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Old 09-11-2010, 11:19 PM   #1
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Default Primary Conditioning vs. Bottle Conditioning

For a four week total time before drinking, is it best to primary for 1 week and bottle condition for 3 or primary for 2 and bottle condition for 2?



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Old 09-11-2010, 11:28 PM   #2
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Well, you're looking at two different things. Carbonation and conditioning. For conditioning, I've found that an extra week in the fermenter is equal to several weeks in the bottle. But... you need time to carbonate before you even think about conditioning. 3 weeks at 70+ degrees is a baseline for carbonation. Some beers will carbonate faster, some slower than others.

Another but...

But, you also need to consider time to ferment. You can't just tell the yeast they have a week to finish their job and expect them to follow orders. You want a good beer, carbonated and a chance of not tasting green? Plan on at least 6 weeks. Three in primary and then three in bottles.

Yeast don't work on your schedule. Sorry.



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Old 09-12-2010, 12:19 AM   #3
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Cat hit the nail on the head. We're not in charge of this, the yeast are. We can't really arbitrarily decide when something is ready, or how long something takes.

Where fermentation is concerned, If you arbitrarily move your beer, like to follow the silly 1-2-3 rule, you will often interrupt fermentation. Because sometimes the yeast won't even begin to ferment your beer until 72 hours after yeast pitch, so if you rush the beer off the yeast on day 7 then you are only allowing the yeast a few days to work.

Besides, fermenting the beer is just a part of what the yeast do. If you leave the beer alone, they will go back and clean up the byproducts of fermentation that often lead to off flavors. That's why many brewers skip secondary and leave our beers alone in primary for a month. It leaves plenty of time for the yeast to ferment, clean up after themselves and then fall out, leveing our beers crystal clear, with a tight yeast cake.

That is why more and more folks are skipping a secondary and leaving the beer in primary for a month, or if we do opt to use a secondary, then to leave the beer alone til fermentation is complete, and even a few days longer (I usually wait til day 14 if I am secondarying).

Now in terms of carbing/conditioning in bottles...that is another process that really we don't control. The 3 weeks at 70 degrees, that that we recommend is the minimum time it takes for average gravity beers to carbonate and condition. Higher grav beers take longer.

Stouts and porters have taken me between 6 and 8 weeks to carb up..I have a 1.090 Belgian strong that took three months to carb up.

And may still need weeks to lose the green-ness. The Belgian took iirc another 3-4 months to begin to taste great.

Temp and gravity are the two factors that contribute to the time it takes for this process to happen. But if a beer's not ready yet, or seems low carbed, and you added the right amount of sugar to it, then it's not stalled, it's just not time yet.

And even if you long primaried or secondared, that's not going to affect how long it is going to take the yeast to carb the beer. It MAY affect condtioning process (I've never noticed either way, except to say that my beer is much better when I primary for a month and then my beer bottle conditions for as long as it needs to condition.) But the yeast is still going to need however long it is going to need to make enough co2 to carb up the beer.

Everything you need to know about carbing and conditioning, can be found here Of Patience and Bottle Conditioning. With emphasis on the word, "patience."

All in all my "normal" beers are 8 weeks from grain to glass usually. 4 weeks in primary (or 2-2 secondary) and then after 3 weeks in the bottle, though they may seem carbed, tend to take another week to come into their own flavor-wise.

But it's not an arbitrary process, and it is not really something we can control.

It may seem a long time, but it is wirth it.

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Old 09-12-2010, 12:46 AM   #4
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I have had some beers that carbonated in 5 days. The beer tasted pretty good then. The fact that it carbed up that quick was great, but the beer still tasted pretty green, yet still drinkable. The conditioning time is what you need for the beer to reach its full potential. Those same bottles that carbed in a week tasted even better after a month in the bottle

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Old 09-12-2010, 12:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Germelli1 View Post
I have had some beers that carbonated in 5 days.
It happens, but I bet that all your batches don't carb in 5 days. And I'm sure you can't predict the ones that will.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChshreCat View Post
It happens, but I bet that all your batches don't carb in 5 days. And I'm sure you can't predict the ones that will.
Nope, but I like cracking one open to see if they do. Even if they are carbonated, they aren't at their peak quality...but it helps me determine when to move them to cold storage
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:30 PM   #7
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The conclusion I reach based on the above, is that I need to make a great deal of beer so that it has plenty of time in both primary and secondary with no rush to drinking.

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Old 09-20-2010, 01:45 AM   #8
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That, my friend, is called a pipeline.

Fill it, and patience becomes possible.

Bob

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Old 09-20-2010, 02:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob View Post
That, my friend, is called a pipeline.

Fill it, and patience becomes possible.
Prophetic... Confucious would be proud!
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob View Post
That, my friend, is called a pipeline.

Fill it, and patience becomes possible.

Bob
I've tried that, it doesn't work. LOL

ALWAYS impatient.


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