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Old 12-13-2012, 07:55 PM   #1
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Default Question about timing of bottling

So I brewed my Paulaner style Hefeweizen almost 2 weeks ago, and I had targeted roughly the the 2 week mark for bottling as long as the SG stabilized. So far, it's close to the target SG but the sample I tasted ran hot and burned as it went down (as I noted in another thread yesterday). Hoping its just a funky happening and that the yeast is cleaning it up right now. I'll check the SG again tonight and tomorrow before making a decision on bottling.

As I'm thinking about letting it sit in the primary longer to see what happens to the hot/burn taste of the Hefe... but I'm driving home back to Michigan on Monday and I'll be gone for the next 2 weeks after that.

So here's my question: should I go ahead and bottle assuming SG is stable, or leave it in the primary for another 2 weeks for a total of 4 weeks? What are the major pros and cons of doing this? Can bottle conditioning the hefe at this stage still allow it to 'mature' like it would if I left it in the primary?

TIA!

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Old 12-13-2012, 08:06 PM   #2
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hot burning alcohol is not a good sign. sounds like you may have created fusels during fermentation. how hot did your primary get?

fusel alcohols age out, but only a little, and over months. if it is in fact fusels, the beer won't change much whether bottled or in primary - but sitting in primary certainly can't hurt, so i'd leave it in there for the next 2 weeks.

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Fermenting: an abbey ale (to be soured)
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:12 PM   #3
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Technically, after 3 days of the same FG (final gravity, not SG or starting gravity), you're generally OK to bottle...but many of us just leave it be for 3-4 weeks so we don't have to hassle with it. Conditioning in the fermenter and the bottle does slightly different things. In the fermenter, you're letting yeast fall out of suspension and clearing up the beer, with a little bit of flavor refinement. In the bottle, the beer is largely clear...so it will carbonate (with the sugar you add) and continue to refine the flavors, mellowing out all the green flavors from the beer.

That harsh taste is probably just green beer...it's not the most appealing of tastes, but it gives you an idea of the final product. It can take 3 weeks or more in the bottle for the beer to reach it's optimal taste.

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Old 12-13-2012, 08:47 PM   #4
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The first morning after brewing, I saw the temp get up to the low 70s which I knew was way too hot. So it took about 16 hours until I figured out how to set up a swamp cooler. From there on I kept it at 60-62F for the next 7 days. Just yesterday I took it out of the swamp cooler and it's been in the high 60s. So outside of the first 16 hours, I've kept it at a cool temperature.

Tentatively based on the advices of both who've posted, I think I'll like to put the primary back in the swamp cooler and leave it for another 2 weeks. Then I guess I'll let it bottle condition for a couple weeks after that. Since its a hefeweizen, I'll still need to stir up the trub a bit since I want the yeast in the bottles.

Any additional opinions?

P.S. - When I use the term SG, I thought it was "Specific Gravity" while OG means "Original Gravity". Am I wrong to think of it this way?

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Old 12-13-2012, 09:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevedore View Post
P.S. - When I use the term SG, I thought it was "Specific Gravity" while OG means "Original Gravity". Am I wrong to think of it this way?
yup, you got it right. SG, specific gravity, is any reading. OG and FG (final gravity) are specific readings (at the start and end of fermentation). so OG and FG are specific gravities at a specific time.
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Drinking: a belgian pale ale, a belgian imperial stout, an Epic 09.09.09 clone, a brett'ed saison
Carbing: a hop-bursted APA, a citra farmhouse
Fermenting: an abbey ale (to be soured)
Aging: an oud bruin, a BDSA/Dubbel thingy, a soured fruit saison, my "wild oats" brett/sour, a saison with a brett mix added at bottling.
Up next: TBD, probably not brewing again until july.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:41 PM   #6
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Hot alcohol taste isn't green beer. That's fusel alcohols. If you used a true hefe yeast,it should take 70-72 fairly easily,since it's temps like that that give the banana-like esters from the yeast. Some other yeast might not take temps over 70F very well.
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Old 12-14-2012, 04:15 AM   #7
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Yeah, it was a 3068 Weihenstephan. I thought it would handle things well too, but it may appear that the first 16 hours may have been critical in that it could very well have been 74 on the fermometer but 80+ inside the wort. Learning experience- my next hefeweizen is going to have a control freak on the temperature controls!

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Old 12-14-2012, 06:09 AM   #8
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Yeah, depending on your fermenter, temps can vary by 5-10 deg F from what the thermometer on the outside of your fermenter reads to the wort inside. If you use a clear fermenter (ie. glass carboy or better bottle) your LHBS should carry a floating thermometer designed to go inside the fermenter. Allows much more accurate temp readings.

Also, I find that CONSTANT temperature is much more important than just staying in the range ... Especially at the end of the first stage of fermentation, if the temperature drops by 5 deg. It can cause much of the yeast to decide its nap time. This can significantly slow (or even stall) your fermentation. If that happens, warm the fermenter up just a few degrees, and shake it (lightly) to get yeast back in suspension.

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Old 12-14-2012, 02:08 PM   #9
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Swirling the fermenter would be the more accurate term. But you got the idea...
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:30 PM   #10
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Just took another SG. Same as before, 1.012. But it feels like it's matured. Doesn't burn going down. A little more boozy than I'm used to for a hefe but my OG was a bit high for the recipe. Still, I think I'm safe to bottle but I'll let the majority of it sit for more than the usual 2 weeks.

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