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Old 10-26-2011, 09:37 PM   #1
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Default Which beers are more suited for short fermentation?

Just a real generic question...what's a good way of figuring out if a beer is better suited for long fermentation (3 to 4 weeks) or short (week to 2 weeks, like a session beer)?

My instinct is the lower the ABV the less time it would need to completely ferment and clean up after itself. And the higher the ABV the longer it would need to ferment and clean up after itself. But those are just guesses.

So if my assumption was correct, a good way to determine a session beer is less fermentable sugar than a typical ale so less grains used. Or am I way off?


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Old 10-26-2011, 09:43 PM   #2
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Most ale fermentations should be complete within a couple of days, regardless of gravity if enough healthy yeast is being used. Upon the completion of fermentation, by-products created during this process (like diacetyl) should be taken up within 48 hours.

Yes, off flavors may mellow and flavors may meld over the course of 4 weeks, but in my opinion, it is complete overkill. It is my personal belief that if you need flavors to go away within 4 weeks' time, then it is a procedural problem.

If you want a super fast fermentation, get some healthy 002/1968 or 028/1728, grow the recommended quantity, ferment at the correct temperature, and you can see complete attenuation within 48 hours. I have been using 1728 recently and kegging my beers at the 7-8 day mark with no (discernible to me) glaring issues.


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Old 10-26-2011, 09:46 PM   #3
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Session beer does not "always" refer to alcoholic content.

For example, a Low ABV Milk Stout will be light on alcohol but heavy on the mouthfeel and gut due to unfermentables. Thus, not exactly "sessionable".

Yet, a well brewed highly attentuated Belgian Quad may be quaffable until you pass out.

Gravity is a good indication but, you have to bear in mind the affect of unfermentables on sessionability too.


As to the OQ, Original Gravity would be the best indicator of fermentation time coupled with attenuation of the yeast.
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:54 PM   #4
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Most ale fermentations should be complete within a couple of days, regardless of gravity if enough healthy yeast is being used. Upon the completion of fermentation, by-products created during this process (like diacetyl) should be taken up within 48 hours.
This is exactly what I was going to say. ANY ale will be finished in 3-5 days (5 at the absolute outside, such as in a colder fermentation of 60 degrees). The key is to always pitch the correct amount of yeast, whether the beer is a 1.039 mild or a 1.090 tripel. A day or two after the beer has reached FG is all that's needed for diacetyl clean up, and possibly not that long.

A well made beer never needs three weeks in the fermenter, although being there probably won't harm it. Even my lagers (which take a bit longer to ferment out at a cold temperature) aren't in the primary for 3 weeks!
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:22 PM   #5
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What if you do not use a secondary?
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:23 PM   #6
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I'm pretty amateur, and mine are usually.in the keg clear and drinkable within 2 weeks!
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:37 PM   #7
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What if you do not use a secondary?
I almost never do. I'm not sure of the question?
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:40 PM   #8
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I always let it sit for three weeks in the primary and skip the secondary, you are saying a week in the primary is long enough?
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:42 PM   #9
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I always let it sit for three weeks in the primary and skip the secondary, you are saying a week in the primary is long enough?
If the beer is done, and has been at FG for at least three days, yes.

But I normally leave my beer in primary 2 weeks and make sure it's perfectly clear before racking because I'm in no rush.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:51 PM   #10
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I always let it sit for three weeks in the primary and skip the secondary, you are saying a week in the primary is long enough?
I wish I had bottled my English Special Bitter/Pale Ale at one week, it had this tremendously delicious orange flavor that disapeared during days 7 through 12 on me and I had been at FG since day 4 or 5. Some beers don't need 2-4 weeks, some do.


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