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Old 04-18-2012, 06:13 PM   #1
FutureJack
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Default Rushing a Beer for Homebrew Fest in 2 Weeks

Hi gang. Long-time, first-time.

I've been lurking for months and I'm looking forward to participating more here. I'm only six brews into my fledgling hobby, and I am pleased with my early results. All extract so far (lots of partial mashing as well), and I'm still bottling everything.

I am prepping two beers for the SoCal Homebrew Fest on May 4th and 5th.
I am bottling a Belgian Golden Strong tomorrow that I brewed 4 weeks ago, and has dropped down to a nice and tidy 1.011 FG. That one's been crash cooling for 48 hours and I plan to bottle today or tomorrow. 16-17 days to carb should be plenty drinkable in my experience so far.

Here's my dilemma. I brewed an Imperial Red 9 days ago and I want to have this ready for the fest. I plan on checking gravity tonight and again 48 hours later. Assuming it's stable, I plan to bottle on Saturday or Sunday - only about 13-14 days before the homebrew portion of the fest on Saturday the 5th.

I realize this is not ideal, and I generally have waited a minimum of 3-4 weeks to bottle my other brews up to this point. I understand that patience is a virtue, and this is not a matter of just being eager to bottle my beer before it's ready. But in this case, I am seeking any tips I can use to get this particular batch best conditioned and fully carbed on an abbreviated schedule.

Thanks for all the great advice I've gleaned from this forum so far. And thanks for any input on this. Cheers!

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Old 04-18-2012, 06:22 PM   #2
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It is possible to have beer ready quickly, but it relies on a couple factors:

1. How big are your beers?
2. How is your temperature control?
3. How well are you aerating your wort prior to fermentation?
4. How much yeast are you pitching?

Secondly, in 2 weeks you're probably going to be undercarbed. Bottle-conditioned beers normally need a minimum of 3 weeks to chew through all the sugar, and a week in the fridge to dissolve all the CO2 the yeast have produced.

Finally, I don't care how rushed you are, DO NOT bottle the beer if it hasn't hit its final gravity yet, or you will find yourself the owner of a large quantity of beer-glass soup.

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Old 04-18-2012, 06:31 PM   #3
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I agree -- Sounds like you've got two beers that will demand aging before they are in their prime. Best case, even if your beers carb, they will taste "young" and won't be nearly as delicious as if you had brewed them 2-3 months ago (hindsight, right?).

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Old 04-18-2012, 06:38 PM   #4
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you can go to the beerfest and have fun and just say nothing was ready

or

you go to the beerfest and make constant excuses as to why its not great and be stressed the whole time.

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Old 04-18-2012, 06:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bernerbrau View Post
It is possible to have beer ready quickly, but it relies on a couple factors:

1. How big are your beers?
2. How is your temperature control?
3. How well are you aerating your wort prior to fermentation?
4. How much yeast are you pitching?

Secondly, in 2 weeks you're probably going to be undercarbed. Bottle-conditioned beers normally need a minimum of 3 weeks to chew through all the sugar, and a week in the fridge to dissolve all the CO2 the yeast have produced.

Finally, I don't care how rushed you are, DO NOT bottle the beer if it hasn't hit its final gravity yet, or you will find yourself the owner of a large quantity of beer-glass soup.


1. The Red had 2 sugar additions to the fermenter, as I undershot my OG this time around (SG was 1.067). 3 days later it was down around 1.026. I then added 1 lb of cane sugar. It was down to 1.017 2 days after that. I then added .75 lbs more 2 days ago. Should finish in the 1.013-1.015 range hopefully.

2. Initial fermentation was about 65 degrees for the first 72 hours. I then moved it to a closet where it's been stable at 68-69 for the past 6 days. I don't have a temp controller, but I live in a very mild climate where my basement has been at 65-66 all winter and the hallway closet I have been using has been 68-70, day or night.

3. My aeration was as thorough as shaking the hell out the carboy for several minutes between pouring the wort from my kettle. Poured some, shook vigourously, poured some more, etc...

4. I pitched a 1/2 gallon starter of WLP005.



Don't worry. I have no intention of bottling if the gravity is not stable. I have learned a lot of mistakes from other homebrewers before I started brewing - which has helped me avoid lots of pitfalls so far. Definitely don't want to screw this one up. If the beer simply cannot be ready in time, then so be it. Like I said, I just wanted to see if there was anything I could do to speed it up.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmos View Post
I agree -- Sounds like you've got two beers that will demand aging before they are in their prime. Best case, even if your beers carb, they will taste "young" and won't be nearly as delicious as if you had brewed them 2-3 months ago (hindsight, right?).


True that. I've got others that are aged that long, but not enough to bring in large quantities to pour at our club booth.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:48 PM   #7
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A big beer like that is going to take some time to clean up.

It looks like you did everything right, so for the most part, you're past the point where you can do anything more to speed your brews along. All you can do now is let the yeast do their job, bottle, and drink it when it's ready.

Also, taking it off yeast before it has matured will likely slow down the maturation process. Bulk aging is better for the beer than bottle aging.

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Old 04-18-2012, 06:52 PM   #8
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i mean if you truly just want to produce something for this beer festival, bottle your beer and heat it to 80F. higher heats will increase yeast metabolism...but you're going to get off flavors.

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Old 04-18-2012, 07:04 PM   #9
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Thanks for the feedback.

I might just hold off on bottling the Red and let it finish up as normal.

For the Belgian, I will go ahead and bottle, let it carb for 15-16 days, chill one overnight and taste it. If it's something I would enjoy being served, I will bring it it to the fest. If not, I guess it's more for me!

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