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Old 10-25-2009, 08:19 AM   #1
ewtotel
 
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In September I brewed my "Fortieth Birthday Belgian Tripel" with the plan of leaving it in secondary until next August, then bottling it in time to drink it for my fortieth birthday next September.

It's been racked off to my secondary for a week or so now, and it looks lovely. My question is this: do I need to leave an airlock on the carboy for the entire 11 months? I'm thinking that after a month or so in the secondary it would make more sense to remove the airlock and just put a bung in the carboy, sealing it up. My fear is that I will at some point neglect my carboy and the liquid in the airlock will dry up, allowing bugs in my beer.

Any thoughts?
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:09 AM   #2
Orfy
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I'd fear a seal on a bung lasting for that long. Pressure changes could release the seal.
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:17 AM   #3
ewtotel
 
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I hadn't thought about that. I suppose it wouldn't take much in the way of atmospheric changes or even temperature changes in the air to loosen the bung up.
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:04 AM   #4
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At least with an air lock you can see what's happening. I bit like your own beer barometer.
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Old 10-25-2009, 01:16 PM   #5
jmendez29
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What would be so bad about bottling it up after, say, two months in secondary? I'm not exactly an expert, but from what I understand, it will still condition nicely in the bottle. And you would have the added benefit of sampling a couple to make sure its what you are hoping for on your birthday. Just don't sample too many.

 
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Old 10-25-2009, 01:46 PM   #6
DrinksWellWithOthers
 
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I bulk aged my barleywine in a carboy for 6-7 months and used an airlock filled with vodka. I checked on it a few times over the course of its aging because I was worried the vodka would evaporate but I don't think I even lost a drop.

 
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Old 10-25-2009, 02:19 PM   #7
ewtotel
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmendez29 View Post
What would be so bad about bottling it up after, say, two months in secondary? I'm not exactly an expert, but from what I understand, it will still condition nicely in the bottle. And you would have the added benefit of sampling a couple to make sure its what you are hoping for on your birthday. Just don't sample too many.
I'm also certainly no expert, so I'm hoping that one jumps in here somewhere. The instructions with the recipie said it reccomended a 9-12 month secondary because of the high volume of fermentables. Not one to argue with a recipe (the first time, anyway) I went with it.

Plus... It just _sounds_ cool to have a beer sitting in a carboy for a year!
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Old 10-25-2009, 02:20 PM   #8
ewtotel
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrinksWellWithOthers View Post
I bulk aged my barleywine in a carboy for 6-7 months and used an airlock filled with vodka. I checked on it a few times over the course of its aging because I was worried the vodka would evaporate but I don't think I even lost a drop.
Excellent! I use vodka, too (good excuse to keep a bottle on hand) so I think I'll stick with the airlock.
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Old 10-25-2009, 03:26 PM   #9
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I've found that the "S" shaped airlocks lose less liquid over time than the 3 piece airlocks. They are what I use for long term aging my wines.
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