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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Reduced Conditioning Time
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:19 PM   #11
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Can someone explain why in the world you need to primary for 5 weeks? I have been reading a lot about Belgian beers and can't find any breweries that do this.
I have a strong dark that is going on 6 weeks...because it's still fermenting!! It started at 1.107. You primary until fermentation is complete, the clock and calendar mean nothing.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:32 PM   #12
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I would go ahead and bottle it. There is no need for a secondary. Yes it does need some time to condition but that can be done in a bottle while it's carbing.
Agreed. I would even say that it's advantageous to bottle it, so that you don't risk oxidation and infection from headspace in the clearing vessel. If it's already been in a fermenter 6 weeks, I don't see any advantage to bulk aging.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:34 PM   #13
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Hmmm....I have only brewed a few big Belgians but I have had no time trouble hitting FG in a 2-3 week time frame. IMO this is due to pitching the proper amount of healthy yeast, using pure O2, strict temperature control (gradually forcing the temperature up), and recipe formulation (lots of simple sugar).
Me too. In fact, I'm almost always at FG by day 5 for ales and day 7 for lagers. I can't imagine needing 5 weeks for a fermentation to complete! Even my biggest tripel only needed about 8 days to finish up. That sounds like the beer was underpitched or the yeast was otherwised stressed, and that could be why it stalled out at 1.019.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:24 AM   #14
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Some stuff to respond to:

1. It's the Northern Brewer Belgian Tripel Extract recipe.
2. I think I am experiencing the mysterious 1.020 stall for extract brews. I already tried bumping up the temp a bit to 72 - 74 and gave a slight swirl. That's what brought it down to 1.019 from 1.020 I suspect. Sample didn't taste overly sweet.
3. One piece of info that seems more relevant now is that there is a lot of head space in the secondary. That might be a reason to let it condition in bottles.
4. If the flavor gets better after longer conditioning, then my friends and I are in for a real treat, because the non-carbonated sample I had recently was dy-no-mite!

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Old 11-07-2012, 02:57 PM   #15
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Me too. In fact, I'm almost always at FG by day 5 for ales and day 7 for lagers. I can't imagine needing 5 weeks for a fermentation to complete! Even my biggest tripel only needed about 8 days to finish up. That sounds like the beer was underpitched or the yeast was otherwised stressed, and that could be why it stalled out at 1.019.
Sometimes underpitching is an effective way to develop the flavors you want out of those Belgian strains. It takes a long time for the beer to reach FG and there's a lot of hot alcohol that has to mellow. I made a big belgian two years ago around 1.100 and massively underpitched a small starter at high krausen. It started fermenting within hours but it was very slow to reach FG. The end result was a beer that took about six months to mellow but is full of orange, rather than the usual banana/bubble gum flavors. Everybody swears I used a massive amount of orange peel in the beer but there is zero. On the other hand, pitching the same strain at proper rates makes a peppery, slightly bubble gum-y beer.
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