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Old 10-26-2008, 07:54 AM   #1
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Default Primary vs Conditioning. What to do under time constraint?

Hi all. I've been reading off and on for months and am posting for the first time. Thanks for keeping this place alive, it has been really helpful for prepping me for getting into this hobby.

So I brewed by first batch ever a couple days ago (Cali Common kit from MoreBeer!) and would really like to serve it during Thanksgiving. That gives me 5 weeks, which isn't enough time for the 1-2-3 technique.

What I'm wondering is, if I really have to do this in 5 weeks, what do you suggest for the fermentation and conditioning schedule? 3 weeks in primary and 2 weeks conditioning in the bottles? or 2 weeks in primary and 3 weeks conditioning in the bottles? or something else?

Thanks in advance!
Mike

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Old 10-26-2008, 11:54 AM   #2
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I'd suggest buying some nice commercial/craft beer to serve in it's place....I'd rather not serve green beer to my friends and family (especially if you used 810 and fermented it in the high 60s low 70s).

Figuring that flat green beer is prb worse to serve than carbonated green beer, I'd go for three in the bottle.

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Old 10-26-2008, 01:06 PM   #3
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You can bottle as soon as fermentation is complete. The draw back is more sediment will be in the bottles. It's very possible you will have very good beer with in only five weeks. I've yet to not have fully carbonated bottles at one week. I think long primary and secondaries can actually increase the needed bottle conditioning time.

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Old 10-26-2008, 01:34 PM   #4
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I think California Common needs more than 5 weeks, generally. I ferment mine around 62 degrees, and that takes about 10 days. It takes a while to clear up, too. Also, I find that northern brewer hops take a little while to mellow. They are great- but harsh when young.

If you absolutely have to have it by Thanksgiving, leave it in the primary for 2 weeks, and then bottle it (assuming the beer is at FG).

Quicker beers generally have low OGs, smoother hops, etc, so they can more easily be rushed. Anything with a higher OG, harsher (or more) hops, etc, needs more time to really taste ok. Still, this just might work for you.

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Old 10-26-2008, 01:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewt00l View Post
I'd suggest buying some nice commercial/craft beer to serve in it's place....I'd rather not serve green beer to my friends and family (especially if you used 810 and fermented it in the high 60s low 70s).

Figuring that flat green beer is prb worse to serve than carbonated green beer, I'd go for three in the bottle.

I have to say I agree with this...unless you invest in a keg set up, then serving un ready, undercarbed and possibly green beer with end up reflecting badly on homebrewing and you....people sit on the fance with beer...most people only know BMC...so they are already reticent to try something that isn't fizzy, and the color of pee...if you serve something that's not right they are going to remember all the mind control commercial that budweiser did trashing craft beers, and remind them never to try new things...

You really can't cut back on bottle conditioning...you really need 3 weeks minimum for a normal grav beer for it to carb and condition, and some just won't carb and condition for 6 or 8 weeks..and there's nothing you can do about it....except keg it....otherwise you are dealing with a natural process based on living microorganisms, which have their own agendas and timeframes.

You need your 3 weeks @ 70 degrees minimum for bottle carbing/condition...and if you were serving them for a special occasion you should THEN chill them for a week so chill haze goes away...so that's 4 weeks of your 5 (IF the beer were carbed/conditioned after the 3)...and there's no gaurentee that the beer would be finished fermenting in 7-10 days

I know you are excited about serving your homebrew for turkey day...but if you serve it for Christmas, it will be much much better.
Especially if you brewed more beer before then, and bring a variety.

You'll only need to deal with this once..this year. now that you have embarked on this obsession, once your pipeline is full, you'll have plenty of beer to bring to holidays...

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Old 10-26-2008, 06:37 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback. I was hoping that it being my first batch would give me an "out" if it turned out bad. In hindsight, that attitude may keep people from trying a second batch. Based on your feedback, I think I'll do this:

1) Check FG at ~2 weeks and bottle if at target FG. Otherwise, wait until target FG is achieved.
2) Get a backup case or two of Anchor Steam. Worst case is they end up being extra bottles for future batches.
3) Taste test a bottle the day before Thanksgiving.

3a) If good, serve in a glass to reduce amount of sediment.
3b) If bad, maybe give them a taster of what will only get better with time, and serve the Anchor Steam.
Thanks again!
Mike

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Old 10-26-2008, 06:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkpdogg View Post
Thanks for the feedback. I was hoping that it being my first batch would give me an "out" if it turned out bad. In hindsight, that attitude may keep people from trying a second batch. Based on your feedback, I think I'll do this:

1) Check FG at ~2 weeks and bottle if at target FG. Otherwise, wait until target FG is achieved.
2) Get a backup case or two of Anchor Steam. Worst case is they end up being extra bottles for future batches.
3) Taste test a bottle the day before Thanksgiving.
3a) If good, serve in a glass to reduce amount of sediment.
3b) If bad, maybe give them a taster of what will only get better with time, and serve the Anchor Steam.
Thanks again!
Mike

That's about the best you can do....We get this alot with new brewers they decide a few weeks before an event/holiday to get into the hobby, then want to serve their first batch for the event. It's natural to be excited and want to share. But there's nothing that can be done about the timeframe...every beer is different, every yeast is different, and every brewing condition is different, so you can't say "hey this beer's going to be ready on such and such date, unless you are aming for 2-3 months out and leaving plenty of time...or kegging.

Oh and ALL good beer, homebrew and otherwise MUST be served in a glass at all times....This isn't ice cold and flavorless BMC we're talking about here...the glass and servig temp is very important for getting the best flavors/aromas from the beer.

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Old 10-26-2008, 07:43 PM   #8
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Here you go...
Get a couple cases of good micro.
Soak the labels off and put yours on it.
GENIUS!!!!

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Old 10-27-2008, 04:22 PM   #9
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You are dealing with NATURAL processes that cannot be changed.

Plan better next time.

The bonus is it'll be ready for Christmas.

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Old 10-27-2008, 05:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkpdogg View Post
Thanks for the feedback. I was hoping that it being my first batch would give me an "out" if it turned out bad. In hindsight, that attitude may keep people from trying a second batch. Based on your feedback, I think I'll do this:

1) Check FG at ~2 weeks and bottle if at target FG. Otherwise, wait until target FG is achieved.
2) Get a backup case or two of Anchor Steam. Worst case is they end up being extra bottles for future batches.
3) Taste test a bottle the day before Thanksgiving.
3a) If good, serve in a glass to reduce amount of sediment.
3b) If bad, maybe give them a taster of what will only get better with time, and serve the Anchor Steam.
Thanks again!
Mike

Now, that's the attitude, right there. RDWHAHB.


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