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Old 01-23-2010, 05:55 PM   #1
meisetsu33
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Default How long is too long for primary ferm.?

Hi folks! First time posting at this wonderful place.
I've been a quiet reader leading up to and after my first brewing process, and this place has really helped answer a LOT of my questions. Thank you!

So my first batch is an extra pale ale from an extract kit, and the brew is currently going through bottle conditioning (exactly two weeks).
My plan is to wait for three weeks of conditioning before I toss them in the fridge, but I've opened a "test" bottle once a week to see if the carbonation is going along.

So I'm trying the "test" bottle after two weeks, and I couldn't help but notice a sort of soapy, lingering bitterness in the after taste that I've never experienced before from pale ales. I did some research on soapy off flavors, and it seems that too long of a primary fermentation may cause breakdown of fat molecules to cause soapy tastes.

My primary fermentation was four weeks exactly, due to A. me having to leave the country for a bit and B. to clear out the beer a bit without a secondary.

My question: is four weeks of primary is too long, and whether this has caused the soapy taste? Or... if anything this is how the beer is supposed to taste.

I doubt this is how it is, since the "test" bottle after the first week did not have any soapy taste, and in fact it was delicious (with only a light carbonation as expected). It seems like the carbonation in this particular bottle is less than the one I had a week ago too.

For now, I'm going to leave these guys going for another week or more and see if the taste goes away, but it would be good to settle the question before I hastily jump into a second batch.

Thanks, and sorry for the long post!

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Old 01-23-2010, 06:02 PM   #2
JamesM
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I wouldn't worry about it, 4 weeks isn't all that long, in another 2 weeks of bottle conditioning, the flavor will clean its self up

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Old 01-23-2010, 06:08 PM   #3
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I agree just give it more time and it will be fine.

I usually do 6-8 weeks in the primary with no ill effects.

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Old 01-23-2010, 06:11 PM   #4
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Yea what they said. It's either still green, or could be due to how you cleaned the bottles.

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Old 01-23-2010, 06:15 PM   #5
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4 weeks is definitely NOT too long. If this is your first batch, force yourself to not drink them all so you can keep trying them as the weeks and months go on. It will probably "fix" itself in a few months.

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Old 01-23-2010, 06:21 PM   #6
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Welcome to HBT!

I consider 4 weeks the MINIMUM time in the primary.

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Old 01-24-2010, 12:18 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the advices!

I'll leave it going for two more weeks and see how they are...
If anything, I could just leave them as it is and go onto brewing another batch

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Old 01-24-2010, 12:29 AM   #8
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Yep, much more likely the bottle you used had a little residual soap from cleaning. Hopefully the rest dont.

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Old 01-24-2010, 02:02 AM   #9
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The only thing I'm worried about (for myself) is that I have hops from the boil still in the fermenter (I didn't bag them.) If I leave it in there a long time (or don't filter them out while moving them to the secondary) I'm worried about a grassy taste some brewers have described.

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Old 01-24-2010, 03:33 AM   #10
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My first beer was brewed on November 13. I left it in the primary for 4 weeks, then straight to keg. At first I was somewhat disappointed at the taste. It wasn't nearly as smooth as I was expecting and the finish was a bit harsh. Now nearly four weeks after I kegged it, the beer is REALLY good. My problem now is that I have nearly drank it all. LOL

If only I would have waited, I could have enjoyed more really great beer. But then, I would not have learned about how the taste will change and improve during the conditioning period. Long story short, 4 weeks in the primary is no problem. If after 4-6 weeks in the bottle you have a strange taste, then you "might" have something going on.

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