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Old 10-05-2012, 03:44 AM   #1
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Default Bottle condition time for competition

Looking for a general consensus. I'm convinced that aging my porter in the secondary is best, so I want to leave it there as long as possible. But in taking it down to the wire, how much time should I leave for carb/condition in the bottle? I've always found two to three weeks to be sufficient, but don't want flat sweet beer. Thoughts? I was thinking three weeks.

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Old 10-05-2012, 11:33 AM   #2
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I would give the more time than the standard 3 weeks. 3 weeks is pretty much the minimal amount of time that it takes for the yeast to repeat the fermentation cycle, co2 to produced, and then become forced into the beer. Beers that are darker and stronger take even more time. I have a baltic porter thats been bottled for 7 weeks and is still not fully carb'ed. In addition, you want the yeast to form a nice tight sediment layer on the bottom of the glass so when the judges pour the beer (multiple times) they are not going to kick up a ton of yeast. Also make sure you clean your bottles better than you ever have before (I would use new bottles), and fill them correctly. I have entered 2 competitions (1 award!) and they will dock you for points if the bottle is filled to high or to low. Silly but true. Good luck!

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Old 10-05-2012, 11:53 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradleyBrew View Post
I would give the more time than the standard 3 weeks. 3 weeks is pretty much the minimal amount of time that it takes for the yeast to repeat the fermentation cycle, co2 to produced, and then become forced into the beer. Beers that are darker and stronger take even more time. I have a baltic porter thats been bottled for 7 weeks and is still not fully carb'ed. In addition, you want the yeast to form a nice tight sediment layer on the bottom of the glass so when the judges pour the beer (multiple times) they are not going to kick up a ton of yeast. Also make sure you clean your bottles better than you ever have before (I would use new bottles), and fill them correctly. I have entered 2 competitions (1 award!) and they will dock you for points if the bottle is filled to high or to low. Silly but true. Good luck!
No, they don't dock you if it's filled too high or too low! It's noted on the scoresheet, but no points are subtracted for it.

I see no advantage to aging it in a clearing vessel over bottling it and aging it, though. I'd bottle sooner, rather than later, if the beer is clear. You just don't want a mile of sediment in the bottle that can get mixed up again during shipping to a competition.
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:05 PM   #4
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I've had judges say points aren't deducted for a low fill but I also have a scoresheet that says I would have got a little better score with a proper fill level! That particular beer was 1/2 a point from winning gold in the IPA category and was nominated for beat in show which the IPA that beat mine eventually won. I bottle from a keg so I can't comment on conditioning time but I definitely make sure they are full now!

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Old 10-05-2012, 12:55 PM   #5
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Sorry, yes it was just a comment.

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Old 10-07-2012, 11:35 PM   #6
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Thanks all. Bottled today. Should have just shy of 5 weeks in the bottle. I wish I'd had more time in the secondary, but I think the consensus is that there's no sense in shorting the bottle condition/carb time. Now to see what comes out the other end... And what judges think.

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Old 10-07-2012, 11:40 PM   #7
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Good luck!

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Old 12-04-2012, 12:06 AM   #8
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Scored a 30. 6/10, 6/10, 7/10 on the overall impressions. Thought the judges were dead on with their comments (thin mouthfeel and hoppier than stylistically should be) but my favorite was this: "an utterly drinkable beer." That's ever been my goal, so mission accomplished.

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