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Old 10-02-2012, 01:05 PM   #1
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Default short fermentation

So I have myself in a Halloween time pinch and need to get some beer bottled and ready to drink by October 26th. I already know I cannot cut my bottling time but what if I shorten fermentation by a couple of days? I normally would go a 2 weeks on each but there is clearly no time for that.

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Old 10-02-2012, 11:39 PM   #2
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The only thing for it is to brew a low gravity beer and treat it perfectly, that is to say:

1) Extreme fermentation temperature control (shoot for the low number of the advertised range and keep the temp +/- 1 degree)
2) Exact pitching rate of healthy yeast (see: mrmalty.com and don't forget your yeast viability date)
3) Oxygen with pure O2 if you can, otherwise maximum hard agitation (like, a half hour).
4) If you're concerned about clarity, use a good flocculant yeast, S-04 or WLP002/WY1968

Normally I'd say force carb is the only way, but you said bottled so you need to give your beer 2 weeks at 70F at least to be comfortable on a low gravity batch, and THEN if they're carbed at least 48hrs in the fridge to compact the yeast and better absorb as much CO2 as possible into the beer.

Low gravity english beers fit this description perfectly. I have an ordinary bitter I try to keep around most of the time that I can brew on monday night and drink saturday morning (force carbing). An ordinary bitter would be my absolute first choice, with an OG around 1.036, although a dark mild would show any suspended yeast less but with british yeasts that's not really an issue.

I'd brew this beer tonight, or tomorrow if that's not possible.

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Old 10-02-2012, 11:55 PM   #3
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I concur about S-04 - and it goes off and finishes fast, and you won't need a starter since it's dry. You can rehydrate dry yeast while your wort is cooling. I've had quite a few beers in the OG 1.070 range that finish the majority of fermentation in 2 or 3 days with S-04. 3 weeks is plenty for drinkable beer in a pinch - I think IPAs are a good candidate, since they'll have fresh hop taste when they're young anyway and the hops can cover up young beer taste.

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Old 10-03-2012, 12:42 AM   #4
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Thanks, both of you. I am going to go ahead and brew it tomorrow night. And since I was already planning on an IPA it sounds like I might be able to get away with it. I really don't bottle much at all anymore, but have to please the masses and only have one keg. Fortunately I know that at least that and what I am bottling this week will be in good shape.

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Old 10-03-2012, 01:48 AM   #5
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Keep in mind though that the higher the starting gravity, alcohol and carbonation level, the longer it takes for beer to bottle carb. An IPA might very well be best when drank young, but it doesn't mean it will be carbed in the bottle on october 26 though.

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Old 10-03-2012, 02:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfr1111 View Post
Keep in mind though that the higher the starting gravity, alcohol and carbonation level, the longer it takes for beer to bottle carb. An IPA might very well be best when drank young, but it doesn't mean it will be carbed in the bottle on october 26 though.
^^^ this is a good point. Maybe go on the low end of an IPA if that's what you're going to do, and definitely make sure you're at FG before you bottle.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:40 PM   #7
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You can make the beer fairly quickly, especially one with a minimum of darker grains but carbonation will still take a bit of time. Hurry that along by warming the beer to slightly above room temperature when you bottle and keep it there for a few days, then get it chillled so it has time for the CO2 to dissolve into the beer.

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Old 10-03-2012, 07:07 PM   #8
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Yea, the most important part of my post was LOW gravity, and you sort of totally ignored that.

Bigger beers take longer to ferment, longer to clean up, longer to clear, and longer to carbonate. Even if you're the best fermentationist in the world, if each of those steps only takes a day or two more than a small beer would, you don't have any beer to drink at your party. You could also invest in a kegging system if you're rolling in dough (maybe $250 plus a fridge) and eliminate any worry.

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Old 10-04-2012, 12:59 PM   #9
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I brewed it last night and took the majority of the advice given. Hoping to end with a nice IPA. I have a kegging system but this beer is needed in addition to what I will have on tap. Thanks for the follow up. I'll let you know how things turn out after the 27th.

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Old 10-04-2012, 11:48 PM   #10
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you could force carbonate it (using the shake method if you're really looking for speed), then bottle from the keg. there's a Biermuncher's "you no need no stinkin beer gun" thread about how to do that.

edit: this assumes you have an additional empty keg around of course...

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