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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > How long to let stout ferment
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Old 05-02-2008, 05:50 PM   #1
flyboy
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Default How long to let stout ferment

I'm going to make an Imperial Stout and have never made one before. I usually let my Hefy and Kolsch go for about 10-14 days before I bottle it. But the stout will have a higher gravity then both of those. How long should I let it sit? Would 21-28 day work or do I need to let it sit longer. I haven't started it yet but want to plan my schedule so I can have the time needed for it. Also, the recipe calls for 1 lb of dark brown sugar. I've read that adding a little molasses helps give that nice chocolate/coffee flavor that I'm after. What do you suggest and how much to I add? Thanks in advance.

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Old 05-02-2008, 05:54 PM   #2
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Just going to answer of the "how long". You have a hydrometer? well after you can see that the most active fermentation has stopped then wait a day or do and take a reading. If its at the predicted fg then its done. especially with adding that brown sugar it might take a little bit longer for it to finish

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Old 05-02-2008, 05:55 PM   #3
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I'd let it ferment until it is finished....and your hydro will be the key to figuring out where it is in the process.

The fermentation chapter in How to Brew has a lot of useful info:

http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter8.html

You might want to check out this thread:
http://homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=43014

Beer doesn't have a calendar or schedule.

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Old 05-02-2008, 07:21 PM   #4
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My recommendation for an imperial stout or other really big beer is 1 month in the primary, and a second month or more in a secondary (preferably glass or a Better Bottle). Really big beers take time to mellow out and really become good. Early on the flavors will be harsh as less complex.

In general my normal beers I leave in the bucket for 3 weeks then bottle.

Craig

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Old 05-02-2008, 07:31 PM   #5
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On all beers you should transfer to the secondary when you have reached the final gravity. You can aquire off flavors (some minor, some not) if you leave the beer on the sediment too long. You want the beer to taste it's optimal best.

There is also no real need to leave the beer in the secondary for a long time either. Bottle once the beer is clear (if it doesn't clear within 10 days transfer again to get rid of the sediment, and let set another week). Beers that are this big do need to age for extra time. The beer can condition in the bottles or keg away from all of the sediment.

Forrest

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Old 05-02-2008, 11:25 PM   #6
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Thanks guys for you advise. I have a hydrometer and use it when I brew anyway before I bottle. I'm just wondering how long should I expect to let it work. It sounds to me like I need about a month. Test it then for my FG. I just don't want to be testing every week it I need to wait a month. Thanks

Lyle

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Old 05-03-2008, 05:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyboy
I've read that adding a little molasses helps give that nice chocolate/coffee flavor that I'm after. What do you suggest and how much to I add?
Brown sugar is just white cane sugar with molasses added. If your recipe already calls for brown sugar, I would not add molasses also. If you want more molasses flavor, choose the dark brown sugar over the light brown.
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Old 05-03-2008, 12:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyboy
Thanks guys for you advise. I have a hydrometer and use it when I brew anyway before I bottle. I'm just wondering how long should I expect to let it work. It sounds to me like I need about a month. Test it then for my FG. I just don't want to be testing every week it I need to wait a month. Thanks

Lyle
Month? More than likely it will reach FG way before that. Your hydro is the key to finding out....
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