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Old 03-17-2009, 11:10 PM   #1
xbabyboy4021x
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Default leaving ales in the primary more than 10 days

every time i post a question about how long to let my beer sit in the primary the responses from this forum always seem to be in the 3-5 week range for best results, after reading through about 1/4 of "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" by Charlie Papazian, he seems to put some emphasis on the fact that leaving an ale in the primary once it has reached its specified FG and the gravity does not change for 2-3 days really has no benefit whatsoever and that the ONLY reason to ever leave beer in the primary for more than 10 or so days is if it is a lager and being stored at cooler temps. so why does everybody always say to leave my beers in the primary so long when Charlie Papazian seems to think that its going to have no effect on my ales that i brew?



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Old 03-17-2009, 11:13 PM   #2
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Not exactly what Charlie P has to say on secondaries, so maybe he just means its ok to transfer at that time.

In either case, even when FG has been reached and is constant, does not mean that the yeasts are done. They will still work on "cleaning up" the beer as time goes on, which is why bulk aging is good in many cases.



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Old 03-17-2009, 11:32 PM   #3
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i like to primary for 10-14, secondary for 10-14, and keg condition for 10-14. that is for ales, which is mostly what i brew. once the krausen has dropped, the beer will become more and more clear over the next few days. at this point, take a hydrometer reading. wait 3 days and take another hydrometer reading. if it is the same, wait another 3-4 days before racking to the secondary clearing carboy. that is how i do it.

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Old 03-17-2009, 11:54 PM   #4
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I don't secondary ale's. I don't bother taking a reading for a while. On an OG 1.062, which I made today, I won't check for three weeks, and I'll do so on a Friday night. If its the same Sunday morning I bottle. If not, I bottle the next Saturday.

While there may be no benefit to letting it sit on the yeast cake when fermentation is complete, I do not believe that there is any detriment to letting it do so. I err on the side of caution. I will however boil to belly a wheat beer in about 20 days.

This is one of those questions where the rule of "ask 10 brewers get 10 answers" applies.

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Old 03-17-2009, 11:55 PM   #5
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i just started brewing (just brewed my 6th batch) and my first 2-3 batches i let sit in primary for 7 days then bottled and let sit for 2-4 weeks and then they were gone but now that ive got a few batches under my belt im getting a little more patient and my kolsch that i brewed a while back sat in the primary for about 18 days before being bottled and has now been in the bottle for 15 days (although now its st pattys day and this would be a great beer to put food coloring in due to the very light color so some will be gone after tonight) i also have a Classic English Pale Ale thats been in the primary for 8 days now and will probably sit for about 6 more days then be bottled for 2-4 weeks

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Old 03-17-2009, 11:59 PM   #6
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I like many of us leave our Ales in 3-4 weeks....

One thing to remember is that Papazian, as wonderful as it is, was written 30 years ago...and a lot of "science" or "common wisdom" that he as an author tapped into has evolved....all authors face this issue with their work.

Charlie Papazian said it But he might not necessarily say it now....see the difference?

His basic info is timeless....how to brew beer, figure out recipes, etc...but some of the info is just a reflection of the "opinions," or prevailing wisdom of the times, and may not even reflect his current beliefs...There's a podcast with Papazian from a year or so ago, where he talks about just having started using rice hulls in his mash ton...so if he doesn't update the book again, or write a new one, unless you've heard the podcast or read it on here, you won't KNOW about it.

Here's a good example John Palmer basically admits that what he wrote about IBU's in How to brew, was esentially "wrong" or at least outdated in light of new science...

Quote:
March 20, 2008 - What Is an IBU . . . Really?
John Palmer, author of How to Brew, shares information from a conference that challenged his concept of what defines an International Bitterness Unit (IBU).

http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicbrewing/bbr03-20-08ibu.mp3
I cite that podcast as an example of how the knowlegebase shifts so fast in this hobby because of places like this or podcasts...A book is a snapshot of the author's body of knowlege and the "common wisdom" at the time the author wrote the book, which may mean 3 years before it was even published. Papazian's book is 30+ years old. The basic knowlege is good, but brewing science and experience has progressed to where some things an author believes or says at that time may no-longer be valid...even to the author.

Most of the time when someone "revises" a book they don't necessarilly "re-write" the entire thing...and unless they annotated the changes, often all a "revised" edition has to make it up to date is a new introduction, and maybe the addition or removal of some things. But Rarely is a revision in a book a serious comb through of the entire book.

