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Old 04-14-2011, 07:02 PM   #1
PaulTheGhost
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Default What I Learned Today About When to Bottle

Don't go by bubble activity or airlock activity.
TAKE HYDROMETER READINGS.
I have an oatmeal stout in my secondary right now. It's been in the secondary for three weeks. Bubbles have been drifting into the neck, but three days ago I took a gravity reading: 1.023. Today, I took a gravity reading: 1.023. I'm thinking it's been ready to bottle for about a week now.

You think the beer's finished? Take a hydrometer reading. Wait two to three days and take another one. If it didn't drop, then it's ready to go.

The more you know.

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Fermenting:
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Conditioning/Aging:
Ed's Sparkling Apfelwein
SN's Ovila Dubbel
Oatmeal Stout

Drinking:
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Nelson Sauvin Pale Ale
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Sweet Christmas Porter
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:04 PM   #2
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You forgot the important taste test before bottling step... That will tell you when it's really ready to go into bottles/keg... Having hit the FG just means fermentation is complete, not that it's ready for bottles/drinking...

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Old 04-14-2011, 07:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
You forgot the important taste test before bottling step... That will tell you when it's really ready to go into bottles/keg... Having hit the FG just means fermentation is complete, not that it's ready for bottles/drinking...
A-friggin'-men.
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by PaulTheGhost View Post
...I have an oatmeal stout in my secondary right now. It's been in the secondary for three weeks... I'm thinking it's been ready to bottle for about a week now.

While it might be done fermenting, it's enjoying the benefit of you being patient and conditioning itself - it's not a bad thing. Bigger beers, longer times. I keep porters and stouts 6-8 weeks in the fermenter before I consider moving them.

pale ales and wheats - yeah, move 'em on out and carb 'em up. Oatmeal Stout? you're doing just fine - don't rush to bottle. maybe even leave it a bit longer -
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Hang Glider View Post
While it might be done fermenting, it's enjoying the benefit of you being patient and conditioning itself - it's not a bad thing. Bigger beers, longer times. I keep porters and stouts 6-8 weeks in the fermenter before I consider moving them.

pale ales and wheats - yeah, move 'em on out and carb 'em up. Oatmeal Stout? you're doing just fine - don't rush to bottle. maybe even leave it a bit longer -
I'm curious, what is the advantage of conditioning in a carboy over conditioning in a bottle?
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:32 PM   #6
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probably none. I like to think my beer is happy when it's all sitting together in a tank. Cask Conditioning really refers to an oak cask, but it is commonly used in this sense. It keeps flavors blending - and more volume than 12 or 22 ounces to mix with. So, over time, any off flavors, hop profiles, sweetness - has more of a chance to even out while the beer is in contact with 4 3/4 other gallons instead of a few ounces.

While it's just my personal experience - my beers are much better now that I do the following:

1) pitch sufficient yeast
2) fermentation temp control
3) patience in the fermenter - 6 weeks average

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Old 04-14-2011, 09:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hang Glider View Post
probably none. I like to think my beer is happy when it's all sitting together in a tank. Cask Conditioning really refers to an oak cask, but it is commonly used in this sense. It keeps flavors blending - and more volume than 12 or 22 ounces to mix with. So, over time, any off flavors, hop profiles, sweetness - has more of a chance to even out while the beer is in contact with 4 3/4 other gallons instead of a few ounces.

While it's just my personal experience - my beers are much better now that I do the following:

1) pitch sufficient yeast
2) fermentation temp control
3) patience in the fermenter - 6 weeks average
Hmm, that's an interesting idea. Well I pitched 1 smack pack of wyeast 1968 on March 8th, so it's been almost 5.5 weeks.

I'm mostly impatient because I really want to get it out of there so I can get my altbier into the secondary so I can dry hop it before I bottle. Although going another week or so in the primary won't hurt anything I suppose.

I'm just anxious to get my pipeline flowing again.
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Fermenting:
Joe's Quick Grape Mead
Lagunitas IPA

Conditioning/Aging:
Ed's Sparkling Apfelwein
SN's Ovila Dubbel
Oatmeal Stout

Drinking:
Filmfestspiele Altbier
Nelson Sauvin Pale Ale
Dwarven Ale
Sweet Christmas Porter
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:25 PM   #8
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Dry hop in primary... Plenty of people do it without any issue. I did it with my ESB that's now in bottles... If you were planning on washing that yeast cake, just means you could have more trub to remove... If not, then NBD...

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
On Deck: Caramel Ale
Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hang Glider View Post
Bigger beers, longer times. I keep porters and stouts 6-8 weeks in the fermenter before I consider moving them.

pale ales and wheats - yeah, move 'em on out and carb 'em up. Oatmeal Stout? you're doing just fine - don't rush to bottle. maybe even leave it a bit longer -
I've been curious about aging stouts longer as I've seen that on other posts before -- when you say "bigger beers..porters and stouts" are you referring to imperial stouts as opposed to dry stouts (which I would consider not big by gravity)...or do you consider big beers to be big in flavor/roastiness as well and treat them like high gravity beers?

Thanks for the perspective! Mmmm stouts.
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:09 PM   #10
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I think what Hang Glider was saying is that beers with lots of unmodified malts like chocolate malt or black patent would benefit from staying in the fermenter longer, where beers like pale ales (almost 90% 2 row) don't need the aging to allow their flavors to meld as much.

Please, correct me if I'm wrong, I don't want to give out false information.

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Fermenting:
Joe's Quick Grape Mead
Lagunitas IPA

Conditioning/Aging:
Ed's Sparkling Apfelwein
SN's Ovila Dubbel
Oatmeal Stout

Drinking:
Filmfestspiele Altbier
Nelson Sauvin Pale Ale
Dwarven Ale
Sweet Christmas Porter
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