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Old 11-15-2012, 05:21 PM   #1
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Default Aging rules for stouts?

I recently made a batch of sweet stout and many of the recipes that I have seen says to keep it in the primary for 30 days. Is there any reasoning behind waiting 30 days vs 2 weeks? I'm relatively new to stout brewing, so I have no clue. I was thinking about a 2 week primary fermentation, 1 week secondary with my additions, and then about 1-2 weeks in the keg. Does anyone have a method they follow with success?

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Old 11-15-2012, 05:25 PM   #2
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I recently made a batch of sweet stout and many of the recipes that I have seen says to keep it in the primary for 30 days. Is there any reasoning behind waiting 30 days vs 2 weeks? I'm relatively new to stout brewing, so I have no clue. I was thinking about a 2 week primary fermentation, 1 week secondary with my additions, and then about 1-2 weeks in the keg. Does anyone have a method they follow with success?
I'm not a fan of those 30 day primaries, and have never done that. I think there is a contingent of brewers that always routinely do a longer primary, and it doesn't have much to do with beer type. If the beer is done, and clear, in 15 days, it's not going to get "doner" in 30 days. So I don't see any advantage to aging it on the yeast beyond that point.
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:32 PM   #3
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I'm still in the "racks to secondary" camp - typically 2wks primary then as long as it takes in secondary. the only reasons I see for sitting in primary that long are if you 1) arent doing a secondary 2) you're lazy 3.) for some reason the recipe calls for it.
The longer beer sits the more "stuff" will drop out (protiens, yeast etc.) There is a sect of brewers that don't do secondary anymore; for my recent cider I didn't do a secondary, and it sat in primary (glass carboy) for better than a month before it clarified.
this post may not be helpful at all.

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Old 11-15-2012, 05:36 PM   #4
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If you leave it on the cake the yeast will clean up the impurities it produces from fermentation that can cause off flavors like diacityl and other compounds. 2 weeks is probably fine for low gravity beers but bigger beers might take a month for this process to be fully efficient.

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Old 11-15-2012, 05:53 PM   #5
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i used to always do a month in primary then straight to keg.. now i usually do around 3 weeks.. i'm too lazy/forgetful to test it to see when it is actually done, though i'll probably be doing that soon and doing more of 2 week primary as long as its finished

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Old 11-15-2012, 11:17 PM   #6
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If you leave it on the cake the yeast will clean up the impurities it produces from fermentation that can cause off flavors like diacityl and other compounds. 2 weeks is probably fine for low gravity beers but bigger beers might take a month for this process to be fully efficient.
I know what you're saying, but that doesn't make sense scientifically.

Those off-flavors like diacetyl (produced by the yeast, but then digested by the yeast when active fermentation slows) are "cleaned up" within about 24 hours after active fermentation ends and FG is reached. So, waiting 3 days after fermentation ends means this "clean up" process is completely over and done, and the beer is starting to clear.

Longer isn't going to clean up any more- but it may not hurt either. I do notice more yeast flavor and character in beers that spent longer on the yeast cake, and some brewers prefer this flavor. I do not, however.

I see no reason at all to ever keep a beer in the fermenter longer than it takes to complete fermentation, to finish the "clean up" process, and to clear. In a well made beer, that should be by about day 10-14. Going longer may not hurt the beer, but I see no advantage.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Yooper

Those off-flavors like diacetyl (produced by the yeast, but then digested by the yeast when active fermentation slows) are "cleaned up" within about 24 hours after active fermentation ends and FG is reached. So, waiting 3 days after fermentation ends means this "clean up" process is completely over and done, and the beer is starting to clear.

Longer isn't going to clean up any more- but it may not hurt either. I do notice more yeast flavor and character in beers that spent longer on the yeast cake, and some brewers prefer this flavor. I do not, however.

I see no reason at all to ever keep a beer in the fermenter longer than it takes to complete fermentation, to finish the "clean up" process, and to clear. In a well made beer, that should be by about day 10-14. Going longer may not hurt the beer, but I see no advantage.
I couldn't agree more, Yooper! With temp control and healthy yeast, the only reason my beers go past 10-14 days in fermenter is b/c I'm too busy or too slow in emptying a keg.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:28 PM   #8
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Zero reason for it to stay in the primary for longer than 3 weeks. That said, I 99% of the time do a 2 week primary for both big and small beers. Now secondary.... :P

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Old 11-15-2012, 11:34 PM   #9
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I never knew what people meant when they said "the yeast will clean up the impurities." Other than what Yooper mentioned, it sounds like a pseudo science.

In a few of my 1 gallon cider batches, I had pretty bad H2S from not using nutrient (guessing). It was still there weeks after fermentation ended, so I shook the hell out of the jugs every day until gas stopped coming out. Problem solved, and I doubt yeast would have "cleaned it up".

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Old 11-16-2012, 12:14 AM   #10
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I never knew what people meant when they said "the yeast will clean up the impurities." Other than what Yooper mentioned, it sounds like a pseudo science.

In a few of my 1 gallon cider batches, I had pretty bad H2S from not using nutrient (guessing). It was still there weeks after fermentation ended, so I shook the hell out of the jugs every day until gas stopped coming out. Problem solved, and I doubt yeast would have "cleaned it up".
You've go two different issues there, though!

One is the point about "cleaning up". The yeast, when still active, will go back and digest other things after fermentable sugars are gone. Some of the things they'll digest (less perferable, that's why they go after the sugars first) are their own waste products like diacetyl. That is a very real thing, and the yeast DO do that. It's done at the tail end of active fermentation though- not weeks later.

The point about the H2S is stressed yeast and that is NOT something the yeast will fix. That's a whole different problem, but is very uncommon in brewing and more common in ciders and wines due to the nutrients in the wort in beer.
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