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Old 02-29-2012, 04:22 AM   #1
myquestforbeer
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Default Stout Carbonation Time at Room Temp Question

OK, I'm a new brewer- this is only my second batch- and I tried to do a search on my question, but haven't been successful sifting through the thousands of threads and hoping someone can help.

I am brewing a coffee stout from a kit and the kit says to bottle at room temps (70 to 75 degrees) for at least 10 days. Them it says this varies for different beers and I know the instructions are pretty general- meant to apply to all their beer kits generally. I've heard people keeping it at room temps for longer and even shorter before putting in the fridge to condition another week or two.

I know it's personal choice, but is there a chart or something out there that shows generally how long to carbonate (from refining sugars) at room temp before refrigeration from beer type to beer type? I'm the type of person that likes details, charts, and exact formulas and methods to at least start from as a baseline so I can modify later as I experiment and make it more an art-form.

I don't want it to over carbonate, but I want it to finish to a good carbonation level prior to refrigeration. What does everyone out there do? Tips? Suggestions? Preferences?

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Old 02-29-2012, 05:30 AM   #2
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I don't think your going to find a chart or formula on this sort of thing because there are lots of factors at play. I have never had a beer not carb up eventually and I'm not entirely sure why some carb up faster than others. New brewers (myself included) want definite answers and time frames but the best thing to do is relax for a week or two. Your not going to come across very many hobbies where the best thing to do is not worry about it. Most likely why i caught the fever. Your beer will get there I promise.

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Old 02-29-2012, 06:00 AM   #3
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Just picking up on a small part of your question.

'I don't want it to over carb'

If your beer is finished before you bottle it then the amount of priming sugar you use is what determines whether it will be over carbed. Time, temperature, yeast health and other factors determine how long to carb but not carbonation level.

On a couple other points. I don't think you will get a chart except for the one that Revy loves by Lazy Lama.

Here is what I would do. Once a week, put one beer in the fridge. A couple days later drink that beer. Do this until a few beers in a row are at the carbonation level you are looking for. Then you can refrigerate the rest of the bottles.

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Old 02-29-2012, 06:23 AM   #4
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almost no use in trying it before a month.... because it will not tast as expected and then you start going crazy on how there is funny flavours in your beer, and think its infected,

(and then Revvy will rip you a ........)

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Old 02-29-2012, 11:11 AM   #5
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I go no less than 2 weeks. Other than that it depends on the beer. My pale ales and wheats are pretty well ready by then. My stouts, heavies, and such may have the carbonation, but the flavors don't start to mature until about a month.

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Old 02-29-2012, 01:29 PM   #6
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My general rule of thumb for stouts is leave em be for 8 weeks before even tasting the first one.

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Old 02-29-2012, 02:42 PM   #7
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Carb levels will be determined on how much priming sugar you put in your bottling bucket. There IS a calculator for that:

http://www.tastybrew.com/calculators/priming.html

So, you pick your style, it shows you the BJCP guidelines on carbonation levels for that style, you enter what you want your carb level to be based on that guide, and it spits out EXACTLY how much priming sugar to add.

From there, the amount of TIME it takes to carb and condition is really a factor of ABV. Yeast work more slowly in higher ABV environments, so the higher the ABV, the more time it takes, and they work on THEIR schedule, not ours. Here's the most detailed chart available for carb and conditioning times, courtesy of Lazy Llama, PhB (professor of brew):



In my experience, under 1.06, carb and condition for 3 weeks minimum. It goes proportionally up from there, with imperials, quads, and other high ABV beers taking up to 3-4 months.

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Old 02-29-2012, 03:50 PM   #8
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How does temperature effect the speed of carbonation?

Carbonating at room temp, 70 to 75F is fine but our "room temp" swings from 65 at night to 80F during the day.

Some say a controlled 75F temp would be best but others say they carbonate in the cellar at 62F. Low temps seem to work but guess carbonation takes a lot longer.

What has been your experience with carbonation time and temps?

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Old 02-29-2012, 04:31 PM   #9
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Wow thanks everyone! Great stuff. I guess the main question I ha was how long to do room temp before the fridge. I agree that it takes at least three weeks of total conditioning before it tastes good, hitting it's prime anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks depending on the beer. You're right that the stout seems better later on, so I can see 8 weeks. I was just confused because i heard that once you refrigerate at 38 or 40 degrees, carbonating stops, but it continues to condition there. So I thought that more time in room temps (around 75 degrees) could mean over carbonating, but it sounds like from what you all are saying is at the amount of priming sugar at the bottling stage is more of the factor (along with yeast, ABV, etc.). I just put the amount that came in the kit, so I think it'll be good. I'm not stressing, and am more than willing to let it be and relax, I was just trying to determine when to move it to the fridge. I don't have a basement and right now our temps in the house are averaging between 68 and 75 degrees in Phoenix. I like the idea of giving it a couple weeks and putting one in the fridge each week to taste so as to gauge the carbonation level then move them all to the fridge when they're ready. I'm guessing 2 weeks to carbonate at room temps then fridge for at least 2 to 4 more weeks before its in it's prime. Does that sound about right? Thanks again for all the tips and resources!

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Old 02-29-2012, 05:04 PM   #10
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Temperature is a CATALYST to conditioning TIMES, but fast conditioning is also dirty conditioning. The lower the conditioning temp, the CLEANER the conditioning, but the LONGER it takes. 70F is pretty much the most efficient middle ground between these two factors. Any lower, it takes alot longer, any higher, and you start to get diminishing returns on the quality of the brew.

SO, fridge temps slow down conditioning pretty significantly. Your beers will still condition at fridge temps, but not nearly as quickly as at room temps, by a factor of 3 or 4. Cold conditioning, however, also helps with clarity, a process that won't occur to the same extent at room temp.

Also, after carbonation is complete, you actually need to have the beer at fridge temps for a good THREE days before serving to allow the carbonation in the headspace of the bottle to absorb in to the beer.

So it's give and take. Again, every beer is different, and the more batches you make, the more of a feel you are going to have for this part of the process for different beer styles.

I would give your stout about 4-6 weeks to carb and condition, then start putting 1-2 in the fridge at a time THREE days before you want to drink them. If these sample beers have the appropriate carb to your taste, then you can start rotating in just the beers you want to drink THREE days before you want to drink them, but leave the rest to condition at room temp.

Inevitably, the last beer you have is going to be the most conditioned, and the best!

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