So do you want to have excellent beer in your first batch? Or do you just want to drink it?
Do you really care about your question "Does beer clear up much in the bottle?" in this batch..or do you just want to drink it?
You can't have CLEAR beer if you want FAST beer...You can't have GREAT TASTING beer if you want FAST BEER.
You heard nearly everyone say they don't rush the beer...that's why. When doing beer we are not making koolaid. We've also come to realize that most of the time the kit instructions conflict with making great beer.
Many of us leave our beers in primary for 3-4 weeks, or use a secondary and it adds up to being 3-4 weeks in both vessel. And no matter how long your instructions say your beer will be bottled, since that is a natural process it is rarely the case the the time a beer takes to carb and condition in the bottle is 3 weeks at 70 degrees....Or more depending on the gravity of the beer, and the temp...I have had beers take 6 weeks, 8 weeks, and 3 months to be carbed and drinkable, mostly three, but rarely less than three weeks in the bottle will a beer be ready
I discuss the Carbing and Conditioning process for beer here; Revvy's Blog, Of Patience and Bottle Conditioning.
In Mr Wizard's colum in BYO this month he made an interesting analogy about brewing and baking....He said that egg timers are all well and good in the baking process but they only provide a "rule of thumb" as to when something is ready...recipes, oven types, heck even atmospheric conditions, STILL have more bearing on when a cake is ready than the time it says it will be done in the cook book. You STILL have to stick a toothpick in the center and pull it out to see if truly the cake is ready.....otherwise you may end up with a raw cake....
Not too different from our beers....We can have a rough idea when our beer is ready (or use something silly like the 1-2-3 rule (which doesn't factor in things like yeast lag time or even ambient temp during fermentation) and do things to our beer willy nilly....but unless we actually stick "our toothpick" (the hydrometer) in and let it tell us when the yeasties are finished...we too can "f" our beer up.
We forget this simple fact...We are not making koolaid, or chocolate quick, just stirring in and having instant gratification...when you pitch yeast, you are dealing with living micro-organisms...and they have their own timetable, and their own agenda...You have to figure in a wild card.
generally speaking kit manufacturers, especially kit an kilo manufacturers, are concerned with selling more and more kits NOT with the brewer making the best beer possible. They know that if they say in the instructions to wait, they may loose some people to hobbies that have more instant gratification.
They also know that the time that a homebrewer will remain buying kits is relatively short...they know that after a few kits, the brewer will either give up, start brewing extract batches from recipes in books and places like this, formulate their own recipes, or go all grain...so they want to sell as many kits as possible to the new brewer before he moves on to bigger and better things.
SO they know that even their beer will taste better if you leave it longer...but they know that in the time you wait you will be reading and learning and be less likely to buy another kit...They can sell three or four kits to you if you follow their directions
in the same time frame that listening to us and waiting a month and bottle conditioning for another 3-4 weeks.
But Even Palmer says you should wait with beers...
Originally Posted by How To Brew
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.
You will see if you read enough threads here the paitience is the key to making great beer, It is a natural living process and that takes time and surrender.
So ultimately it is your choice right...if you want clear, carbonated and great tasting beer, then wait at least two weeks in primary and move the beer to a seoncdary for at least a week, or leave it alone in primary for 3-4 weeks then bottle...and don't touch your bottles for at least 3 weeks.
I and others follow this procedure and our beers are mighty clear...in fact I have had beer judges describe in contests my beers as "Jewell Like." And I do it simply with patience...I don't need to add anything or so anything special.
I just accept the idea that the yeast is the boss, not me and they know what they are doing.
You can't really cheat this process, or cut corners...and you can't really have by what you asked in the title of the thread (clear beer) without waiting. I know this is your first batch and your excited...we've all been there, and we also get a dozen threads like yours a day...and we give the same answer...slow donw and wait.
We're not trying to be mean, we just know the truth about making our beers great.
Beer does clear up in the bottle....in several weeks....even more if after it is carbed up, you chill it for even more weeks. I found a bottle in the back of my fridge that had been there about 3 months, and it was amazingly clear...even the bottle conditioned sediment in the bottom that you get will all bottle conditioned beers was so tight that it would not go into the bottle, even turning it upside down over the glass...The beer was amazing tasting as well.
Your choice......follow the kit instuctions or follow our advice, we don't really care. But do yourself and your beer a favor...if you follow the kits instructions, don't knock back all your beer right away. Stick a 6 pack of it in a closet for at least a month...or better 6 weeks....or even better....save it till bottling day on your next batch of beer....drink that while you are bottle the new one...and you will kick yourself for not listenning to us on here....you will be drinking fantastic beer that day...and maybe decide to wait a little longer on your next ones.
We have a saying on here, "The best bottle of a batch of beer, is your last one."
Whether you wait or not...you will understand why on your last bottle...becasue that one would have had plenty of time to condition....