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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Will extra time in the primary hurt?
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Old 08-29-2008, 01:55 PM   #1
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Default Will extra time in the primary hurt?

I am a corporate pilot and travel a lot.

I wonder if after 2-3 weeks when fermenting is done, if I am not home for a week and it sits a little long, will it do any damage or will it just help it mature?

I am planning on a pale ale and brewing from extract and not using a secondary for my first batch.

Thanks

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Old 08-29-2008, 02:00 PM   #2
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No problem at all unless you leave it in the primary for several months. It will give the yeasts time to clean up after themselves.

-a.

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Old 08-29-2008, 02:43 PM   #3
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Planenut,

my job regularly takes me away from home for 2+ weeks at a time. I've never had any problem with leaving beer in primary or secondary for months at a time. During the summer I rotuinely leave beer in the chest freezer for well over a month in primary. The 1/2/3 method works, but most of the time i use the 1 month / 2 month /3 month theory.

Time only helps, as long as temps are controlled & everything is sanitary enough.

cheers.
zac

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Old 08-29-2008, 03:10 PM   #4
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I leave my beer in primary for a month, and my beer is much better that way,

Here's why;

From John Palmer's book "how to brew":

Quote:
The fermentation of malt sugars into beer is a complicated biochemical process. It is more than just the conversion of sugar to alcohol, which can be regarded as the primary activity. Total fermentation is better defined as three phases, the Adaptation or Lagtime phase, the Primary or Attenuative phase and a Secondary or Conditioning phase. The yeast do not end Phase 2 before beginning Phase 3, the processes occur in parallel, but the conditioning processes occur more slowly. As the majority of simple sugars are consumed, more and more of the yeast will transition to eating the larger, more complex sugars and early yeast by-products. This is why beer (and wine) improves with age to a degree, as long as they are on the yeast. Beer that has been filtered or pasteurized will not benefit from aging.
Great reading on the phases of fermentation here: http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter8-2-2.html

oh, and one more passage from the same book:

Quote:
The conditioning process is a function of the yeast. The vigorous, primary stage is over, the majority of the wort sugars have been converted to alcohol, and a lot of the yeast are going dormant; but there is still yeast activity. During the earlier phases, many different compounds were produced by the yeast in addition to ethanol and CO2, e.g., acetaldehyde, esters, amino acids, ketones- diacetyl, pentanedione, dimethyl sulfide, etc. Once the easy food is gone, the yeast start re-processing these by-products. Diacetyl and pentanedione are two ketones that have buttery and honey-like flavors. These compounds are considered flaws when present in large amounts and can cause flavor stability problems during storage. Acetaldehyde is an aldehyde that has a pronounced green apple smell and taste. It is an intermediate compound in the production of ethanol. The yeast reduce these compounds during the later stages of fermentation.

The yeast also produce an array of fusel alcohols during primary fermentation in addition to ethanol. Fusels are higher molecular weight alcohols that often give harsh solvent-like tastes to beer. During secondary fermentation, the yeast convert these alcohols to more pleasant tasting fruity esters. Warmer temperatures encourage ester production.
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Old 08-29-2008, 03:19 PM   #5
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Several months probably will not hurt it if it's at the right temp.

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Old 08-29-2008, 06:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf View Post
No problem at all unless you leave it in the primary for several months. It will give the yeasts time to clean up after themselves.

-a.
Yeast.

Also, even several months will be fine. Don't worry about it and get to it when you can.
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:27 PM   #7
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Way to go Revvy! I was looking for the same passage but you were quicker on the draw.

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Old 08-30-2008, 06:25 AM   #8
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+1 for what everyone here said.

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Old 08-30-2008, 01:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bull8042 View Post
Way to go Revvy! I was looking for the same passage but you were quicker on the draw.
Bull, once you've given the same advice/info on here 20-30 times, you kinda have it right at your finger tips...usually under USER CP/Previous Posts...
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