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Old 12-16-2010, 03:41 PM   #1
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Default Apologies to Revvy

I have always been suspicious of the current trend in brewing that leaving beer in a primary for extended periods will IMPROVE beer flavor because the yeast "clean up" during that time. I have said as much in several exchanges with Revvy. I have my reasons to doubt this but I have stated them and won't bother rehashing theories. I never doubted that it wouldn't hurt the beer to let them sit - but I doubted that there would be a marked improvement.

With that said I brewed a Belgian Wit and an IPA in the spring and simply did not have enough time to get them in bottles or kegs until 2 weeks ago. We have finally started drinking them and they are by far the best beers I have ever made - or tasted. In fact I am finding myself reluctant to drink any because I know I will run out soon.

I'm still not sure the improvement has to do with yeast activity - but whatever the reasons I will have to say to those of you, especially Revvy, who I have publically challenged on this forum - I am a choad and I should never be listened to, ever. I think I'll be leaving beers in primaries for several months from here on out. The beers are THAT good.

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Old 12-16-2010, 03:44 PM   #2
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That's usually what happens, when someone actually tries it, instead of just "armchair quarterbacking" then they usually become converts.

That's how we ALL did it, we tried it THEN made our decisions.

Enjoy your better beer.

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Old 12-16-2010, 03:45 PM   #3
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I made the switch to extended primary over a year ago. I'll just say I'm not lookin' back.

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Old 12-16-2010, 03:56 PM   #4
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I've been out of HBT for about a year, so maybe I'm missing something here. I typically leave my brews in primary for 3-5 weeks before bottling. Are we saying now that leaving them for longer periods works?

I'm not trying to open old wounds or rehash something that's been beat to death. I was laid off back in late '09 and have just recently regained employment (Sept '10). I now have disposable income once again so I'm getting caught back up on homebrewing.

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Old 12-16-2010, 03:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boodlemania View Post
I've been out of HBT for about a year, so maybe I'm missing something here. I typically leave my brews in primary for 3-5 weeks before bottling. Are we saying now that leaving them for longer periods works?
.
No he's just been a naysayer on this topic and is saying he is a convert. You're fine leaving your beers as long as you do.

Though I did just bottle my chocolate mole porter that sat 5.5 months in primary and there were no detrimental effects.
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:09 PM   #6
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To be sure I have left beer in primarys for a long time and never had bad results, but I also never had "better" results - so I do think my conclusions were based on experience. What is different about these two batches is extend times in the fermenter (talking about several months as opposed to, say, one month).

I do wonder what exactly is causing the better results. Yeast activity stops relatively quickly so I wonder if there may be another explanation. Either way - good stuff.

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Old 12-16-2010, 04:15 PM   #7
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Is there a substantial difference between leaving on the yeast cake in primary and letting suspended yeast in secondary do the job? I ask because I have only one 6.5gal primary and several 5 gallons that are only suitable for secondary unless I'm doing mini batches.

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Old 12-16-2010, 04:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boodlemania View Post
I've been out of HBT for about a year, so maybe I'm missing something here. I typically leave my brews in primary for 3-5 weeks before bottling. Are we saying now that leaving them for longer periods works?

I'm not trying to open old wounds or rehash something that's been beat to death. I was laid off back in late '09 and have just recently regained employment (Sept '10). I now have disposable income once again so I'm getting caught back up on homebrewing.
Glad to hear that you are back to work!

In the past I have bottled quickly (say two weeks) and I've waited (say a month or a month and a half). I have not really noticed any difference in quality with those time frames. Certainly I have always agreed with the notion that leaving beer in primarys for extended times won't HURT the beer. However, this time I brewed in May and bottled in December. Now I see an actual improvement. The seven month interval seems to have made a real difference.

I should also say that I suspect it's not the yeast but some other factor that makes the beer improve with more time in the fermenter. But since I'm no expert I'll just say that whatever it is - it works.

Here's what I'd do if I were you - brew a batch and forget about it (so long as you have some control over temps) and see for yourself. Nothing to lose but a fermenter!
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:22 PM   #9
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I now ferment two weeks at a minimum before kegging.

What's a choad?

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Old 12-16-2010, 04:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradmont View Post
Is there a substantial difference between leaving on the yeast cake in primary and letting suspended yeast in secondary do the job? I ask because I have only one 6.5gal primary and several 5 gallons that are only suitable for secondary unless I'm doing mini batches.
This suggests a great experiment - though I know it doesn't help with your immediate question. I should brew a beer and let one sit in the primary and rack one off into a secondary and let them both sit for 5+ months.

As for your question - I suspect the better quality of beer you will be making is worth another investment in an additional 6.5 gallon ale pale. My results, and I suspect the results of most other folks, suggests there is something in that cake (yes, may even be the yeast) that helps the beer mature in flavor.
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