If an author plans to devote months to an extensive revision, they more than likely would just write a new book anyway.

And it's usually done for money or simply to get it back into the marketplace after a long lag..Sometimes a revised edition is simply a new cover or a different shaped book (like a trade paperback.) With a new intro and conclusion tagged on...

So there's really no way to know too much how updated the book was..I mean my copy is the 2002 edition iirc, and the photos are still pretty much have the look of bygone times.

I mean I look at my own writings, including my E-book on spirituality, it was written back in 1999-2000, and a lot of my beliefs and ideas have shifted about things in the 8 years...I am not the same person that I was when I wrote it....And neither is Charlie Papazian the same brewer he is now...like I said, he just discovered rice hulls last year.

In that Podcast, Palmer basically contradicts in some was what he wrote in HTB...and I bet it will be reflected in his subsequent writings, but if he doesn't go back and revise HTB, and people don't read or listen to anything by him after, than they won't realize that the knowlegebase has already shifted...

In terms of long primaring, back then, yeah autolysis WAS the big fear at the time of Papazian, someone said this week it may have been a reflection of the oldier and crappier yeasts in the pre-prohibition days.....

Also what is of concern to commercial brewers of light lagers (by the way to lager means to store for a great length of time) or lager brewers in general doesn't necessarily apply to ales...or doesn't apply for a few weeks (or even a couple months of a healthy yeast cake.)

But things, like science, and even the yeasts themselves have changed, and we by our OWN experience have witnessed how much better our beer is when we've left it alone in primary for 2-4 weeks.

Rememeber Papazian was writing his book from right around that time period, when yeasts cake in dry cakes and may not have even been stored properly, and many people just placed towles and cookie sheets on their ceramic crock pot fermenters.

It is podcasts and forums like this where you will find a lot more state of the art, or current views, and even scientific information...I mean if Jamil, John Palmer or Papazian even farts on a podcast, one of us beergeeks are going to start a thread on it within 10 minutes.

Speaking of Palmer...Here's what HE says on the subject...

Quote:
Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermentor for a total of 2-3 weeks (instead of just the one week most canned kits recommend), will provide time for the conditioning reactions and improve the beer. This extra time will also let more sediment settle out before bottling, resulting in a clearer beer and easier pouring. And, three weeks in the primary fermentor is usually not enough time for off-flavors to occur.

So hope this helps you understand that no author, even Papazian exists in a vacuum..ANd what he wrote relfected HIS and many beliefs at the time of writing. Bit NOT necessarily the prevailing wisdom or knowlege today...No boo, (ahem0 Not even the Bible, is etched in stone.

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Old 03-18-2009, 12:16 AM   #7
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my book is the 3rd edition copyright 2003 it says "Fully revised and updated" but i guess your right, that doesnt mean that the WHOLE book has had every single detail picked through and revised

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Old 03-18-2009, 12:22 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by xbabyboy4021x View Post
my book is the 3rd edition copyright 2003 it says "Fully revised and updated" but i guess your right, that doesnt mean that the WHOLE book has had every single detail picked through and revised
2003 is still six years ago buddy...Just think of all the tehnological changes in the last 6 years, and you'll realize that knowledge doesn't exist in a vacuum....Just look at this place....the "culture" and ideas shifts over time...like I said, places like this, we, you and me and everyone else here, are the cutting edge of brewing....

a year ago, let alone 6 years ago...noone had the idea to use a pasta maker to mill grain..http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/using-pasta-maker-mill-grain-75784/index2.html...And now?

The more you read, the more you experience yourself...you will see what is right for you...many of us discovered the long primary by accident and found out how much better our beers were for doing it...either you will, or you won't, either way..you will still make beer.

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Old 03-18-2009, 12:29 AM   #9
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as for now im doing somewhere in between, i cant seem to wait more than 2 weeks to bottle my beer and let it sit about 2 weeks before trying one and about 3-4 weeks before actually drinking a batch, mainly because i am still a new brewer and im always really curious as to how the different recipes will taste and also because i only have 1 fermenter and the capacity to bottle 10 gal at a time, but im sure once i have mulitple fermentors and much more bottle space i will be much more inclined to let my beer sit longer to produce better beer

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Old 03-18-2009, 12:42 AM   #10
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to xbabyboy4021x, keep tasting it. get an idea of what beer tastes like at its different stages of life. why not? you aren't in a contest, this is fun!! any way you can gain knowledge from experience is better than 1,000 pages read. time is a teacher and patience is a virtue. all you have to do is not drink too much that you don't remember!



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