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Old 04-24-2013, 10:10 PM   #1
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Default Fermentaion Time

The conflicting info on fermentation time is really messing up my head..

I have grasped that most do not use a secondary anymore, which was hard to take as all my pre-brewing research taught me to do so. But now what is confusing me is fermentation time.

For example, yesterday I brewed a Midwest extract kit, the Hop Head Double IPA. The directions say it needs to age for 3 months, but I am readying reviews where people are drinking it from the keg after 3 weeks saying its amazing.. Why would they print 3 month aging if its ready to go in 3 weeks??

It seems to be like this everywhere I look nothing is ever constant, it all really depends on the person. I made a Hef about 10 days ago ago, reading that people are kegging it after a week, the directions say ready in 6 weeks... One guy left it in for I think 6+ months untouched due to a injury and he said it was the best beer ever??

I just dont understand this this short vs long aging? What does a long aging do that a short aging wont do if anything at all??

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Old 04-24-2013, 10:16 PM   #2
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I think its all preference. MOST beer is better aged , directions are going to try to give you a time that they feel the beer starts to taste its best. Some people are impatient and are ok with drinking it sooner. One think ive learned from brewing is patience. Its worth having better brew...!

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Old 04-24-2013, 10:25 PM   #3
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I think its all preference. MOST beer is better aged , directions are going to try to give you a time that they feel the beer starts to taste its best. Some people are impatient and are ok with drinking it sooner. One think ive learned from brewing is patience. Its worth having better brew...!
I agree completely. I was extremely impatient at first, but now take time. When I switched to kegging vice bottling, it was so I could sample it sooner. Now I take at a minimum 6 weeks from boiling to drinking. The quality of my beer has greatly improved.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:29 PM   #4
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First, remember that "fermentation time" isn't really what you're talking about. A well-made beer (proper temperature, ingredients, yeast pitching rate) will be done fermenting in about 5 days (or sooner) usually. Then, it takes 24-48 hours for the "clean up" phase before the yeast is done. After that, any more time in a fermenter is conditioning and clarifying time.

"Conditioning" time generally is short for simple, non complex, lower alcohol beers. But other beers that have complex flavors (like lots of roasted malts) can take a bit longer for the flavors to meld.

Most of my ales are very good by about day 21 after brewing. A few, like my oatmeal stout, need a bit more time. My Belgian tripel needed about 4 months to be really good, but continued to improve for 8 months.

Complex flavors are a part of it, but so is alcohol. Some higher alcohol beers can taste a bit "hot" or boozy until they age a bit.

Think of beer like wine. Some wines are perfectly good just a few weeks after being made. They are not complex and are not enhanced by aging. Other wines, notably big tannic reds, need age to really come into their own.

The same is true with beer. Most are ready pretty early, especially compared to wine! But a few notable exceptions might need more conditioning and aging to really shine.

I'm routinely drinking pale ales and IPAs by day 21. But for a Belgian tripel, I may not even sample until the beer is four months old. It really depends on the skill of the brewer, and the style of the beer.

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Old 04-24-2013, 11:22 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the info!

Since i plan on kegging 100% of what I make, is the un-drank portion in the keg still conditioning? Or once it leaves it primary/secondary is it no longer conditioning?

Right now I just want to get my kegerator (2 kegs) filled so I can quit buying commercial bottled beer, then once that happens I can work on making better batches

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Old 04-24-2013, 11:31 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the info!

Since i plan on kegging 100% of what I make, is the un-drank portion in the keg still conditioning? Or once it leaves it primary/secondary is it no longer conditioning?

Right now I just want to get my kegerator (2 kegs) filled so I can quit buying commercial bottled beer, then once that happens I can work on making better batches
It's not the vessel that does the job- it's generally the temperature.

Beer ages faster at room temperature, and colder temperatures slow that down. That's why beers are often "cellared"- to slow down the aging process and keep the beer at its peak. At fridge temps, beer aging slows way down. That's good- if you're drinking a great keg of beer and want it to remain as good as possible for as long as possible. But if you sample a beer and it needs some aging due to it tasting a bit "green" and young, pulling it out of the the kegerator will help it age a bit faster.
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