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Old 11-23-2013, 02:06 PM   #1
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Default Newbie question about "1-2-3" ale fermentation times

Would someone please explain the "1-2-3" rule for fermenting ales? I've been leaving my beer in the primary fermenter for two weeks, transferring into the secondary for one week, and then waiting at least a month for the beer to season in the keg - with good results.

Some people advocate one week in the primary, two weeks in the secondary, and at least three weeks in the keg, and I was wondering about the rationale for only one week in the primary.

I understand that this is contingent about taking FG readings, etc.

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Old 11-23-2013, 02:13 PM   #2
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Outdated recommendations. These days most people will recommend 2-3 weeks in primary, 0 weeks in secondary (unless you're adding fruit or something like that) and then however long it takes to carb and condition in the keg.

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Old 11-23-2013, 02:16 PM   #3
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I do more like 2-3 weeks in primary (at FG & settled out),3-4 weeks in bottles before 1 week in the fridge.

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Old 11-23-2013, 02:16 PM   #4
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Its just an "easy to remember" quip that the kit makers use to make it "easy" for new brewers, but it doesnt really apply all that well across the board. Beer is ready when beer is ready. You will find many many answers on here about fermentation schedules. If I were to sum up what I think the average of the group is, its probably something like 3-4 weeks in primary and no secondary. Bottle and condition for 3 weeks at 70+ and then refrigerate for a week before drinking (Assuming you bottle).

And if you are brewing a big beer, throw that out the window. Its really style dependent.

Im sure someone else will argue that, but its ok. You will find your own process after enough brew sessions

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Old 11-23-2013, 02:24 PM   #5
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2 to 3 weeks in primary, 8 to 14 weeks in keg, 10 days on the gas, beers are aged, conditioned, smooth, finished and very nice when we pull the tap.

Cheers

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Old 11-23-2013, 02:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by WileECoyote View Post
2 to 3 weeks in primary, 8 to 14 weeks in keg, 10 days on the gas, beers are aged, conditioned, smooth, finished and very nice when we pull the tap.

Cheers
Mmmm, nothing quite like an 18-week-old IPA.
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Old 11-23-2013, 02:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thadius856 View Post
Mmmm, nothing quite like an 18-week-old IPA.
Somehow I doubt that he's leaving IPAs 8-14 weeks in the keg before going on the gas.

For the OP, you can ditch the secondary for almost all brews. Just go 2-3 weeks in the primary, check gravity twice over the next few days to be sure it's done, cold crash if you have the means to do so, and bottle/keg.
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Old 11-23-2013, 02:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thadius856 View Post
Mmmm, nothing quite like an 18-week-old IPA.
I dont brew IPAs. and never said anything about a IPA ether, nether did the OP.

Cheers
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Old 11-23-2013, 02:55 PM   #9
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Somehow I doubt that he's leaving IPAs 8-14 weeks in the keg before going on the gas.
Exactly

Cheers
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:57 PM   #10
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Thanks for the responses. Two weeks will be up a week from tomorrow; I'll take a FG reading and decide from there.

I don't know why I'm so hung up on the secondary fermenter (maybe because I hate to see it just sit in the closet, lol)? It's definitely satisfying to move from the primary to the secondary and leave all the trub behind - but necessary? Probably not. I'm sure the beer will be just as clear if I leave it in the primary for an extra week before putting it in the keg.

I'm not sure that I could wait 18 weeks before I carbonate. 8 weeks - maybe. Will the difference between 4 weeks and 8 weeks really make a difference for an ale?

Best,

Steve

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