Originally Posted by jaynik
I'm happy it turned out but am confused how it was in the carboy on 11/17 and not yet at fg, but is now fully carbed and drinkable on 11/21. Did I misunderstand something here?
It was at FG on 11/16, I just didn't know it. I mashed @ 158 because I wanted plenty of body and residual sweetness to balance out all those IBU's. I checked gravity again on 11/18 and it hadn't moved so I went ahead and bottled. 2 days in my mini warm room
and it's fully carbed and delicious. That's why I'm so amazed at this....just a few days ago I was bitching about ****ty beer and now I'm thrilled because what I brewed is pretty much amazing.
I don't do things the way most people recommend them on this site. I usually bottle after 7 days and my beer is usually fully carbed within 3 or 4 days and ready to drink. Yes, it ages and matures after that but I make a lot of malty beers (stouts, brown ales, scottish ales) and I really prefer them as fresh as possible. The conventional wisdom on here seems to be that that's the complete wrong way of doing things, the beer needs to be in the carboy for 2 or 3 weeks, then bottle conditioned for another 2 or 3 weeks but I've been brewing all grain for a little more than 2 years now and I brew, on average, probably 1.5 beers per month and I've found that I make better beer this way.
First, I ALWAYS make the proper size starter on a stir plate w/ yeast nutrient, and I control my fermentation temps w/ a Johnson A419 controller and chest freezer so my beers are usually completely fermented after 3 or 4 days. If I'm going for a more estery English style I will calculate my starter size using my brew spreadsheet so that I get as close to 0.75 million cells/ ML-P (and ferment a little warmer) but if I'm doing an American style I usually pitch 1.5 million cells/ML-P so that there isn't much of a growth stage (and ferment as cold as possible) and I get a really fast ferment. I also aerate w/ pure 02 on all my beers.
I think that bottling after just 7 days is better if you don't add fresh yeast because the yeast is still fresh so your beer carbs up a lot faster and the yeast are still active enough to absorb any O2 that might get into the beer during the bottling process. I think maybe they are also in better shape to clean up any fermentation biproducts that were produced during the carbing process. I don't have any real evidence to back this up other than my beers which are usually pretty damn good (I'm not 100% sure that yeast can still absorb O2 after they're done fermenting).
The only beers I do an extended secondary on are high ABV and Belgian Dubbels and Tripels and I always crash those at around 35 degrees for a few days and then add fresh yeast at bottling. Even with those though I usually only do 1 week primary and then 2 weeks in secondary (around 45 - 50 degrees) and then I bottle. When I first started brewing all grain I was using Northern Brewer kits and I followed their recommendations which were usually 1 - 3 weeks in primary, 2 - 3 in secondary and 2 -3 bottle conditioning. I did that for probably a year and I never added fresh yeast. My beers would take forever to carb and they just weren't as good as they are now.