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Old 03-22-2007, 04:54 AM   #1
levandr
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Default Aging the Beer

My first batch was (actually still is but only a few left) a German Oktoberfest. Primary straight to the bottle; about a week in primary, 3 weeks in the bottle before I cracked the first one open. Damn good if I don't say so myself. I am using Brewer's Best extract kits for now to get the process down pat.

I have a question about aging. How much aging is enough? If I use a secondary, does that help age the beer or just contribute to clarity? I ask because my first batch has gotten better over the past few weeks. Can I skip the "past few weeks" by using a secondary or should I still wait 4-6 weeks after bottling to get a vastly improved taste? And, quite frankly, I don't care about clarity at this point. I prefer dark beers (stouts, porters) so clarity is usually not an issue.

I currently have an Irish Stout in bottles that I can't wait to open. Just under 2 weeks to go.

Thanks all. This forum is great.

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Old 03-22-2007, 05:13 AM   #2
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Bulk aging, i.e. in a secondary, cask, or keg, will age the beer better. You get a more consistent product.

How much aging you need depends on your O.G. and the complexity of the flavors in your beer. I bought a barley wine, which I presume was aged a few months before it was sold. It tasted a lot better after it sat in my celler for another 3 months.

Most of my beers taste best after 5 weeks in the bottle and that includes 2 weeks in a secondary. Most of mine are dark ales or are fruit beers. I've only had one that tasted great after 3 weeks in the bottle. But it tasted great straight out of the brew pan.

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Old 03-22-2007, 05:15 AM   #3
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While im only on my second batch, from what i have seen and read on this site the secondary is primarily for clarifying. Two weeks in the secondary allows everything left over from the primary to settle out. Aging in the bottle allows for better carbonation and therefore better beer. However, the taste will improve over time whether you use a secondary or not. I have also read that if you are not using a secondary its usually a good idea to leave your beer in the primary fermenter for two weeks or so to allow for some clarification. Most of the people around here recommend the use of a secondary, but its up to you. Good luck brewing ... hope that next beer of yours turns out a good as the first.

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Old 03-22-2007, 05:21 AM   #4
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My first brew was exactly the same, although you had a weeks more patience than me for tasting the first 1. Being a new brewer myself, I can only equate what I've gleaned so far. Secondary ferm is mostly for clearing and conditioning. It helps you get another batch in the primary fermenter as well. My local homebrew store purveyor told me he only secondaries for light lagers (once a year). Do a search and see what you can come up with. This is certainly one of those opinionated questions. Some say yea, some say nay. I'm going to bottle my APA after 13 days in the primary. Gonna sample 1 at 1 week, 1 at 2 weeks, and share with my family at 3 weeks in the bottle. I'm sure many folks will disagree with me & a few will agree. My beer does't need to be clear either! I'm pretty sure bottle conditioning does about the same as second. cond . Good luck Bro!! RR

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Old 03-22-2007, 07:34 AM   #5
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I just need the space. Gotta use that primary bucket for more beers!

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Old 03-22-2007, 03:30 PM   #6
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As others have mentioned the secondary is primarily for clarifying and aging. I like to keep my beers in the secondary a little longer than the normal 1-2-3 rule (unless I am running low on brew) as I have found it makes for better beer (my stout sat in secondary for 3 weeks, after 2 in the bottle it was carbed and ready to drink - best beer so far).

All the aging lengths you will hear people talk about refer to the age from brew day (hence the 1-2-3 rule means beer is ready 6 weeks after brew day). While it is important to get your beer off the yeast cake (within a month and you're fine), it can sit in the secondary for longer (just look at how long lagers sit).

Aging in the secondary won't make your beer age faster however, time is still time; give it a minimum of 6 weeks from brew day before cracking one open and try to save some for a few months down the line, you'll be glad you did.

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Old 03-22-2007, 03:56 PM   #7
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Thanks all for the information/opinions.

Figured I would get "wait 6 weeks no matter what" responses. First batch was difficult to wait on...this is why I want 3 beers in rotation at some stage.

Next batch gets secondary.

Patience is a virtue but I like beer.

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Old 03-22-2007, 04:06 PM   #8
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Time is the answer. Patience is the virtue.

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Old 03-22-2007, 05:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levandr
Thanks all for the information/opinions.

Figured I would get "wait 6 weeks no matter what" responses. First batch was difficult to wait on...this is why I want 3 beers in rotation at some stage.

Next batch gets secondary.

Patience is a virtue but I like beer.
Don't worry, it definitely gets easier to wait once you have some brew on hand.
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Old 06-27-2013, 02:36 PM   #10
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Does anyone know any recipes using a combo of grain for steeping and malt extract to make a beer that is ideal for aging for years? I was thinking along the lines of barley wine or a braggot recipe I have with an ABV of 12%. Also looking for anyone who has alot of know how in how to age beer long term.

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