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Old 09-25-2012, 02:43 PM   #1
wlssox524
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Default Fermentation/Bottling time variables

Hello--
I've been reading up on suggested timelines for fermentation time/bottling time and am looking to get a little clarification. I get that it's important to give an average gravity brew about 3 weeks in the bottles and a week in the fridge to condition.

My question is: does extra time in the fermentation bucket (by extra time I mean time beyond when fermentation has ended per my hydrometer readings) reduce the amount of time needed in the bottle to condition? For example, say my hydrometer indicates that fermentation is over after 1 week, I bottle at that point, and then give 3 weeks at 70F and 1 week in the fridge. If I instead gave it an extra week in the bucket would the need for conditioning time in the bottle be reduced? I understand that this is a bit subjective and the beer isn't magically ready at any one point but I'm looking for general guidance.

I ask because for a number of reasons I sometimes can't bottle until 2-4 weeks of time in the fermentation bucket and I'm wondering if in these situations I can cut down on the bottle conditioning time


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Old 09-25-2012, 02:54 PM   #2
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No. No matter how long you ferment the beer you are starting a little mini fermentation to get the carbonation. It will take the same time to bottle condition regardless of the fermentation times.

The yeast work on their own timetable. I have brewed similar recipes and used similar amounts of priming sugar. One will be carbonated at 2 weeks and another might take 3+. All of them have tasted better after 3 weeks.


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Old 09-25-2012, 02:54 PM   #3
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I find that the longer time in the fermenter give you better tasting beer that is also clearer. The yeast will work to clean up the beer. The bottle conditioning time is still the same because it takes time for the carbonation to develop and get absorbed into the beer.

I usually go 3-4 weeks in the fermenter, but often that is because I have several brews going so I am in no rush to get them in bottles. Bigger beers, like some of the Belgians I brew often go much longer.
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:16 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. A related question: I bottled my first batch on a Sunday and sampled a bottle 4 days later (that that Thursday) to see how things were going. The bottle was already pretty heavily carbonated--very bubbly mouthfeel and not in an entirely pleasant way. This was a Midwest Irish Red ale extract kit that I primed with the standard 5 oz corn sugar dissolved in boiled water. I know I should expect the beer to taste off/green that early on but would that much carbonation early on be a sign of something bad? It didn't gush and wasn't out of control but definitely more carbed than I was expecting
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:20 PM   #5
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As with most things in science and art (Brewing is a good bit of both) it depends. The time required for bottle conditioning is for fermentation of the sugars added just before bottling, for the purpose of carbonating the beer in the closed pressure of the bottle. Adding more time to the primary fermentation will not reduce the time needed to carbonate the beer especially since the sugars being fermented to create said carbonation haven't been added yet, and fermentation in your carboy/bucket/betterbottle is not pressurized, so the carbonation produced is escaping out of your airlock.

Now aside from bottle conditioning time; as far as flavor and finish of your beer, your predicament may be better for your finished product. Many of us on here prefer longer primary fermentations (2-4 weeks) and have found it to have a very positive effect on the finished product. That has nothing to do with the time it takes for your beer to condition (carbonate) in the bottles though. There are many hypothesized benefits of leaving the beer in primary for a longer period of time that are discussed at length in other threads, that I'll spare from this thread to avoid turning it into yet another repeat of half dozen or so versions already out there (just search "long primary" or "secondary or not" if you wish to see more about it). Carbonation time aside, the longer primary may translate to a little bit less time for the beer to be "finished" or tasting better from proper aging, but I wouldn't consider it an alternative to bottle carbonating time. Only testing a bottle at a time will tell you if your beer has conditioned/carbed up properly. Carbonation may finish in as little as a week depending on the style, yeast, and conditions.
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wlssox524 View Post
Thanks for the replies. A related question: I bottled my first batch on a Sunday and sampled a bottle 4 days later (that that Thursday) to see how things were going. The bottle was already pretty heavily carbonated--very bubbly mouthfeel and not in an entirely pleasant way. This was a Midwest Irish Red ale extract kit that I primed with the standard 5 oz corn sugar dissolved in boiled water. I know I should expect the beer to taste off/green that early on but would that much carbonation early on be a sign of something bad? It didn't gush and wasn't out of control but definitely more carbed than I was expecting
Did you chill the bottle down properly first? CO2 will escape solution faster at warmer temps leading to a more fizzy mouthfeel.
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:36 PM   #7
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The bottles were chilled to drinking temperature but I hadn't left them in the fridge for the couple days to a week that people seem to recommend (was really drinking that one out of curiosity for where it was at). Not sure if that longer fridge time would have reduced the fizziness. Thanks for your answer--I understood that the carbonation process was completely separate from fermentation but I thought that the recommended couple weeks in the bottle was for "finishing" as well, and that longer time in primary might therefore somewhat reduce the necessary time in the bottle
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:59 PM   #8
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It depends on the recipe and the process. A lot of people go by a 1-2-3 rule for most ~1.050 beers. That is, 1 week of fermentation 2 weeks in primary or secondary, and 3 weeks in the bottle. A lot of commercial beers are on the shelf within 4-6 weeks of brewing, even craft beers. If you have a recipe that you brew repeatedly, you could establish a schedule for that beer and try it with your other brews.
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:36 AM   #9
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I'm a newbie!! I've brewed 10 batches of beer! I want to keg in future! I've read that some people carb at 5 psi, 11 psi, or 30 psi! You don't use sugar or do you? Thanks for any reply! Also what's the advantage of a keezer over a fridge? Thanks!
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:38 AM   #10
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Sorry! Wrong thread!


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