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Old 02-16-2009, 11:02 PM   #1
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Default time in fermenter vs time in bottles

I have my second batch in the fermenter - a mini-mash Oatmeal Stout I designed using BeerSmith. It's been in there now just over a week. We have approximately 4 more weeks to go until that all-important beer-drinking holiday. Which leads me to my question - how should I time my fermentation and bottling? My original idea was 2 weeks in the fermenter and 3 weeks in the bottle (of course, some sampling would have to be done after 1 and 2 weeks in the bottle ), but I could also go 3 weeks in the fermenter and 2 weeks in the bottle.

Any thoughts? Does one week either way matter?

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Old 02-16-2009, 11:15 PM   #2
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I'd go with 3 weeks in the fermenter, 3 weeks in the bottle.

Keeping the beer on the yeast cake for three weeks will allow the yeasties to clean up after themselves. And you need at least three weeks in the bottles

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Old 02-16-2009, 11:17 PM   #3
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I have my second batch in the fermenter - a mini-mash Oatmeal Stout I designed using BeerSmith. It's been in there now just over a week. We have approximately 4 more weeks to go until that all-important beer-drinking holiday. Which leads me to my question - how should I time my fermentation and bottling? My original idea was 2 weeks in the fermenter and 3 weeks in the bottle (of course, some sampling would have to be done after 1 and 2 weeks in the bottle ), but I could also go 3 weeks in the fermenter and 2 weeks in the bottle.

Any thoughts? Does one week either way matter?
Well, you're talking about drinking a 5 week old beer regardless of how you divide it. If the OG is low, and it ferments pretty quickly, you could drink it that young but it won't be at its best. Leave it in the fermenter until it's done, but at least 2 weeks. It should be in bottles (at 70 degrees) for three weeks, and then chilled for a couple of days before drinking.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:24 PM   #4
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5 weeks is all I've got if this is going to be drunk on St. Patty's Day. Apparently I should have started sooner, but so it goes.

I'm not planning on drinking all 5 gallons in one night, so much of it will sit in the bottles for longer. I was just curious about what was a "better" split - 2 in fermenter (assuming its done) and 3 in bottles or 3 in fermenter and 2 in bottles.

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Old 02-16-2009, 11:32 PM   #5
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5 weeks is all I've got if this is going to be drunk on St. Patty's Day. Apparently I should have started sooner, but so it goes.

I'm not planning on drinking all 5 gallons in one night, so much of it will sit in the bottles for longer. I was just curious about what was a "better" split - 2 in fermenter (assuming its done) and 3 in bottles or 3 in fermenter and 2 in bottles.
5 weeks is five weeks, no matter how you divide it. You may want it in bottles for three weeks, just to ensure carbonation, but it doesn't age any differently.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:36 PM   #6
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5 weeks is five weeks, no matter how you divide it. You may want it in bottles for three weeks, just to ensure carbonation, but it doesn't age any differently.
Why do folks (you included I think) advise leaving the beer in the fermenter for longer than it takes to reach FG? I keep reading about yeast "cleaning up after themselves". Does this happen in the bottles as well?
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:39 PM   #7
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The reason the yeast eats it's waste in bulk is because there are no sugars for it to eat. When you bottle, you add some easy to eat sugar so why would it eat it's waste?

The reason to age beer is that green beer taste not so good and aged beer is yummy. For a while after beer has reached it's FG it's still green.

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Old 02-16-2009, 11:42 PM   #8
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Why do folks (you included I think) advise leaving the beer in the fermenter for longer than it takes to reach FG? I keep reading about yeast "cleaning up after themselves". Does this happen in the bottles as well?
There's plenty of info on WHY we leave the beer longer in primary, we discuss it nearly every day.....If you search for "Long Primary" or "No Secondary" or just poke around long enough you'l find what we've allpretty much written ad nauseum...

and as to the bottles, if you take a look at this thread you will see what happens often if you let your beer condition...

http://blogs.homebrewtalk.com/Revvy/..._Conditioning/

ANd this is extreem bottle conditioning...but it oftne fixes bad batches.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/neve...en-beer-73254/



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Old 02-16-2009, 11:49 PM   #9
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There's plenty of info on WHY we leave the beer longer in primary, we discuss it nearly every day.....If you search for "Long Primary" or "No Secondary" or just poke around long enough you'l find what we've allpretty much written ad nauseum...

and as to the bottles, if you take a look at this thread you will see what happens often if you let your beer condition... http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/neve...en-beer-73254/
Yeah - I get that - I'd like to leave it in the fermenter longer and then age it longer in the bottles for the best possible brew. Does Yooper's comment that "5 weeks is 5 weeks...it doesn't age any differently" mean just that 5 weeks is too short period and it won't matter how that 5 weeks is split up between fermenter and bottle. Would it matter if it were 6, 7, or 8 weeks?
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:57 PM   #10
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Yeah - I get that - I'd like to leave it in the fermenter longer and then age it longer in the bottles for the best possible brew. Does Yooper's comment that "5 weeks is 5 weeks...it doesn't age any differently" mean just that 5 weeks is too short period and it won't matter how that 5 weeks is split up between fermenter and bottle. Would it matter if it were 6, 7, or 8 weeks?
Yes, it would matter if it was a longer time. You'll notice that in this batch. While you can drink your 5 week old beer (especially if it's a lower OG beer), it'll be much, much better at 8, 9, 10 weeks old.

Leaving it on the yeast cake after fermentation is over allows the yeast to digest its own waste products (like diacetyl) and allows the beer to condition a bit, and to clear. Young beer ("green beer") often has some flavors of green apple, yeastiness, harshness, etc, that go away with a couple of weeks of aging and it makes a remarkable difference.

I like the beer to be clear before I bottle it, so there is less sediment in the bottle. But, you generally need about three weeks of time in the bottle to ensure decent carbonation. If I were going to cut anything short, it would be the time in the fermenter, assuming fermentation was complete (by SG readings) and a few days after FG is reached to allow some "clean up".
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