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Old 11-26-2011, 01:57 AM   #1
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Default How do commercial breweries avoid waiting for beer to be ready?

It seems like it's common advice here to wait a few weeks if your beer doesn't taste quite right and it'll improve. Usually I leave my beer in the primary for 3-4 weeks and then let it naturally carb in a keg for 2-3 weeks before serving (longer for big beers). Still, after being so patient, the last of the beer always tastes the best.

So how do commercial breweries, who profit more with a faster turnaround, do it?

I have researched and found that the science of yeast pitching has a lot to do with it, but are there any other factors? Do breweries let their bottles condition at the plant... or do they assume that the time in bottle during transportation/distribution is sufficient conditioning time?

Any insights would be much appreciated

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Old 11-26-2011, 02:06 AM   #2
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Pitch rates, water chemistry , temperature control, filtration and equipment .

The water used is of high quality with certain properties which help flavor or yeast.

Pitch rates are calculated precisely with healthy yeast.

Temperature is monitored and controlled on a dime.

Lagers are filtered to removed yeast and sediment.

Force carbed into bottles no condition time needed at this point .

Other things like mash temps and gravities are spot on.

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Old 11-26-2011, 02:30 AM   #3
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Yeast control
Temp control
(filtering)
(pasterizing + force carb)
(bottle carb at 27C for 3 days ive seen mentioned at a norwegian brewery)

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Old 11-26-2011, 02:40 AM   #4
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Pressurized ferment is the answer to everything

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Old 11-26-2011, 03:16 AM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions so far!

The pressurized fermentation technique is especially intriguing, given that is ferments and carbonates at the same time. But does that reduce the "green" time?

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Old 11-26-2011, 03:56 AM   #6
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The "best" way to faster fermentation times is increasing your pitching rates. The old school "by the seat of your pants" calculation for yeast amount is pitching a pound of healthy slurry per barrel of wort.

That is roughly 4 oz of clean, yeast. No trub, no hop material, no liquid. Just yeast in its natural state.

Pick a yeast that will ferment quickly and cleanly.

Use pure O2 injected into the cooled wort as it is transferred into the fermenter.

Maintain constant fermentation temps IN THE FERMENTER. Not ambient temps around the fermenter.

If you meet all of the above, the yeast should be able to eat up all the sugars in the wort in 3-5 days. You do need to be able to check your gravity every day. Once it maintains the same reading two days in a row, reduce the temps to roughly 40F. The yeast you chose should also be a good floculator and drop out of suspension with the lowered temp.

Transfer your beer off the yeast to a conditioning vessel that will keep at 40 F. During transfer, add a fining agent like gelatin. The beer should be able to drop bright within 2-4 days. Transfer the clear beer into a serving vessel. Force carbonate. The bright, carbonated beer should then be ready to serve or bottle within 24-48 hours.

At least that is way I used to do it 20 odd years ago at the brewpub I worked at.

The yeast strain I used was NCYC1187. That is the same as Wyeast 1187 and White Labs WLP005. You do NEED a big starter and constant temps. If you can do this, you can go grain to glass in less than 10 days.

The beer can also be VERY good. Using these methods, the beer served in the brewpub, using a hand counter pressure filler, won a few awards at GABF.

Good Brew to you.

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Old 11-26-2011, 04:35 AM   #7
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Wayne obviously hits all the right points. Fermentation, fermentation, fermentation.

Pitch the right amount of healthy yeast, and control your fermentation temps well. You won't have off flavors that need to go away with age if you do that.

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Old 11-26-2011, 12:19 PM   #8
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The breweries are also brewing the same exact general recipes day in and day out, so they have their process down to (literally) a science. They dont have fluctuations in water quality, ingredient quality, mash efficiency, volumes, boil-off, hop schedule, yeast health, pitching rate, fermentation temps, etc etc etc. In addition, they (most) filter, and pressurize ferment to get the beer 'sellable' quicker.

I agree with most of the others that fermentation can make or break a beers quality in a short time, and is probably the single most important factor to fast drinkable beer.

I am not saying that all of us homebrewers suffer from these fluctuations in our process, but its easy to see there are so many variables that can affect the final outcome of the beer. The homebrewer's answer to issues arisen from these fluctuations is 'let it sit longer'. In a commercial setting, letting the beer sit in the fermentor for an extra two weeks is money out of their pockets. They simply HAVE TO get grain to glass in the least amount of time possible.

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