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Old 09-24-2012, 10:00 PM   #11
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It sounds more like I could be getting beers finished sooner though as I said my current batch of 15 days is still pretty cloudy. I'd never heard of a 3 week pitch to packaging guideline though.
Ah, but.......notice I said "a well made beer"? Now, I'm not saying yours is poorly made- far from it! But there are a couple of very important keys in that phrase "well made beer".

First, most homebrewers underpitch their yeast. Proper yeast pitch rates are crucial to having the beer fully attenuate, "clean up" after itself, and clear the beer. One smackpack or vial of liquid yeast is almost always underpitching. Making a starter is a huge part of this "well made beer".

Two, yeast temperature. This means pitching temperature first. Most newer brewers pitch their yeast WAY too hot. Some instructions say "pitch when under 80 degrees"! That's about 15 degrees too warm, or more.

Third, fermentation temperature. Many brewers ferment their ales too warm, often over 70 degrees. That might be "acceptable" for some yeast strains, but it's not optimum.

All three of those things speak to yeast health. I would say that the vast majority of issues with fermentation and off-flavors come from poor yeast health.

Pitching only one vial of liquid yeast at 75 degrees, and then letting the beer ferment at 75 degrees would almost always create off-flavors that need time to age out. My process is that I don't create those problems in the first place, so there is no need for problems to age out.

Some beers take a bit longer than others. I have an oatmeal stout that takes a couple of weeks longer for the flavors to meld. Beers with a high OG, or complex flavors, may need longer.

But a regular German, British or American ale with an OG of under about 1.065 or so should never need a long conditioning time if properly made. That's the a big "if", though!
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:08 PM   #12
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Good points Yooper. I didn't do a starter but I'm planning on doing one for possibly my next batch. As for the other pieces I think I tagged most pretty well. I cooled the wort to just below 70 before pitching and have been fermenting at a fairly steady 67 degrees.

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Old 09-24-2012, 10:22 PM   #13
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I think it's pretty tough to judge clarity in the fermenter. Small potatoes anyway; it's one of those things that happens more or less automatically based on your procedures earlier in the process.

And no, I don't taste samples along the way. I'll take a taste on bottling day; that's it.

Cheers!
How do you measure FG without taking a sample? I always pull some with a thief, measure FG, taste a bit, then pour it into a clear glass and set it in the fridge for a few hours to see how it clears when the yeast get crashed.
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:46 PM   #14
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My kegs showed up yesterday so now I'm tempted to get those setup and simply fill the first keg with my IPA this weekend. That would put the beer 21 days out from pitching. It sure seems like enough based on Yooper but I also didn't pitch 240billion cells or probably get enough O2 in the wort. I'll probably wait another week just to be sure I guess.

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