermenting at 3 weeks (see that thread). I was worried that it was stuck, but the gravity is still slowly falling

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Old 10-06-2007, 07:09 PM   #5
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I've gone 5 weeks one time, but that was dropped to 39 degrees till I got around to kegging it. No problems. Tasty Beer.

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Old 10-06-2007, 08:10 PM   #6
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Default Longest Time In Primary?

I usually leave mine in the primary until it stops bubbling. (So about 3 weeks) The longest I think its been was 6 weeks. Its was a lager and I had it at about 62-64F the whole time. (Used Superior Dry Lager) Never had any bad side effects. In fact it was pretty damn drinkable.

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Old 10-06-2007, 09:19 PM   #7
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Aging is all important! If I check my beers by tasting them I find that they stedially improve over 6 weeks. Let's face it, we usually dring beer too early. sweeter/stronger beers require more time to condition. weaker beers take somewhat less time. If you drink a beer that has been designed to be a sweeter beer ie: "brown Ales" too soon then are not balanced and are too sweet. Just wait 2 weeks and they are the nectar of the gods. Enough said!!!

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Old 10-06-2007, 09:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WBC
Aging is all important! If I check my beers by tasting them I find that they stedially improve over 6 weeks. Let's face it, we usually dring beer too early. sweeter/stronger beers require more time to condition. weaker beers take somewhat less time. If you drink a beer that has been designed to be a sweeter beer ie: "brown Ales" too soon then are not balanced and are too sweet. Just wait 2 weeks and they are the nectar of the gods. Enough said!!!

I usually don't drink anything before 3 months old unless its a Hefe. I put everything in the beer fridge after its carbed. I generally have a big enough supply that I don't have to drink young beer.

Back on topic - I think too much time on the yeast is a paranoia that was initiated by brewers of BMC ilk . When you make beer without much flavor or body you have to worry too much about off flavors and faults. We shouldn't have that problem.

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Old 10-07-2007, 01:54 AM   #9
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Hrmm. Not exactly the responses I was expecting.

David: Do you mean in the primary for 8 to 12 months or secondary for that amount of time?

Are these sitting periods mostly with darker/higher gravity beers? Lagers or ales? Should they sit in the primary for weeks after the primary fermentation has since quit?

I have a mild ale going right now that I'm not sure I would want sitting around for that long. Now the celebration I plan on making tomorrow, I could see letting sit in the primary for 4 weeks if necessary.

Please forgive the questions, but this type of information flies right in the face of everything I have ever read in books or kit instructions.

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Old 10-07-2007, 07:36 AM   #10
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4 weeks usually. Gives time for the yeast to "clean up" byproducts of fermentation.

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