Originally Posted by jchap86
Thanks mate, I've bookmarked all the sites you have mentioned.. It'll be 1 week on Tuesday, was just a little worried if the sweetness is an indicator of the end product... how long have you been brewing for? Sounds like you have it all down pat! In saying about leaving it in primary fermenter for at least 3 weeks, what are the benefits if Im going to bottle and the FG stays the same for at least a day or 2 before bottling and leaving for at least another 3 weeks? Ive heard theres not too much point although not sure how good the source was
Did my first brew in September 2011. Didn't think it turned out too bad, at the time, but the last bottle, drunk at nearly exactly a year later, confirmed that it wasn't all that. main thing I learned from that brew was the importance of keeping fermentation temps controlled as best you can during the first few days. Probably about 35 to 40 Brews under my belt since then and still a relative beginner but turning out some beers that I'm really pleased with
My first All Grain, BIAB, brewed back in December, I set out to make something close to an old speckled/crafty hen. Drinking it right now. Fell a bit short of my goal but as far as flavour goes it's practically an exact clone of a Belhaven Twisted thistle IPA, (did a side by side taste test today) except that it has an ABV of about 6.9%.
With regards the three weeks from pitching yeast. Basically the initial fermentation phase (attenuation) is very often finished within a week and, technically, you could bottle there and then. BUT, if you give the yeast another few days, at a temperature that helps them stay active, they clean up the majority of off flavours and aromas (conditioning phase)caused by compounds that are by-products of the fermentation process and/or conditions that stressed the yeast. Giving it another bit longer will give the yeast time to settle/flocculate out and compact into a more solid trub in the bottom of the fermenter which helps you get a nice, clearer, beer going into the bottles.
After bottling, three weeks conditioning at about 20*C should see an average gravity beer attain a decent amount of carbonation and start to mature to the point where it is ready to drink. Depending on the type of beer it could be drunk after chilling in the fridge for another couple of days or so. Wheat beers, really hoppy IPAs and some other lighter gravity or low ABV beers come into that category. Higher ABV beers, porters, stouts can definitely mellow and become way better after a few months, or longer in some cases, of conditioning.
Essentially, the more patience you have, when it comes to popping the cap off a bottle and drinking the contents the bigger the rewards but, let's face it, waiting for your first few brews to achieve perfection isn't an easy task
I'd say that, by all means, throw a bottle into the fridge for a couple of days after a week of conditioning and give it a try, one at two weeks, one at three weeks etc, etc and see for yourself. Definitely try to go for three weeks of primary fermentation before bottling for your first couple of batches, though, as I'm reasonably sure it's a worthwhile strategy. After that, try some shorter primary fermentation schedules and see if the beer is up to par for you.