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Old 10-25-2010, 09:49 PM   #1
DannyG
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Default Primary three weeks and bottle condition for two, or vice versa?

So I'm brewing a batch of witbier for a friend's shindig on the 19th of November. I brewed it the weekend before last, meaning it's now been in the primary for a week. Brew day went off without a hitch, fermentation is going normally, etc, etc. Basically, my question is this: I've got five weeks (four more weeks, now) between brew and event. Normally, for a beer of this gravity, I'd primary for three weeks and then bottle condition for at least three, but again, I've only got five. Is it better for me to primary for three weeks and just bottle condition for two, or or primary for two weeks and then let it bottle condition for three?

As background, my recipe (a partial mash witbier kit from my LHBS) is:

8oz Flaked Oats
8oz Flaked Wheat

3.3 lbs Wheat LME
2 lbs Extra Light DME

1 oz Goldings (bittering)
1 oz Saaz (aroma)

2 tsp dried bitter orange peel
2 tsp green coriander seed

Mash flaked oats and wheat for 60 minutes at 150 degrees (I was mashing on the stove, so my temperatures fluctuated from 145-155). Add LME and DME and bring to a boil, then add bittering hops. Boil for an hour, add orange and coriander five minutes before end of boil, and add aroma hops in last minute of boil.

Target OG was 1.044, I got 1.043 - which I'm more than happy with, considering this was my first partial-mash brew.

EDIT: Also, my fermometer has been reading a constant 76-77 - a little warmer than I'd like, but until I get around to building a swamp cooler it's the best I'm gonna be able to do.

EDIT EDIT: Also, yeast was Wyest 3944

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Old 10-25-2010, 09:53 PM   #2
pjcampbell
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What is the target FG? I think that may be the best way to figure out when to bottle .

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Old 10-25-2010, 09:58 PM   #3
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I'd allways go for a longer bottle conditioing. Generaly I try to have it in the bottle for at least 4 weeks or more (much more depending on the beer). I find that the beer mellows more nicely this way. In your case two in the primary and three in the bottle sounds good. How is the beer going now? If I were you I wouldn't even be thinking about the primary time so much, as soon as it stops any major activity in the primary, I'd just bottle it, open on the date and hope for the best (no reason it should be the best).
Good luck!

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Old 10-25-2010, 09:59 PM   #4
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The instructions with the kit gave the very unhelpful target FG of "as low as 1.003 or as high as 1.020". I'm not quite sure what to make of that. Is there any other way to find a target FG that doesn't involve buying software?

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Old 10-25-2010, 09:59 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by pjcampbell View Post
What is the target FG? I think that may be the best way to figure out when to bottle .
+1. Check your gravity. It may well be ready to bottle now. If your SG doesn't change for 3 consecutive days then it is ready to bottle.
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:08 PM   #6
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Longer in the bottle, but verify your gravity has bottomed out.

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Old 10-25-2010, 10:10 PM   #7
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+1. Check your gravity. It may well be ready to bottle now. If your SG doesn't change for 3 consecutive days then it is ready to bottle.
Thats it... Otherwise beer tools offers limited calculation online for free http://www.beertools.com. And the recipe (although it a dumb thing to say to a beginer) is right don't worry too much. When the fermentation stops, bottle and see what it's like. If you're using kits than you can't be going for very specific tastes and a FG of 1.003 to 1.020 wont srcew your brew up it'll just make it different!
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