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Old 01-06-2013, 04:01 PM   #1
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Default Timing Question

Hey gang, I'm switching over to kegging this coming week and I had a question regarding timing of fermenting/conditioning/aging. I am extract brewing using NB kits(which are great!) and was trying to figure out the best way to go about it..

Question is..

If a recipe calls for 2 weeks primary/2 weeks secondary/2 weeks bottle conditioning(then refrigerate and serve) and I am planning to keg, would it be the same as 6 weeks in primary then straight to keg(to chill/carb then serve)?

I understand that people have different ways of reaching the end goal, but was just wondering if essentially this would create the same fermenting & conditioning/aging as if I followed a recipe timing to the letter(using the bottling method)?

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Old 01-06-2013, 05:39 PM   #2
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You don't have to go that long. I only went that long when I was bottling. Unless I have a really big beer I ferment for 7-9 days and then keg it. I never bought into the whole 2-2-2 thing or whatever it was. I've been scolded by other brewers for not conforming. Every beer I've brewed has came out better than the last. But if you're dead set on it then you could ferment for two weeks then keg. Whether or not you slow keg for a week or fast carb overnight is up to you

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Old 01-06-2013, 05:45 PM   #3
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You don't have to go that long. I only went that long when I was bottling. Unless I have a really big beer I ferment for 7-9 days and then keg it. I never bought into the whole 2-2-2 thing or whatever it was. I've been scolded by other brewers for not conforming. Every beer I've brewed has came out better than the last. But if you're dead set on it then you could ferment for two weeks then keg. Whether or not you slow keg for a week or fast carb overnight is up to you
My concern with doing it that fast is that my beer will still be "green" from not having enough time to mature.. I'd love to get my beer done faster just like any new homebrewer, but if leaving it longer to mature is the best way to do it, then I'll go ahead and wait.

thanks for you input
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:49 PM   #4
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Wait until the batch is ready to go to glass, except for carbonation, then keg it and carbonate via the slower method (2+ weeks at serving pressure and temperature). Some batches will be in primary longer than others. It all depends on what you make and how you ferment it (temperatures it ferments at).

IMO/IME, you can let a batch go longer in primary, then go direct to keg without issue. If you have super-tight temperature control over the fermentation process, then you could reduce the time from pitch to keg.

BTW, it's commonly known that most kits time scales are loose guides (at best, flat out wrong at worst). Too many factors play a part in how long a batch needs to be all that it can be.

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Old 01-06-2013, 05:59 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
Wait until the batch is ready to go to glass, except for carbonation, then keg it and carbonate via the slower method (2+ weeks at serving pressure and temperature). Some batches will be in primary longer than others. It all depends on what you make and how you ferment it (temperatures it ferments at).

IMO/IME, you can let a batch go longer in primary, then go direct to keg without issue. If you have super-tight temperature control over the fermentation process, then you could reduce the time from pitch to keg.

BTW, it's commonly known that most kits time scales are loose guides (at best, flat out wrong at worst). Too many factors play a part in how long a batch needs to be all that it can be.
I guess this is the issue though.. as a new brewer, I don't quite have the knowledge yet to know when a batch is truely "done" and ready to be bottled/kegged. So for now I am happy following the kit instructions and Northern Brewer seems to have a better grip on timing then some of the other generic kits I've looked at.

So I guess what I am looking for is the best way to "convert" the kit instructions timeline to skipping the secondary and bottling timing, and just doing a longer primary and kegging. If they are recommending 4 weeks from brew to fridge, should I do 4 weeks primary then keg.. kinda what I was thinking but not sure if that would be the best way.

thanks!
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by carlk47 View Post
I guess this is the issue though.. as a new brewer, I don't quite have the knowledge yet to know when a batch is truely "done" and ready to be bottled/kegged. So for now I am happy following the kit instructions and Northern Brewer seems to have a better grip on timing then some of the other generic kits I've looked at.

