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Old 09-16-2011, 03:32 PM   #1
IncredibleMulk
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Nov 2009
Frisco, TX
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We moved unexpectedly due to some family issues 6 months ago. I had ingredients that I moved with us for a couple of batches and upon moving in and settling a little bit I decided to brew. I brewed an Irish Red in March and placed it in primary. Well, life got busy/complicated and I either didn't have time to or just didn't want to mess with it. If finally got to the point that I just forgot about it.

Four weeks ago, I decided it was time to get back on the home brewing horse and to finally deal with the batch that had been in my closet for 5 months in primary. Knowing that this was not a high ABV beer I was fully prepared for my first dump ever. I was very surprised that it not only smelled and looked just fine, it also tasted good as well. I kegged it up and am happy to say it tastes GREAT.

I feel very lucky and have brewed three batches in the last two weeks. Here's to getting back on the horse and getting lucky with an EXTREMELY long primary (not to mention replenishing the very sad kegerator)!
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:11 PM   #2
OldStyler
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Aug 2011
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Nice. I've heard somewhere that about 6 months on the yeast cake / trub is the sort of guideline? Nice when laziness (or extenuating circumstances) pay off like that...

 
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:43 PM   #3
solbes
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Wow, so much for that 4 week on primary crap about autolyzed yeast. Certainly an extreme uninteded test of that theory.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:47 PM   #4
eltorrente
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Aug 2011
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I've never had a beer ruined from sitting in primary for "too" long. I never tried 6 months, but certainly 2-3 months never hurt anything.

 
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:56 PM   #5
VaBrewer
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I just kegged my Rochefort 8 batch that I brewed on 3/31/11 and it tastes great. Now it is a 9% beer and still had very small bubbles in the neck of the carboy so the yeast seems to be just fine.
I usually rack to secondary after 3-4 weeks, but I got busy etc. Since this turned out fine I just may not do that anymore. The exceptions being fruit beers or for dry hopping.

 
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Old 09-16-2011, 05:30 PM   #6
IncredibleMulk
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Nov 2009
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I have "unintentionally" done 2-3 month primaries, but never one this long. I'm just glad it turned out...I now have something to drink while my others are doing there thing.

I'm on a brewing binge now...thinking of doing another this weekend...if I can find ingredients in this "no man's land".

I killed all of my bottles in those months...really did miss homebrewing. Now if I can just find some brew buddies in this area. Guess I'll have to create my own.
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Old 09-16-2011, 08:31 PM   #7
xjmox14x
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Aug 2011
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Has anyone done a study on this, or is it more or less just a theory at this point? A lot of people point out that leaving it on the yeast cake for longer than 4 weeks runs the risk of autolysis. I mean, yes, it's not a myth and has been studied in biology for quite some time (in general). But has anyone ever actually performed an experiment with, say, one large batch of beer separated into 5 different fermenters? Maybe keg one at 4 weeks, one at 3 months, one at 6 months, etc. I think it's really the only way to take out all other variables, leaving the 4 week batch as the control, and being able to taste, if any, the differences between the batches? Might be tough to prove any taste differences are attributed to the yeast autolyzing however..

Even at this point, each yeast strain is most likely different in this respect as well.

 
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Old 09-16-2011, 08:37 PM   #8
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Not sure exactly what quantifiable research was done, but I've read that both John Palmer and Jamil, who were at least partially responsible for convincing us all that autolysis was going to kill our beer, have fairly recently stated in blogs/podcasts/skywriting/what-have-you that autolysis really isn't a risk these days.

It comes down in part to the small volumes (and resultant pressures on yeast cakes) that homebrewers generate compared to the pros, and probably more to the greatly improved quality of yeast strains available to us these days.

 
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Old 09-17-2011, 02:33 PM   #9
dover157
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Jun 2011
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IncredibleMulk If you ever make up to the Albuquerque, there are a couple of stores that I can point you at, my first recomendation would be Victors Grape Arbor. But Lubbock is most likely closer, and I think there is a store or two in Los Cruses but not sure on that one.

 
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Old 09-17-2011, 02:55 PM   #10
subliminalurge
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Oct 2006
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I had a similar thing happen to me with an Apple Ale that I made several years back. (Just mentioned that one in another thread, too...) I brewed it with the intention of doing a 2 week primary, 4 week secondary, and 4 weeks in bottles before the intended serving date came around (this was planned for a specific event).

Life didn't cooperate and I got busy, then busier, and long story short I forgot about it for almost a year. Like you I pulled it out fully prepared to go straight to the back yard and dump it, but a quick sniff didn't reveal anything obviously wrong, so I went for a very cautious taste test, and it seemed ok. Racked into the bottling bucket and 3 weeks later they were outstanding!

It's amazing how many "mistakes" you can make in this process without ruining everything. Everyone on this board, and other brewing boards, talks a lot about perfect sanitation practices, precision temperature control, etc... I'm sure noobs get visions of people in white lab coats in sterilized clean-room environments. I know I did when I started out. But then every time someone makes a mistake and posts about it, those same people reply with "Eh, don't worry, your beer will be fine."

It seems in reality it's pretty hard to actually "ruin" a batch of beer as long as you're making at least token efforts at doing things right. You may end up with something that's not precisely what you were aiming for, but is still a perfectly good and drinkable beer. (Example: I once had an IPA that I made in summer. Air conditioner started acting up and I couldn't afford to get it fixed right away, so I couldn't keep the fermenter cool enough. It had the banana notes of a Hefe, and was certainly not what I was aiming for, but it was still a damned tasty beverage.)

As far as autolysis goes.... When I went to clean that carboy from the batch that sat in it for a year, the trub and yeast cake at the bottom were packed in extremely tight. It's hard to imagine that anything going on in that concrete like layer would be able to interact much with the beer hovering above it.

 
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