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-   -   Spiced ale: extra week in the fermenter, or in the bottle? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/spiced-ale-extra-week-fermenter-bottle-88746/)

uncleozzy 11-14-2008 07:09 PM

Spiced ale: extra week in the fermenter, or in the bottle?
I've got Austin Homebrew's Our Special Holiday Ale in my primary right now. It's been there three weeks at 68F, and I had been planning on bottling this weekend so it would have 5+ weeks in the bottle before Christmas. I'd like to be able to give a few six-packs out without saying, "don't drink this yet."

The SG has been at 1.020 for over a week now, so I'm assuming it's done, but there's still a very small amount of foamy trub on top (I hesitate to call it kraeusen, because while there's very slight positive pressure in the bucket, the gravity hasn't changed in ages). Hydro sample on Wednesday tasted good once it was cold, but was cloudy (then again, so was my mild when I bottled it, and it's dang-near crystal clear in the glass).

In any case, the question is, for those who have done spiced beers: would it benefit more from the extra week in primary, or from the extra week in the bottle? Obviously, if I have to tell recipients to wait a week or two to avoid green beer, I will, but it'd be nice not to have to. Thanks.

uncleozzy 11-18-2008 01:59 PM

Figured I'd update on this, in case anyone is brewing this kit. I took another sample last night to see if it had dried out at all (it hadn't, within reasonable margin of error), but the taste difference between 18 days and 23 days is amazing. Last week the spices were dominant, and it was oddly sweet and a little cloudy. Last night, it was well-balanced, a little fruity, and had actual hop aroma ahead of the spices and bitterness behind them.

The extra week in the fermenter turned out (so far) to be a really good idea. If this thing carbs up quick, I don't see it needing much time in the bottle to taste good. SWMBO even drank half the hydro sample--flat and at 66F!--which ought to attest to how good this is going to be.

rossrainey 11-18-2008 02:23 PM

I'm brewing this kit right now, it's only been in the primary a few days at about 68 degrees now thanks to a cold spike in GA. Would it be wrong to rack to bottles after 2 weeks or so or would you not recommend this. It is my first batch so I'm anxious but just wondering what other people who have brewed this think.

uncleozzy 11-18-2008 02:28 PM

Definitely take a hydro sample after two weeks to see where you're at, but given what I've experienced (those spices are *strong*), I wouldn't bottle this until at least three weeks. Like I said, I'm doing 4 in primary; the flavor difference between 2.5 weeks and 3+ weeks was almost unbelievable. If you secondary, you could rack to secondary after two weeks or so to clear it up a little more, though.

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