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Old 04-02-2012, 12:21 AM   #1
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Default How long primary/2dary/bottle condition "Belgian Abbey"

I am doing this recipe from my local shop, this is only my 3rd brew all from this shop. I note that the shop has very short primary and secondary recommended in comparison to what I am reading here. I've already extended them with my second batch but that was just guesswork. Wondering what you would do with this and why (and note, I already have in the primary so no recipe changes please).

7lbs British Light Malt extract
1 lb Belgian Pale Grain Malt cracked
12 oz Belgian Cara Vienne Grain malt cracked
8 oz Belgian Aromatic grain malt cracked
4 oz belgian Special B dark crystal
3 oz Fuggles/Goldings British Hop pellets (half 60 minutes half 30)
1 lb white sugar

liquid yeast, WhiteLabs Platinum Bastogne Belgian Ale Yeast

Recipe says 4 days primary, 4-7 days secondary, bottle condition for 1-2 weeks.

OG 1.070-72, FG 1.016-18

So this can be a learning experience, I'd like to know what you think on these times fermenting/2dy and conditioning, and more important WHY. And I see that most everyone here has tossed the 2dy, if there is a reason to do so here other than it's one less transfer of beer please let me know.

Thanks! (This site is awesome).

Mike

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Old 04-02-2012, 12:53 AM   #2
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Every thing i have read says to switch to secondary when fermentation slows. About 1 to 5 bubbles per min.. and let sit for two weeks. I like using the secondary because once you transfer and let it sit.. there's so much more sedimate sitting in the bottom. I deff like to get the least amount of sediment out of my bottles.Even if your carefull when transferring theres still stuff in there that needs to settle out...
Note: I am a beginner, and this is my opinion

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Old 04-04-2012, 03:49 PM   #3
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That is a generic timeline that *might* work for a lighter session beer *some/most* of the time.

It's not going to work for your huge Belgian beer. Give that thing at least 1 month in primary, 2-3 if you can handle it. It's going to take a long time for the yeast to ferment that much gravity. This is a big beer that needs a lot of time to ferment and condition. More time is always better. If you're in a rush with a Belgian Abbey style you're just going to be disappointed with the result.

You can also expect a month in bottles to carb. That slow carbing process is because the yeast already did so much work to ferment the beer to begin with. If you pitch another vial of yeast about 3-4 days prior to bottling it will greatly help that process along.

It's been reccomended on here many times before and I'll say it again, use a hydrometer. That's the only way you'll know when fermentation is done. Airlock bubble rates mean absolutely nothing.

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Old 04-05-2012, 12:30 AM   #4
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and it will take 6 months to a year to bottle condition to where it tastes Darn tooin, lip smacking, MMMmmm good beer!!

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Old 04-05-2012, 12:32 AM   #5
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With big beers, longer is better. You could follow the timeline in the recipe, and you would have beer, but it would probably not be good beer (at least not at first!) For best results, I think most people here will recommend at least a month of conditioning before bottling, and 3 weeks after bottling. I know it is hard to be patient (it is hard as heck for me!) but you will see steady improvement as the beer ages.

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Old 04-05-2012, 04:30 AM   #6
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I'm not going to argue with anyone here, they're right - longer is always better, but IMO 7.2% isn't THAT huge of a beer. I'd say a month in primary, skip secondary, and a month in bottles should be good. Might improve with more age but you can be the one to decide that. You really shouldn't need to pitch additional yeast at bottling either, unless you aged in secondary for multiple months, which I don't think you need to do for this one. Others may disagree...
I did a belgian blonde at 7%ish and thought it was great after 3 weeks fermenting and a month in the bottle. But that's just me!

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Old 04-07-2012, 03:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChessRockwell View Post
I'm not going to argue with anyone here, they're right - longer is always better, but IMO 7.2% isn't THAT huge of a beer. I'd say a month in primary, skip secondary, and a month in bottles should be good. Might improve with more age but you can be the one to decide that. You really shouldn't need to pitch additional yeast at bottling either, unless you aged in secondary for multiple months, which I don't think you need to do for this one. Others may disagree...
I did a belgian blonde at 7%ish and thought it was great after 3 weeks fermenting and a month in the bottle. But that's just me!
Chimay Red is 7% and tastes way better once its been aged over a year.. so i would say longer is better in this case.
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:52 PM   #8
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I'm not a fan of the ultra long primary. For my Belgians, they seem to be done within a week or so and I let them sit for about two-three weeks total, until completely clear. Then I package and let them age.

The reason for letting the beer sit in the fermenter for a bit after fermentation is done is because the yeast will keep active, looking for more to eat, and they will actually go back and digest their own waste products once the fermentable sugars are gone. But that process days a day or two, not weeks. Leaving the beer for a long time (over three weeks) in the fermenter can mean that the beer will start to pick up more yeast character which some people like (but I don't).

A good timeline for a tripel would two to three weeks in the fermenter, then racking to a clearing vessel (if using) or bottling. Let it sit at least three to four months in the bottle.

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Old 04-07-2012, 04:01 PM   #9
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I didn't know the much-talk-about "cleaning up after themselves" only takes a few days. Thanks! That means I can start drinking sooner.

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