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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Any reason to let sit in primary after terminal gravity
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:53 PM   #1
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Default Any reason to let sit in primary after terminal gravity

As the title says, is there any reason to let the beer sit in primary for any amount of time after terminal gravity is reached? Is the yeast still doing anything, ie. cleaning up the beer (not really sure what that means) after terminal gravity is reached?

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Old 03-19-2011, 05:45 PM   #2
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Yes. Leaving your beer in primary for 3-4 weeks will do a ton for your final beer. The yeast will create off flavors, and giving them extra time after fermentation is done will allow them to fix those off flavors.

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Old 03-19-2011, 05:47 PM   #3
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Well, that depends. The beer does to continue to condition after most of the suguar is comsumed. Basically, the yeast start eating byproducts produced from breaking down the sugars (which cleans up the beer to a certain extent) The big thing you want to do though is to let the beer clear before you bottle. This may or may not coincide with reaching terminal gravity. 2-3 weeks turnaround time is typical for ales. However, It's not a good idea to let the beer sit in the primary fermenter (on the trub) for more than 3 weeks. If it sits in primary for too much longer than that you are risking off flavors from the yeast starting to eating stuff in the trub.

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Old 03-19-2011, 05:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BBL_Brewer View Post
However, It's not a good idea to let the beer sit in the primary fermenter (on the trub) for more than 3 weeks. If it sits in primary for too much longer than that you are risking off flavors from the yeast starting to eating stuff in the trub.

Hope This Helps
Maybe a long time ago this was a concern. However, autolysis on the homebrewing scale has been debunked many, many times.

I left a brown ale in the primary, on the yeast, for 2 full months; and it scored a 45 at a BCJP competition....

Yeast these days are healthier and purer; a long primary isn't a real concern...
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:31 PM   #5
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I agree with those above, let it sit for at least 3-4 weeks. In my personal (limited) experience, beers benefit greatly from a couple extra weeks in primary. I bottled two beers recently, one at 2 weeks in primary, one at 4. The first one has quite a bit of sediment & tasted fairly green going into bottles. The second one has no sediment & tasted fantastic going into bottles. I can only attribute this to the extra time in primary cleaning up the flavor & giving the crap time to settle out. There were no yeasty flavors from the one that sat in primary for a month, it was fantastic tasting. I hope all my homebrews are that good.

If you don't have the patience to wait that long, brew some more beer, or go buy some good stuff to drink. Your beer will thank you.

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Old 03-19-2011, 06:40 PM   #6
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If you bottle, I am just wondering if bottling and letting it sit in bottles for the equivalent time is not the same thing as leaving it to condition in the fermentor.

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Old 03-19-2011, 06:45 PM   #7
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It is not as effective if you bottle it, since you are taking it off of the yeast. Leaving it on the yeast for 3-4 weeks minimum will improve just about every style of beer out there.

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Old 03-19-2011, 07:15 PM   #8
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It is not as effective if you bottle it, since you are taking it off of the yeast. Leaving it on the yeast for 3-4 weeks minimum will improve just about every style of beer out there.
I totally agree! I have made the mistake twice of racking the beer as soon as it hits terminal gravity. Both times I was trying to keg and have ready to share at a specific event. Both times the beers were full of green apple (acetaldehyde) and hardly drinkable. I was incredibly disappointed and have learned my lesson. My rule of thumb is leaving it in primary twice to three times as long as it takes to get to terminal gravity. Minimum of 10 days, but 14-21 is best.
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:27 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by commonsenseman View Post
I agree with those above, let it sit for at least 3-4 weeks. In my personal (limited) experience, beers benefit greatly from a couple extra weeks in primary. I bottled two beers recently, one at 2 weeks in primary, one at 4. The first one has quite a bit of sediment & tasted fairly green going into bottles. The second one has no sediment & tasted fantastic going into bottles. I can only attribute this to the extra time in primary cleaning up the flavor & giving the crap time to settle out. There were no yeasty flavors from the one that sat in primary for a month, it was fantastic tasting. I hope all my homebrews are that good.

If you don't have the patience to wait that long, brew some more beer, or go buy some good stuff to drink. Your beer will thank you.
I got a Duvel clone that just past 3 1/2 months in primary. No bugs floating around and the yeast cake still looks fairly healthy. Doesn't smell bad either. This is the longest I've left a brew in primary. I'm not worried.
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:41 PM   #10
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Is the yeast cake on the top or the bottom? I am not sure of the terminology.
When I ferment I see the trub at the bottom and then a white layer of yeast on top of the hop/break trub as the yeast settles. The top yeast cake, kruasen, drops pretty quickly after the ramp up fermentation.


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I got a Duvel clone that just past 3 1/2 months in primary. No bugs floating around and the yeast cake still looks fairly healthy. Doesn't smell bad either. This is the longest I've left a brew in primary. I'm not worried.
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