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Old 05-08-2012, 12:48 AM   #1
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Default Aging/scheduling

Hi all, I'm finally able to brew on a regular basis and was wondering how long different styles take to mature. I would love always having some homebrew on hand and any info on this would be a great help in planning thanks

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Old 05-08-2012, 01:00 AM   #2
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Most styles are in the 2 to 4 week format. Anything higher OG, hence higher abv, will need longer. A barley wine that I just brewed I will keep in my carboy for 8 months or so.

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Old 05-08-2012, 01:13 AM   #3
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I have a 12% wee heavy aging on some oak cubes that I started in December (2011). It's been on the oak for almost three months now. In a few more weeks I plan to check on it (pulling a sample to taste). Then I'll decide what to do with it.

As posted already, lower OG brews are typically ready for drinking sooner than higher OG (or ABV%) brews. You can have a big brew that's not ready for the glass for well over a year. You can also have a low OG brew that's ready for glass in just a few weeks (plus carbonation time).

Personally, for bigger brews, I let the taste of it tell me when it's ready for bottle/keg and carbonation... So, there's really no set rules to go by.

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Old 05-08-2012, 01:28 AM   #4
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the fastest i've done a batch is 4 weeks - 2 weeks in primary and 2 weeks to carb. then again i don't try to get beers out as fast as possible. some people claim you can get a low alcohol, simple beer in a drinkable state in less than 2 weeks. for me, 5 or 6 weeks is more typical for an average beer.

i have a belgian strong (something over 9% abv) in secondary that i brewed 2 months ago. i will leave it alone for another 1 or 2 months before i taste it, and which point i'll decide if its ready. even if i declare it "ready", it'll certainly continue to improve with time. some stronger beers don't peek for 6 months, 12 months, or more.

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Old 05-08-2012, 01:30 AM   #5
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The fastest I've done a batch was about 2 months (much shorter when I first started brewing). It takes a lot of patience to let your beer age for the proper amount of time. For your average strength brew, excluding lambics and the like (~5%), I would say about a month of aging, give or take. As others have said, the stronger the beer, the longer it takes to age. But, the stronger the beer, typically the longer you can keep it.

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Old 05-08-2012, 01:33 AM   #6
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As the previous posters have mentioned, high alcohol=longer aging. Also note that hops fade with time, so consuming hop-forward pale ales and IPAs a little younger than normal may be beneficial, but let your palate guide you. Also, wheat beers like hefewiezens are supposed to be great fresh, so don't plan on aging them.

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Old 05-08-2012, 06:18 AM   #7
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Great thanks for the help. This being the first time I put anything on the forum I decided to brew a batch of BierMunchers Centennial Blonde to celebrate. Although in retrospect starting a brew session at 10pm probably isn't one of my brighter moves... Oh well no regrets =)

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Old 05-08-2012, 10:37 AM   #8
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I'm a noob learning from this post -- when you say "aging" you mean letting it sit in a secondary? Or bottle? Or primary (if you don't secondary)?

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Old 05-08-2012, 10:56 AM   #9
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Some let the beer bulk age in a secondary vessel. Others,like me,will let them age/carb/condition in bottles. I generally take about 2 months BK to glass with ales of 5% or lower. But my Whiskely ale took 9 weeks & 6 days to mature at 6.8%. They all benifit the most from 2 weeks fridge time for thicker head & longer lasting carbonation. The darker/higher ABV ales will def take 2 weeks fridge time to get decent head & carbonation. I think it takes longer not because of the higher level of alcohol in darker ales,but the higher level of unfermentables. Although both are contributing factors.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:53 PM   #10
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What Union said.

Also, keep in mind that when you bottle, you are kick starting another mini primary phase as the yeast attenuate the priming sugar. So if you move too early to bottles, you may still have some byproducts from the initial primary fermentation that makes the yeast working harder in the bottles. This is because they have to clean up the original fermentation byproducts plus those produced in carbing the beer. The result might be some off flavors. That's why most people wait at least two to three weeks before bottling.

If you have a high ABV beer, the amount of byproducts can be greater as more attenuation occurred when your yeast ate through all the sugars. That why you want to leave your beer in the primary or secondary longer to bulk age before moving to bottles when dealing either higher gravity beers.

You can bulk age in either vessel, but keep in mind that most people believe bulk aging in the primary past 3-4 weeks could start to produce off flavors because of autolysis (yeast dying) and perhaps also from the trub (proteins and hops). So if you think your beer needs more time to bulk age then you should consider racking to a secondary to continue your bulk aging. There's no hard and fast rule though, it's all based on your risk tolerance. I'm sure people have bulk aged in the primary for several months with no major problems.

FYI, anything after the primary attenuation phase is considering aging, whether that occurs in the primary, secondary, or bottles is based on the above factors and your risk tolerance for dealing with potential off flavors.

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