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View Poll Results: What to do?
A. Bottle Early 0 0%
B. Leave in Primary 27 87.10%
C. Put in Secondary 4 12.90%
D. None of the above¡ 0 0%
Voters: 31. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-30-2011, 07:21 PM   #1
May 2011
Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 22

Yesterday I brewed a rendition of Janet's Brown Ale from Brewing Classic Styles, which is happily fermenting away as we speak. However, my wife just asked me: "Will we be able to bottle that brown ale before we go on our road trip?"


So we're leaving on June 9th, 11 days after brewing, and we're not getting back until around June 25th (~27 days after brewing). Normally, I'd just leave it in the primary fermentation for about 2 or 3 weeks until I had time to bottle it. This time, however, I'll have to do something different. Here my options as I see it:

A. Bottle early at the risk of the brew not being full done/conditioned.
B. Leave it in the primary at the risk of off-flavors being produced (as I've read as being possible in many of the posts on HBT, even by those who recommend not bothering with primary fermentors)
C. Put it in a secondary fermentor before we leave until we get back at the risk of oxidizing it or exposing it to nasties.

Just based on Newton's First Law (and human nature), B sounds the easiest, but not if it's going to make weird beer. Any recommendations? Or is it D, none of the above?
Planning: Davunitas IPA 3.0, Americana Wheat 2.0
Fermenting: Empty!
Conditioning: Dubbel Dubbel, Anniversary Cream Ale
Drinking: Americana Wheat, Davunitas IPA 2.0, Uncle Dunkel Dunkelwezen, Janet's Brown Ale

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Old 05-30-2011, 07:23 PM   #2
Jun 2010
Edmonton Ky
Posts: 1,335
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You can leave it in primary. 1 month will not produce off flavors from leaving it on the yeast.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:55 PM   #3
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Oct 2010
League City, Tx
Posts: 1,235
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I would recommend C, since that's pretty much what I do anyway. There's really no risk of oxidation or nasties if you follow proper racking and sanitation procedures. The "primary only police" are going to jump on me but I do long secondaries for all of my beers regardless of my travel plans.

To tell you the truth, any of your options will be okay as long as fermentation is complete before you do any bottling. Option C is just the one I would do.
Originally Posted by Polorl69 View Post
I had no problems whatsoever getting my pee to ferment.

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Old 05-30-2011, 07:57 PM   #4
Jan 2011
Rocky Hill, CT
Posts: 1,075
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i say B. ive left beer in primary for 5 months and it was great.

dont bottle early, that could cause some explosion problems

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Old 05-30-2011, 08:35 PM   #5
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Yooper's Avatar
Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
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I'm not on the "tremendously long primary" bandwagon at all. Long primary may not harm the beer, but anything over 2-3 weeks won't benefit the beer and you may not get autolysis but sometimes some other issue come into play, depending on temperature.

I'd either bottle it if it's done and fairly clear, or rack. If I had to absolutely choose one, I'd rack to the bright tank.
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:42 PM   #6
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Jun 2008
The Cold Part of AZ
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Originally Posted by Ravenshead View Post
The "primary only police" are going to jump on me but I do long secondaries for all of my beers regardless of my travel plans.
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
I'm not on the "tremendously long primary" bandwagon at all.
I'm 2nd Lieutenant in the "primary only Army"

Mainly because of 1) laziness, and 2) timing.

1) Lazy - I just don't see a point to rack, unless I'm dry hopping or adding fruit

2) Timing - I like to keg/bottle as many batches as possible on one given day. So that may mean one batch has been in the primary 2 weeks, one batch may have been on dry hops for a week, and another batch may have been in the primary 8 weeks. But I like to bottle/keg all three in one day.

If I was in your boat, I'd do B or C (only C if you're sure it's reached FG).

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Old 05-30-2011, 10:26 PM   #7
Sep 2010
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Posts: 1,171
Liked 20 Times on 20 Posts

I'm with AZ for the same reasons.
I'd probably go with B. You're looking at a total of 4 weeks vs 3. It's really not that much longer, and I doubt you're going to get much, if any, off flavors based on time.

Most of the issues I heard of with long primaries are those with large scale fermenters. Certainly, if you were going to be gone for three months, then I'd go with C.

Oh, and if D is to keg it at the last minute and bring it along with a co2 tank, that could be a possible option.

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Old 05-31-2011, 03:14 AM   #8
Jan 2011
Reno, NV
Posts: 109
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I'd wait and evaluate right before you leave on your trip. If you get a solid fermentation going, it's possible the beer will be done and you could potentially bottle it right then. Otherwise, I'd leave it in primary. 27 days won't be a problem especially that Janet's brown is a fairly big/hoppy brown ale.

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Old 05-31-2011, 03:21 AM   #9
Nov 2010
Posts: 216

If you have the time I would put, as Yooper said, in a bright tank, at least then you are not worried about it. I can sit and you can bottle when you want to.

At the least, you can feel you dealt with it.

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Old 05-31-2011, 03:30 AM   #10
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Apr 2011
Arlington (DC), VA
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Last thing I'd do is bottle it if you're not absolutely sure it's done. I'd say leave in primary. I normally primary for 3 weeks, but I hear plenty of recommendations for 4 week primaries.
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