I like many of us leave our Ales in 3-4 weeks....
One thing to remember is that Papazian, as wonderful as it is, was written 30 years ago...and a lot of "science" or "common wisdom" that he as an author tapped into has evolved....all authors face this issue with their work.
Charlie Papazian said it
But he might not necessarily say
it now....see the difference?
His basic info is timeless....how to brew beer, figure out recipes, etc...but some of the info is just a reflection of the "opinions," or prevailing wisdom of the times, and may not even reflect his current beliefs...There's a podcast with Papazian from a year or so ago, where he talks about just having started using rice hulls in his mash ton...so if he doesn't update the book again, or write a new one, unless you've heard the podcast or read it on here, you won't KNOW about it.
Here's a good example John Palmer basically admits that what he wrote about IBU's in How to brew, was esentially "wrong" or at least outdated in light of new science...
I cite that podcast as an example of how the knowlegebase shifts so fast in this hobby because of places like this or podcasts...A book is a snapshot of the author's body of knowlege and the "common wisdom" at the time the author wrote the book, which may mean 3 years before it was even published. Papazian's book is 30+ years old. The basic knowlege is good, but brewing science and experience has progressed to where some things an author believes or says at that time may no-longer be valid...even to the author.
Most of the time when someone "revises" a book they don't necessarilly "re-write" the entire thing...and unless they annotated the changes, often all a "revised" edition has to make it up to date is a new introduction, and maybe the addition or removal of some things. But Rarely is a revision in a book a serious comb through of the entire book.
If an author plans to devote months to an extensive revision, they more than likely would just write a new book anyway.
And it's usually done for money or simply to get it back into the marketplace after a long lag..Sometimes a revised edition is simply a new cover or a different shaped book (like a trade paperback.) With a new intro and conclusion tagged on...
So there's really no way to know too much how updated the book was..I mean my copy is the 2002 edition iirc, and the photos are still pretty much have the look of bygone times.
I mean I look at my own writings, including my E-book on spirituality, it was written back in 1999-2000, and a lot of my beliefs and ideas have shifted about things in the 8 years...I am not the same person that I was when I wrote it....And neither is Charlie Papazian the same brewer he is now...like I said, he just discovered rice hulls last year.
In that Podcast, Palmer basically contradicts in some was what he wrote in HTB...and I bet it will be reflected in his subsequent writings, but if he doesn't go back and revise HTB, and people don't read or listen to anything by him after, than they won't realize that the knowlegebase has already shifted...
In terms of long primaring, back then, yeah autolysis WAS the big fear at the time of Papazian, someone said this week it may have been a reflection of the oldier and crappier yeasts in the pre-prohibition days.....
Also what is of concern to commercial brewers of light lagers (by the way to lager means to store for a great length of time) or lager brewers in general doesn't necessarily apply to ales...or doesn't apply for a few weeks (or even a couple months of a healthy yeast cake.)
But things, like science, and even the yeasts themselves have changed, and we by our OWN experience have witnessed how much better our beer is when we've left it alone in primary for 2-4 weeks.
Rememeber Papazian was writing his book from right around that time period, when yeasts cake in dry cakes and may not have even been stored properly, and many people just placed towles and cookie sheets on their ceramic crock pot fermenters.
It is podcasts and forums like this where you will find a lot more state of the art, or current views, and even scientific information...I mean if Jamil, John Palmer or Papazian even farts on a podcast, one of us beergeeks are going to start a thread on it within 10 minutes.
Speaking of Palmer...Here's what HE says on the subject...
Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermentor for a total of 2-3 weeks (instead of just the one week most canned kits recommend), will provide time for the conditioning reactions and improve the beer. This extra time will also let more sediment settle out before bottling, resulting in a clearer beer and easier pouring. And, three weeks in the primary fermentor is usually not enough time for off-flavors to occur.
So hope this helps you understand that no author, even Papazian exists in a vacuum..ANd what he wrote relfected HIS and many beliefs at the time of writing.
Bit NOT necessarily the prevailing wisdom or knowlege today...No boo, (ahem0 Not even the Bible, is etched in stone.