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Old 11-05-2012, 03:40 PM   #1
joey0214
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How long do you l primary ferment for before you bottle? What effect does it have if you leave it in for 3 or 4 weeks instead of 2?

 
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:43 PM   #2
thasnazzle
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short answer: until it's done.

Long answer: until you get consistent gravity readings, which indicate that fermentation has stopped. You can leave it in the fermenter for months with no ill effects.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:46 PM   #3
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It depends on what type of beer you are making, but in general, 2-3 weeks for an average gravity beer is perfect. It only takes a few days for active fermentation to be complete, but after that, the yeast will actually go back and eat their own byproduct, which minimizes off flavors and enhances the quality of your beer. After that, the beer starts to bulk condition the same way it would condition in a bottle anyway, so any extra time just promotes better beer as well.

I leave all of my beers except for wheat-based beers (best young) in primary for at least 3 weeks. Whenever I have a good pipeline going, I leave my beers in primary for more like 6-8 weeks, and the final product is always better as a result.

Also, just FYI, high gravity beers require exponentially longer fermentation, conditioning, and carbing periods, so anything over 1.065 OG or so, you'll always need to factor in additional time in the primary as well as additional time to carb and condition. All of the chemical and biological processes in wort/beer go slower in higher ABV environments.

Good luck!
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:25 PM   #4
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You basically wait till it reaches a stable FG. Then give it up to another week to settle out clear or slightly misty. It cleans up after itself at this same time & settles out all the nastie stuff it ate with it. Then bottle & give it 3-4 weeks,then 1 week fridge time,& it'll be great.
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