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Old 01-04-2011, 03:39 PM   #1
shoestealer17
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Default How long should I age?

I have a Scottish/Belgian Style Ale, it is dark amber in color and should be around 7-8% ABV. It was in the primary for 6 days, the secondary for 9 days until it cleared, and now it is in a keg aging.
How long do y'all recommend that the beer age in the keg before it is ready to chill/carb/drink?



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Old 01-04-2011, 04:32 PM   #2
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A number of weeks if not months. It seems the consensus is to primary for 3-4 weeks, then condition (keg or bottle) for quite some time, too. I know that when I leave my keg to condition for a month or more the beer is exponentially better.

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Old 01-04-2011, 04:40 PM   #3
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For me it would be 6 weeks to 8 weeks from brew date before I would consider it ready. I'd start tasting it after 4 weeks as part of the education process for learning how beer changes over time. So carbing & chilling is something I usually start at 3+ weeks.

I'd disagree that a "consensus" says 3-4 weeks primary, more like a very vocal group of brewers who go that way. I'm more of a 2 weeks primary, 1 week cold crash and 3 weeks keg age for me. Varies somewhat depending on beer being brewed.

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Old 01-04-2011, 04:57 PM   #4
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A very vocal group of brewers who include Jamil Zainasheff, and John Palmer.

see here:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/secondary-not-john-palmer-jamil-zainasheff-weigh-176837/

and here:
Ah, autolysis...one of many bogeymen of brewing. Often discussed, but seldom (if ever!) actually observed. Here's how John Palmer wraps up his section on the subject.


Quote:
As a final note on this subject, I should mention that by brewing with healthy yeast in a well-prepared wort, many experienced brewers, myself included, have been able to leave a beer in the primary fermenter for several months without any evidence of autolysis. Autolysis is not inevitable, but it is lurking.

In fact, to confirm this, i am going to start a poll. perhaps im wrong, but im betting most people now leave there beer in primary for greater than 2 weeks

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~"A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.”

On Deck: Spruce APA, Chambord Fortified Chocolate Porter, Imperial IPA

Primary:
Primary:
Secondary: Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Conical:
Lagering: None
Kegged/Drinking: Cascade, Cent., Amarillo Pale Ale
Kegged/Drinking: Belgian Pale Ale (HG yeast for yeast cropping see above)
Bottled: ESB
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:09 PM   #5
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i've heard Jamil say in his podcast that he usually lets his brews sit in the primary for about 10 days.
i've been giving my 2 weeks, and have heard no complaints.

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Old 01-04-2011, 05:32 PM   #6
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Hey, I resemble the vocal minority. The real answer is it depends on the beer, what you like to taste in said beer and if you are bottle carbing/conditioning vs. kegging force carbing.

As a general rule (there are always exceptions) I try to bottle and drink as fast as possible: lighter abv, wheats, and IPA styles. These will LOOSE what makes them special with prolonged aging.

The darker and higher ABV beers, especially when bottle carbing, take longer to age out. I made a mulberry oatmeal stout almost 1 year ago and it is just about perfect, the down side is I only have about 12 left.

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Old 01-04-2011, 06:49 PM   #7
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What ive been told and kind of agree with is primary till the krausen drops, secondary till its clear, then age (in a keg for me) till its ready.
Thats a basic way of putting it but it seems like a pretty good one.
Im just hoping this batch doesnt take too long to age because im ready to drink it!

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Old 01-05-2011, 05:19 PM   #8
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Well 170 people have voted in my poll to date and over 65% indicated that they used a long primary.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/poll-how-long-do-you-primary-215533/

The current body of knowledge says that an average (not special) beer left in primary for longer than 2 weeks will turn out better than one that is racked when krausen drops, or as fermentation slows.

Of course this is anecdotal evidence because it would be fairly difficult to engineer a conclusive test. But i ask this.... Are we long primariers all wrong? we include the likes of Revy, and other veterans.

I myself entered my first competition, a regional competition that counts towards the New York State Homebrewer of the Year (so not some rinky dink little competition). I placed 3rd in american ales, and 1st in specialty beers. my specialty beer was knocked out 5th to last (2 away from placing) in the best of show competition out of 331 beers. They both sat in primary for 4 weeks or more. This is not said to brag, but to illustrate that a beer in a major competition would not place if it had a serious flaw like an off flavor from autolysis.

I digress.



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~"A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.”

On Deck: Spruce APA, Chambord Fortified Chocolate Porter, Imperial IPA

Primary:
Primary:
Secondary: Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Conical:
Lagering: None
Kegged/Drinking: Cascade, Cent., Amarillo Pale Ale
Kegged/Drinking: Belgian Pale Ale (HG yeast for yeast cropping see above)
Bottled: ESB
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