So I guess what I am looking for is the best way to "convert" the kit instructions timeline to skipping the secondary and bottling timing, and just doing a longer primary and kegging.
Use your hydrometer to see when it's done fermenting and then taste the sample. Do that enough times and you'll start to understand what to look for in a batch.

If you detect ZERO off flavors in a batch, then it's ready to go to keg. Many of the off flavors of young beer will age out. Aging them out is done faster at room temp than in the keg fridge.

IMO/IME, those that post up short times from boil to keg/bottle have fermentation chambers, or are able to keep the beer in the ideal temperature range during fermentation. The majority of newer brewers (and a good number of those who have been doing this for a while) don't have fermentation chambers. If you have a cool enough basement, you can use that. You'll just need to monitor the temps of the batch to make sure it doesn't get too warm inside. Ambient air temp is NOT the same as beer fermenting temperatures. It's common to see the fermenting beer temp 5-10F higher than ambient.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:07 PM   #7
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I typically go 4 weeks in the primary then in to the keg and it's put on the low and slow carb schedule. I don't pull a sample glass for at least 7-10 days.

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Old 01-06-2013, 06:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
Use your hydrometer to see when it's done fermenting and then taste the sample. Do that enough times and you'll start to understand what to look for in a batch.

If you detect ZERO off flavors in a batch, then it's ready to go to keg. Many of the off flavors of young beer will age out. Aging them out is done faster at room temp than in the keg fridge.

IMO/IME, those that post up short times from boil to keg/bottle have fermentation chambers, or are able to keep the beer in the ideal temperature range during fermentation. The majority of newer brewers (and a good number of those who have been doing this for a while) don't have fermentation chambers. If you have a cool enough basement, you can use that. You'll just need to monitor the temps of the batch to make sure it doesn't get too warm inside. Ambient air temp is NOT the same as beer fermenting temperatures. It's common to see the fermenting beer temp 5-10F higher than ambient.
I do have a nice area in my basement setup as a "fermentation" area.. the ambient air is usually between 59-63 degrees(I've been keeping track of high and low temps with a digital thermometer) and my beers are hanging at about 62 degrees AFTER primary fermentation is over. They usually get no higher than 66-68 during main fermentation so I am pretty happy with that.

For not having a fermentation chamber I think this setup is working pretty good so far.

Golddiggie, I think my main problem is I am a very analytical person and always like to have a perfect gameplan for each batch that I do. I am slowly learning to let go of that and use my "senses"(and hydrometer) to know when my batches are done, but I'm still learning

I do like the idea of letting the primary last longer so that my yeast can cleanup and let the beer mature out, and I will follow your advice and start tasting my beers as they get older to see if I can taste when they are clean and done.

thanks!
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by carlk47 View Post
I do have a nice area in my basement setup as a "fermentation" area.. the ambient air is usually between 59-63 degrees(I've been keeping track of high and low temps with a digital thermometer) and my beers are hanging at about 62 degrees AFTER primary fermentation is over. They usually get no higher than 66-68 during main fermentation so I am pretty happy with that.

For not having a fermentation chamber I think this setup is working pretty good so far.

Golddiggie, I think my main problem is I am a very analytical person and always like to have a perfect gameplan for each batch that I do. I am slowly learning to let go of that and use my "senses"(and hydrometer) to know when my batches are done, but I'm still learning

I do like the idea of letting the primary last longer so that my yeast can cleanup and let the beer mature out, and I will follow your advice and start tasting my beers as they get older to see if I can taste when they are clean and done.

thanks!
Depending on the yeast strain 66-68F could be too warm.

I use a thermowell with a sensor down it (display is usually on the fermenting vessel) to give me the inside temp.

Giving a brew more time also leads to more yeast flocculation, which will result in a clearer brew to the glass. Of course, I tend to use yeasts rated at least 'high' in flocculation in my batches. Makes for a more compact yeast cake, which makes for easier transfers too.

IME, over analyzing brews will only lead to increased frustration. Far better to just RDWHAHB.
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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
On Deck: Caramel Ale
Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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