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Old 02-20-2013, 07:11 PM   #1
sdochughes
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Default Aging Beer correctly

Hi folks,

I have a question about aging beer. How is it that many craft breweries can go from grain to glass in 3 weeks, while home-brew forums recommend aging most ales (sours and high gravity excluded from this question)for a month to a month and a half? I talked with guy the other day that said he wont even taste anything that's under a month and a half. Why the big difference between the craft brewing industry and home-brewing?
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:13 PM   #2
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I don't know. I'm routinely drinking my beers at 2-3 weeks old except for lagers, sours, Belgian tripels, etc.

I guess that if there are off-flavors created, aging the beer might reduce those? That's the only thing I can think of.

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Old 02-20-2013, 07:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdochughes View Post
Why the big difference between the craft brewing industry and home-brewing?
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:16 PM   #4
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One reason I can think of is many of us bottle condition and that takes 2-5 weeks just to carbonate the beer.

Another reason is that commercial brewers have prefect process control so off flavors are not present.

A third reason is commercial breweries filter their beer so they don't need time to settle and clear like hombrews.

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Old 02-20-2013, 07:19 PM   #5
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If a homebrewer has decent control of all the processes, especially ferm temp and pitch rate, there's really no reason why you shouldn't be able to have good, drinkable beer in 2 or 3 weeks, assuming we're talking normal gravity beers that are not meant to be aged. If ferm temps are not controlled well or too little healthy yeast was pitched, there are likely to be off-flavors created that may condition out in time, so in those situations a longer aging time might be necessary.

Edit: I should clarify that what I said above applies to kegging. Add another 3 weeks or more for bottle conditioning.

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Old 02-20-2013, 07:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LLBeanJ
If a homebrewer has decent control of all the processes, especially ferm temp and pitch rate, there's really no reason why you shouldn't be able to have good, drinkable beer in 2 or 3 weeks, assuming we're talking normal gravity beers that are not meant to be aged. If ferm temps are not controlled well or too little healthy yeast was pitched, there are likely to be off-flavors created that may condition out in time, so in those situations a longer aging time might be necessary.

Edit: I should clarify that what I said above applies to kegging. Add another 3 weeks or more for bottle conditioning.
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If you brew your beer using best practice and have complete control over the entire process there is no reason to keep the beer in primary or use secondary for 3-4 weeks because it is just wasted time

I can usually pull a beer within 2 weeks and package it. Yes, I do brew some larger beers that take awhile to properly condition but most session able and proffered fresh beers are all being consumed within a month from brew day easily and some actually are gone by the time the month is over
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:46 PM   #7
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Some guys wait longer because of clarity. Many breweries filter, so they don't need to wait. It is also possible since breweries often have more precise control of their ferm temps they don't have to wait as long for the yeast to clean up after themselves. Even with all this I believe many guys think they have to wait much longer than actually needed. I have a stout that I make regularly that is always ready to bottle in 2 weeks--though most of my medium to low gravity ales take 3 to 4 weeks. I also make Wee Heavies, Imperial Stouts and Old Ales that I regularly age for six months or more (though this is usually bottle aging). Since I prefer dark beers clarity is seldom a major issue, but when it is I let it sit for about two weeks in primary and then rack to secondary with isinglass, where it sits for the next two weeks. When the fermentation is done and the beer is clean and clear (as appropriate to style) package it.

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Old 02-21-2013, 12:31 AM   #8
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I'm with Yooper. I don't know what a lot of these guys here are waiting for. Almost all of my ales finish in 2 weeks of primary. Then I bottle it (so I have to wait 2 more weeks). Some of my ales age well but most are best when young.

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Old 02-21-2013, 12:36 AM   #9
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I agree with most here and am happy to see a good move toward this line of thinking - I know I've discussed it with Yooper many times before!

The advice given here for month-long primaries is because lots of homebrewers (moreso those just getting their feet wet) aren't really brewing great beer to begin with re: yeast health and fermentation temperatures. Get these factors under control and you'll be packaging most normal beer around week 2 as well.

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Old 02-21-2013, 12:52 AM   #10
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Re: yeast health, when using dry yeast, are you two-weekers rehydrating or sprinkling from the packet?

I know I've got greenish-taste issues with most beers younger than a month. Then again, I very seldom brew worts under 1.060, which I'm guessing is also a factor, and my last several have also been fairly dark (porters, red ales, strong Scotch ales, barleywines).

I do keg, and I am tasting a three-and-a-half-week old Bee Cave/EdWort's IPA tonight. We'll see how I did! Used 2 packets of US-05, sprinkled.

-Rich

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