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Old 03-25-2012, 02:33 AM   #1
TomToro
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Default Big beers long, Small beers short?

I'm trying to get a handle on conditioning times for different types/gravities of beer.

Is it safe to assume that most larger (higher gravity OG) beers take a lot longer to condition than a lower gravity beer or is that too generalized?

If it is o.k. to assume this, then are there certain conditioning times that can be associated with certain og gravities?

eg.<1.050-4 weeks conditioning
>1.050-8 weeks conditioning or whatever?

Is there a chart somewhere that suggests conditioning times in the bottle for various beers?

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Old 03-25-2012, 02:44 AM   #2
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Never seen a chart for how long it should take for your batch (by OG) to become ready to drink.

I think it's more of a personal model than anything else, although many of us seem to follow along the same lines (or very similar ones).

Personally, any batches under 1.065 get 3-4 weeks in primary/fermenter before going to keg. IF there's an opening in the brew fridge, and I've decided one of the batches kegs (I fill two 3 gallon kegs [normally] from each batch) is going there, then it goes in and carbonates over 2 weeks time. The other part of the batch stays outside of the brew fridge until I decide to put it in there.
Batches that are over ~1.070 get 4-8 weeks in fermenter (depends on the OG, batch, recipe, etc.) and then either go to keg, or transferred for aging on oak, or something else (that works better off the yeast cake). The rules/guidelines there are very fuzzy. It really depends on what you're doing with the batch. But, once it's otherwise ready to go to glass (other than carbonation) it goes to kegs. Then the same rules apply as for the other batches.

There are some people that have had relatively low OG batches take extensive times to bottle carbonate. I've also had batches that were of higher OG take the normally described 3 weeks at 70F to carbonate. Since I don't bottle (when I did bottle), or keg before the flavors are right, I don't really worry about conditioning time in bottle/keg. This actually works out pretty well for me since it allows me to cycle through my kegs easier and not have ones tied up just conditioning for an extended time frame. It's easier for me to leave fermenters occupied, since I have several.

If you want to learn more, I would suggest getting a few books. Designing Great Beers is one, another is Yeast... There's also books on specific styles of brews that you can pick up to give you better ideas on them.

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Old 03-25-2012, 03:41 AM   #3
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There is a great diagram here

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Old 03-25-2012, 03:47 AM   #4
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Before I clicked on that link, I KNEW it was one of Revvy's posts... LOL... It's about as close to a 'chart' as you're likely to find too.

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Old 03-25-2012, 05:48 AM   #5
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I think it all depends on your tastes. For me, I keg after two to three weeks. I generally brew pale ales and lighter.

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Old 03-25-2012, 12:01 PM   #6
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Since it's an organic process, and there are so many variable involved, type of yeast, amount of yeast, type of grains, water chemistry, temp of beer, whether the grain bill has a lot of dark malts, phases of the moon, etc, there's no way to really "chart" it.

We're not really the boss of this stuff, we're really only in charge of the grain bill, and providing a nice, clean, temp controlled "factory" (fermenter) for the REAL bosses to do the work, the yeast. And they don't read recipes, or instruction, or calendars.

Anything we suggest is a guestimate, based on experience, and usually an average minimum at best. Like the chart shows, higher grav beers take longer than lower grav beers, but exactly how long? You just gotta try one every few weeks to see. But you got to be realistic. There's not point in trying that 1.090 Barleywine, after a week or two or 5, if you're serious about it, then you just gotta put it aside and not touch them for 6 months or more. That way when you do start drinking them, then you won't only have 1 or 2 left, because you just had to "check on it."



A beer takes exactly as long as it needs to be drinkable.

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Old 03-25-2012, 02:14 PM   #7
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^makes sense. I was just hoping there was a general guideline. I do like the 'be realistic' statement. I did try a 1.090(coincidentally) after 3 in the fermenter and 4 in the bottle and it was paint thinner. I decided to take the remaining bottles to the cellar and forget about 'em.

Thanks for the help, Folks.

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