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Old 05-08-2011, 02:04 AM   #1
sandwichking
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Default How long must I wait?

Can anyone tell me where to find a good resource which will tell me how long I should wait before kegging my beer? Other than watching my final gravity bottom out, how do I know how long to wait for the best flavors, aromas etc. based on style, gravity, or ingredients? I've noticed some kits or recipes come with time lines, others don't. Some of my brews taste best young, some after a few months. Is there any kind of guidelines or is it all based on trial and error?

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Old 05-08-2011, 03:07 AM   #2
avidhomebrewer
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There is no clear-cut answer. It all depends upon the recipe, amount of yeast pitched, fermentation temperatures, etc. Your best bet is to wait longer than you think, then bottle, wait about a month, then sample.

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Old 05-08-2011, 03:13 AM   #3
lumpher
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i wait for a stable fg, wait another week, carb for a week or 2, then let it sit until i think it's ready

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Old 05-08-2011, 03:16 AM   #4
JBmadtown
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I can't say I'm an expert or have a reference, but here are my thoughts.

- hop aromas, phenolics, and esters fade with time
So, for beers that highlight these characteristics are better young (some ipas and weizens).

- malt character becomes more prominent as those above fade
I have found scottish ales and other malty beers need some time to let the hop bitterness mellow.

- The higher the OG and ABV the longer everthing needs to come together.

In the end, it does become what you like personally. That is the beauty of homebrewing. Thief a little every week or prime and bottle a 12 pack and try them weekly. When it is what you want carb and drink.

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Old 05-08-2011, 03:29 AM   #5
Pezman1
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It is like you said. There are some beers that fermentation time is approximated due to style, ingedients, or gravity. However, this is always an approximation.

As home brewers, we simply do not have the technology, equipment, or resources that a major brewery has. These brewers can get fermentation times, lagering, etc, down to the day.

We hobbyists simply have "guidlines" based on the things you mentioned -style, O.G., ingredients, etc.

I prefer to use the term "experience", rather than "trial and error" here. I have found I can generally assume when a certain gravity/style beer brewed with a certain yeast will finish. Not to the day, but I can usually say, "this beer will probably finish in three weeks, but this one seems to need six." In addition, many kits/recipes will give an approximate ready time.

As far as best flavor goes, this is very subjective. I have found, however, that I have never had a bad experience giving beer additional time. for example, my English Pale Ale was finished at three weeks, but I have found that letting this beer sit another week in primary improved the taste, err...at least to me. Pez.

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