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Old 05-26-2012, 11:12 AM   #11
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I think this is what the OP is saying. Big beers will benefit from extended fermentation and conditioning time.

OP and me are not arguing against that. But for 105x beers you can crank them out in a couple of weeks with kegging.

You don't always have to leave a beer on the cake for three to four weeks.

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Not to mention if you're planning on using the yeast cake (or a portion of it) for your next batch you're only getting benefits of using it sooner rather than later.
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Old 05-26-2012, 12:42 PM   #12
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When I advise nephew brewers to be patient and let a beer sit for four weeks, it's usually in response to "it's been a week and the instructions tell me I need to rack to secondary." I'm usually trying to drive home two points. First, don't worry about what the instructions say in regards to racking to secondary. If you ignore the secondary and leave your beer in primary, you don't have to worry about when it's time to rack. Second, for new brewers, it's better to not have this firm idea in your head about when you're going to have drinkable beer. So, I give a general "four weeks in primary, four weeks in bottles" response just to present a generalized realistic timeframe. Of course, I would advise a quicker turn around for anything with heavy hop flavor and aroma. Once a new brewer has a sense of how long a particular yeast in a particular beer takes to get the job done and can taste a warm, flat beer to see if it's done, by all means they should package as soon as is reasonable and drink the beer at its peak.

I usually have to base my packaging around when I have time to do it, especially with bottling. With beers that are being kegged, I don't have to worry about it as much.

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Old 05-26-2012, 02:14 PM   #13
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I've had a batch of IPA brewed, fermented, cleared, bottle conditioned, and stomach conditioned in 2.5 weeks if you can believe it. It was great.
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I know I'll prob get shot by some for this but....


If you have pitched good yeast and held ferm temps well and it's done after a week. Then you can bottle or keg, depending on your system.

I'd say once you have stable hydrometer readings over a few days, go ahead and package.

Gab.
Yep, me too. I am not one of the "month in primary" bandwagon members. A well-made beer doesn't need that.

The key there, though, is "well made beer". Proper yeast pitching rates, fermentation temperatures, quality ingredients, and so on, along with proper brewing techniques all play a role. Underpitching of yeast and too warm fermentation temperatures are a big flavor issue, and even conditioning will not fix it but might improve somewhat.

I package all of my ales generally by day 14 or so. But it has to have been at FG for at least a few days and the beer has to be pretty clear. Or else it just isn't "ready".

A beer that is ready to package should have been at FG for at least 3 days, and it should be fairly clear. If it's a yeasty cloudy mess, it isn't ready to package.
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Old 05-26-2012, 02:22 PM   #14
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Sure, you can drink your beer at a young stage or at a more mature stage. I am of the mindset that the beer you drink at week 1 and week 4 are for intents and purposes just different beers. Is one better than the other? I don't know? I have been known to tap a 7 day old SMASH beer that was ok, not great, but WAS fresh.
In one sense it much like a persons lifespan in that is one chapter of a persons life more important than another, all are important and integral to one another.
If you like your beers young, drink em young. Personally, I have enough fermenters and two kegs to not get in a rush, I like tasting them at different stages but don't expect my beers to hit their stride until about 5 weeks after pitching yeast. I am pretty laid back in my approach to brewing, sanitation is tight, use good ingredients, crush my own grains, do iodine test for conversion, boil full volume vigorously, and use steady ferm temps in my basement, but don't or rarely take hydrometer readings, generally don't use secondaries as a rule.

As a general rule of thumb I would caution advising new comers to rush the process.
Beers evolve....

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Old 05-26-2012, 02:35 PM   #15
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I agree with this post. For beginners I feel it is more important to learn how the fermentation works. Letting it sit for a month doesn't teach anyone anything.

Each beer you brew is going to have a slightly different fermentation schedule. I usually take my OG then let it rip for 4-7 days depending on how big the beer is. If after a week I am done fermenting then it's time to crash and then package.

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Old 05-26-2012, 04:35 PM   #16
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I too think it is a matter of brewing practices and specifics about the beer. I have gone to 10-14 days in the fermentor since I started using large starters, good aeration, temp chambers (probably the biggest factor), cold crashing and filtering. I have had tasty good ESBs in as little as 2 weeks.

When I was not controlling temps I would let the beer sit in the primary for at least 3 weeks and I think it helped.

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Old 05-26-2012, 04:37 PM   #17
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I agree with everybody.

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Old 05-26-2012, 04:59 PM   #18
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I agree with everybody.
I was kinda thinkin' the same thing. No doubt you can turn many ales around very quickly if you pitch enough yeast and control temps. I've gone grain to glass in under two weeks when kegging, and could easily do that more quickly with many a light ale. I regularly package ales after ~2 weeks and they turn out great. But, and this is a big but, I have noticed that many beers benefit from and extra week or two on the cake, 3-4 weeks total. It's not a 'clean up' thing, if there's any clean up, that happens within a day or two of FG, and really shouldn't be necessary if you're treating your yeast properly and controlling temps. It's a maturation thing, obviously if you give a beer a bit more time, it continues to mature. So if leave it a week or two longer before packaging, it'll be a week or two more conditioned once it's carbed. This can help with clarity, and honestly with flavor. The flavors in a matured beer really come together. Obviously, with beers like IPA and wheat beer, this isn't the best choice, drink those young and hazy. But with a nice NEB or a strong bitter, that week or two can make a big difference.
Really, if you 'need' that extra time for 'clean up', you may want to take a look at your process and adjust some things. A well made, avg gravity beer really only needs a couple few days after FG to be 'done'. But leaving a well made brew on the cake for a few extra weeks definitely won't hurt it, it may even help it along a bit.
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Old 05-26-2012, 05:13 PM   #19
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I'm going to present a somewhat different attitude toward the thesis presented in the OP, but perhaps not a common one.

It stems from the fact that, yes, I know that with just a very ordinary K.I.S.S. setup like mine, I can be drinking a very tolerable Hefeweizen in three weeks. No argument; agreement.

I also know that if I adopted techniques like cold crashing, finings, etc., that I can decrease the time needed to produce a drinkable beer.

So- yeah, I understand these things. What's my problem?

I'm not in that much of a hurry.

I realize that goes against a great deal in popular culture and in the whole history of this great nation, but.....there it is. I'm not going anywhere in a hurry, and I just. Don't. Care.

I've got three white plastic buckets, and each rotates through in a month. If I bought two more buckets, I could brew a 5 gal. batch a week and violate the law. But why should I? I go through maybe 15 batches of beer a year. Brew day comes, I've milled my malt the previous day, I put the beer together, throw it in the fermenter, hit it with a dose of O2 and pitch, snap the lid on and forget it for 30 days. At the end of that time, it's invariably finished, and I bottle. Condition a month, and it's great. So it takes two months, so what? My shelves have plenty of beer on them, what's my hurry?

The answer may be that there's nothing in any of this about being "modern and progressive," it's still just "different strokes." And mine are.

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Old 05-26-2012, 05:14 PM   #20
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Some yests floc better than others...Some beers are liked young...some like them old. I find Sierra Nevada Big foot to be pretty nasty when it's fresh. But once it ages the hops and malts oxidize well and create more complexity. Some prefer the immediate umph of all the hops and alcohol bite with a fresh bottle.

Good beer can be made quick. My last stout was bottled after one week...and drank a week later. It was very nice...After three months it was just as good.

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