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Old 09-09-2012, 02:22 PM   #1
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Default Secondary vs. bottle conditioning?

I have a couple beers fermenting that will benefit with a little more aging: Brewer's Best Pumpkin Spice Porter and Imperial Pale Ale. With the Porter, I used the whole spice pack and everyone says it needs 2-3 months for the spice to mellow out and develop depth when you use the whole pack. On the Imperial Pale Ale everyone says a great beer but it's very big (1.081-5 starting) and benefits with some aging.

Question: what are the pros/cons affects of aging beer in a secondary vs. in the bottle? I've been leaving most of my beers for at least 3 weeks in the primary and keeping the ferm temps (all ales) in the mid to low 60's (have chest freezer/ferm chamber with a controller). Does the beer condition differently in bulk (carboy) with no carbonation vs. in the bottle? I know more time in the carboy will let it settle out more and I should end up with less sediment in the bottle in theory. But will it condition faster in one vessel/stage than another? Would like to go ahead and bottle one of them to free up my secondary for the other.

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Old 09-09-2012, 04:13 PM   #2
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First off... what in the world is an Imperial Pale Ale? Did you mean India Pale Ale? Imperial IPA?

For aging, and in my experience, it doesn't really matter much whether you keep it all in one container or in bottles; either way, particulates fall out, which is what you're looking for. If I were a bottler, I'd bottle it to free up my fermenter. Cheers!

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Old 09-09-2012, 04:20 PM   #3
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It's supposed to be close to stone arrogant bastard. Pretty much a double pale ale, big and malty and hoppy. About 8%+.

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Old 09-09-2012, 04:39 PM   #4
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I would leave the brews in primary for the duration. For bigger brews (north of 7%) I let them stay in primary longer. While I will age some brews in another vessel, when aging for an extended period (several months) and on something that works best off the yeast (or out of primary), that is rather rare.

I would leave your brews in bulk form until the flavors are to the point where they're either ready to drink, or damned close. Rushing to bottle is a noob mistake. Also understand that your high ABV brews can/will take longer to bottle carbonate. It's the nature of the beast. The minimum time frame is 3 weeks at 70F... Bigger brews can take many times that.

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Old 09-09-2012, 05:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie
I would leave the brews in primary for the duration. For bigger brews (north of 7%) I let them stay in primary longer. While I will age some brews in another vessel, when aging for an extended period (several months) and on something that works best off the yeast (or out of primary), that is rather rare.

I would leave your brews in bulk form until the flavors are to the point where they're either ready to drink, or damned close. Rushing to bottle is a noob mistake. Also understand that your high ABV brews can/will take longer to bottle carbonate. It's the nature of the beast. The minimum time frame is 3 weeks at 70F... Bigger brews can take many times that.
Trying to free up a primary for a new batch (have two buckets) but secondary (carboy) is full. So putting my porter that needs to be aged longer in a bottle after 18 days (9 in primary and 9 in secondary) is what I'm trying to decide.
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Bottled: Weizenbier, LaChouffe Clone, La Fin Du Monde Clone, Cottage House Oaked Saison with Chardonnay

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Old 09-09-2012, 05:29 PM   #6
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When I used to do my 9% ales I would do a week in the secondary dry hopping then age in the bottle for at least 6 weeks...no issues

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Old 09-09-2012, 05:30 PM   #7
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Might be annoying but either another secondary or primary could be bought. Buckets are pretty cheap. Bulk aging/conditioning moves all the beer forward at the same rate. Bottle conditioning can lead to one being ready before the others. Either way will work.

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Old 09-09-2012, 05:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2xu View Post
Trying to free up a primary for a new batch (have two buckets) but secondary (carboy) is full. So putting my porter that needs to be aged longer in a bottle after 18 days (9 in primary and 9 in secondary) is what I'm trying to decide.
Simple solution...

Get... more... primaries...

I have three full batch size fermenters for beer (7.75 gallon capacity) plus two aging vessels (6.6 gallon capacity). I also have one 13.3 gallon capacity primary for my higher volume batches. On top of that, I have six primaries (5 gallon capacity) for my batches of mead.

As mentioned, I don't secondary since I have no need to. I leave batches in primary for 3+ weeks (bigger brews get longer) and don't worry about it at all. The reason some give is to get their batch to clear via racking to a secondary. IMO, that's bunk... Especially if you're smart about your yeast selection. Even then, give it long enough and it will clear just fine. The yeast I use for the vast majority of my batches is rated as either high, or very high, in flocculation. So, within 3-4 weeks, it's settled out really well and I can transfer to keg when I decide/wish (depends on the brew).

I've also dry hopped in primary with solid results. I opt to dry hop in keg now though. IMO, it's better that way. Since you get the hop flavor/aroma for the entire keg, and don't need to worry about how long the hops are left in there (at serving temperatures). I add them to the keg just before it goes into the brew fridge to chill/carbonate.
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Old 09-09-2012, 05:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaconga
Might be annoying but either another secondary or primary could be bought. Buckets are pretty cheap. Bulk aging/conditioning moves all the beer forward at the same rate. Bottle conditioning can lead to one being ready before the others. Either way will work.
I agree but A. If I spend much more $ on equipment SWMBO might kill me and B. my chest freezer converted to ferm chamber can fit three buckets/carboys and I already have two buckets and a carboy.

Oh the problems I have since embarking on this hobby. Maybe I will just drink some o my totally awesome rye pale ales that are ready and fahgitabowtit!
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On Deck:
Primary: Oktoberfest, Mojave Red
Secondary: Roggen 'n Rollin
On tap: Turbo DIPA, 68' Wheat (Watermelon), Naked American Wheat, Sightless Swine IPA, Petite Saison d'ete, Caramel Apple Cider
Bottled: Weizenbier, LaChouffe Clone, La Fin Du Monde Clone, Cottage House Oaked Saison with Chardonnay

Text to SWMBO: "Honey I'm having one more pint with the guys, be home in 20 minutes. If I'm not home by then, read this message again."
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Old 09-09-2012, 06:34 PM   #10
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I age in the bottle. It works just fine!

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