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Old 07-15-2011, 01:15 AM   #1
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Default High gravity beers

I'm looking to brew a very high ABV brew (around 11%) and have it drinkable about 2 months after brewing it. The only recipes that I've found for such a brew are for an imperial IPA. Question is, why can't I make a porter/stout/barleywine that is ready in about 2 months? Is there really a big distinguishable different in the taste of these stouts/barleywines, etc at 1 month after bottling vs 6-8 months?

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Old 07-15-2011, 01:24 AM   #2
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You may be able to pull off a stout or porter but I vote "no way" on a Barleywine. They take forever to get drinkable!

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Old 07-15-2011, 02:03 AM   #3
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As the number of fermentables go up, the number of fermentation byproducts resulting in unpleasant tasting beer go up in a directly proportional relationship. These byproducts take time to be reabsorbed by the yeast and for certain things to drop out of suspension. The bigger the beer, the longer the wait. Its better to be patient and be pleased, than to be impatient and disappointed.
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:09 AM   #4
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Also, high gravity beers take much longer to carb (unless you force carb them).
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:25 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mhenry41h View Post
You may be able to pull off a stout or porter but I vote "no way" on a Barleywine. They take forever to get drinkable!
I disagree. In my experience barleywines are ready sooner. Especially American-style.

To the OP: at 11%, bottle carbing may start to take longer (though I've carbed three different beers @ 10% and they all were carbed at three weeks in the bottle). If the bottles carb, there's nothing stopping you from bottling after four weeks in primary and having drinkable beer at the end of two months. However, anything that's not an imperial IPA will probably only improve after that.

If you have good temperature control it will be a big help in keeping your fermentation clean so that your beer is better sooner.
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Old 07-15-2011, 05:34 AM   #6
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Yeah, possible and best case are two different things. You can definitely have a beer that's finished fermenting in 2 months (maybe carbed, but I only keg so I can't speak to it). However, the longer you can leave a big beer on the yeast the more they can clean up the higher alcohols and off-flavors that are going to get developed. Plus, the longer you can leave them alone, the more the alcohol burn will mellow out and blend with the beer.

Of course, that's not to say there's anything stopping you! Make sure you pitch a bunch of yeast, aerate really well, and you should be able to get fermentation done in a couple of weeks. Since it sounds like carbonation might take a little longer, figure plan on getting it into bottles in a month, giving it a month to carbonate. Remember that barleywines and some higher alcohol beers are lower carbed, and a non-optimal carb might not be the worst thing. If you've got a really good reason to have it done in 2 months there's nothing wrong with this strategy. Although, if you consider the time/patience/money that it can take to brew a big beer, I hate to rush them. Besides, who wants to drink an 11% beer in the hundred degree PA heat?

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