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bzwyatt

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I was at Stone last year and on the tour I heard something I’ve wondered about ever since. At the time I’d made a couple MrB kits and didn’t know a whole lot about brewing. I know a lot more now, but I still wonder about this statement I heard.

The tour guide talked about how long it takes to make a batch of beer (ale). She said they ferment their beer under optimal conditions and it is done fermenting in 4 to 7 days.

Up until now I have used somewhat arbitrary guidelines for my fermentation times. I brew on weekends, so my intervals for working in my brewery are generally based on that time span – every 5-7 days I do something, whether it is rack a beer, bottle one, brew one. Like everybody I’ve heard lots of input on fermenting times.

I first heard 2 weeks primary/2 weeks secondary/3 weeks bottle. Later I heard secondary isn’t necessary. In my experience, 3 weeks is not long enough for good carbonation/conditioning. I've noticed racking seems to help a beer attenuate more. I sorta just go with 3 weeks minimum, taking gravity readings, and follow the flow of my brewdays, and be as patient as possible with my bottled beer.

But I am starting to want to be more efficient, basically. I want to package my beer when it is ready. I want my beer to be as fresh as possible, and see if I can tell a difference. I want to maybe brew more often. I want my beer to done in 4-7 days. If Stone can do it, I can do it.

So, what do you think that tour guide meant? Do you think they go from pitching to bottling/kegging in 4-7 days? How do they do it? Are ‘optimal conditions’ temperature and pitch rate? Oxygenation? Anything else? Do you think they take samples often when it has been fermenting a while, like a few times a day, until they know it is done just by gravity? Do all commercial breweries do this?
 

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Primary is almost always complete in 4-7 days (for me, usually about 5), in a well-made beer although some can take a bit longer.

Many people keep the beer in the fermenter for a longer time after primary finishes up, but I generally package my beers at day 10 or so.

A beer can be packaged within a day or so of reaching FG, if made with enough healthy yeast and fermentation temperature is controlled. Normally, in a brewery, a beer will ferment in the fermenter and then be moved to the bright tank to carb and clear and condition and then be packaged.
 
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bzwyatt

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Can DMS form after the boil, during chilling? I heard somebody say not to cover the beer or DMS will form. Can it form even after boiling for an hour or more?
 

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There are some tricks that a larger brewery can use. They can gradually raise temp towards the end of fermentation to keep the yeast more active longer and clean themselves up much faster. I'm not exactly sure but I believe pressurized fermentations can be done at higher temps and still suppress esters. Those higher temps I would think would also make for a faster beer. Using bright tanks they can precisely carbonate large batches in a matter of hours to get ready for serving. Some of these things homebrewers can do as well, all it takes in money! Otherwise a couple weeks should give you great results for most beers.
 

Sir-Brews-Alot

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Sure the beer may be done fermenting in 4 to 7 days, that seems pretty typical even on the homebrew level. That doesn’t mean Stone is done conditioning the beer etc. Did they specifically state that they go from grain to glass in 4 to 7 days? I doubt that is the case.

One factor that will greatly decrease the time between brew day and the beer in your glass, is kegging. You no longer need 3-4 weeks to carb. Heck you can transfer the beer to a keg and be drinking it 5 minutes later if you force carb it. Most people prefer to set the pressure to 30PSI for 12-24 hours then lower it to serving pressure and the beer will be ready in 5-7 days, which is still much faster than bottling.

I brew a Dark Mild that is ready to drink in 5 days. I brew it on Sunday, rack to keg on Thursday and am drinking it by Saturday. Granted it still improves after another week in the keg, but for all intents and purposes, it is ready to drink in 5 days.
 

rmyurick

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Warmer temperatures and lower OG's both will give you faster ferments. So a Mild or Ordinary Bitter can probably be ready in two weeks or less, if you keg. I don't think Stone goes from pitch to bottling in 4-7 days, that's probably just primary fermentation. They have to drop the yeast, cold condition, filter & bottle. All that probably takes another approx. two weeks, at least. Although they brew lagers, A-B wants to get brews out the door quickly & I don't think they do anything that's ready in less than a month.
 

kh54s10

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I was at Stone last year and on the tour I heard something I’ve wondered about ever since. At the time I’d made a couple MrB kits and didn’t know a whole lot about brewing. I know a lot more now, but I still wonder about this statement I heard.

The tour guide talked about how long it takes to make a batch of beer (ale). She said they ferment their beer under optimal conditions and it is done fermenting in 4 to 7 days.

Up until now I have used somewhat arbitrary guidelines for my fermentation times. I brew on weekends, so my intervals for working in my brewery are generally based on that time span – every 5-7 days I do something, whether it is rack a beer, bottle one, brew one. Like everybody I’ve heard lots of input on fermenting times.

I first heard 2 weeks primary/2 weeks secondary/3 weeks bottle. Later I heard secondary isn’t necessary. In my experience, 3 weeks is not long enough for good carbonation/conditioning. I've noticed racking seems to help a beer attenuate more. I sorta just go with 3 weeks minimum, taking gravity readings, and follow the flow of my brewdays, and be as patient as possible with my bottled beer.

This should not be the case. Attenuation should be finished before racking. Racking to secondary is for clearing the beer only. No further fermentation should be happening in secondary.

But I am starting to want to be more efficient, basically. I want to package my beer when it is ready. I want my beer to be as fresh as possible, and see if I can tell a difference. I want to maybe brew more often. I want my beer to done in 4-7 days. If Stone can do it, I can do it.

It all depends on the style of beer. Light ales are best young. Strong or dark ales are best with some ageing. For example a Barleywine might not be best until it has aged for a year or more.

So, what do you think that tour guide meant? Do you think they go from pitching to bottling/kegging in 4-7 days? How do they do it? Are ‘optimal conditions’ temperature and pitch rate? Oxygenation? Anything else? Do you think they take samples often when it has been fermenting a while, like a few times a day, until they know it is done just by gravity? Do all commercial breweries do this?
Commercial breweries work with very different conditions than most homebrewers are capable of. You usually should not even attempt to work on a schedule that they use.

They pitch very fresh yeast at very precise amounts, have excellent fermentation controls and have a lab that can take very precise measurements of what is happening during the brewing process.

Stick to the norms for homebrewing and not commercial and you will obtain better results.
 
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