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Why do we say 3 weeks in keg?

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h4mmy86

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Forgive me for sounding noobish but...

Carbonating aside, why do people recommend to leave a beer in keg for 3 weeks before consumption?

I like to leave my brew in primary for 3 weeks in most cases.
Why can't I just leave it (or secondary) for an additional 3 weeks, keg, force carb it in a couple days, and then enjoy right away?

Does the beer benefit from sitting while it's carbonated somehow?

Is it just for the sake of letting the co2 fully dissolve into the liquid?

It might sound silly but I can't find any information as to why we do this!
 

tfoutch

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I think if you are using the "set it and forget it" method of carbonation, you will find it takes about that long to carbonate.
 

atom

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some styles will be better as the condition but for most of what I brew, I am drinking within a week in the keg and it's fine. the three week rule applies mostly to bottles.
 

Revvy

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I think if you are using the "set it and forget it" method of carbonation, you will find it takes about that long to carbonate.
It's not a choice Op.. That's how long it takes.

I'll let the master, Bobby_M illustrate it from his great thread.



The green line is the set and forget method. You can see that it will take about 2 weeks to reach your desired volumes. Some folks will argue that they have carbonation in 1 week but "some" carbonation is not exactly equilibrated carb level though you might enjoy it anyway. I'm not 100% sure how long it takes but I have noted an increased carb level between week 1 and 2 on more than a few batches so I'm calling it 2 weeks to get it pretty close. You'll notice a small increase from week 2 to 3 but it's slight.

The blue line is just an example of a well executed boost carb. You'd leave it at approximately 3 times the equilibrium pressure for 24 hours, then drop it down and purge the keg so the headspace is now at the "chart pressure". If you do it right, you'll get close and then it will only take a couple more days to reach your desired volumes.

Highlighted for emphasis: More often than not, people in a hurry will try boosting even more by going with higher pressures and/or shaking the heck out of the keg. This usually results in what the red line is showing. You overshoot the carb level and then fight with the keg for several days to get it back down by purging the pressure a few times.

The final point I want to make is that the only reason I'd advocate a boost carb is when your beer has already aged/conditioned prior to making it to your kegerator and you need the beer to be drinkable in less than two weeks (poor planning on your part of course). I noted on the chart that if you went from primary right to keg at week zero, no matter how fast you carb, it will still take at least 3 weeks to taste decent. Therefore, why boost carb at all?
 
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h4mmy86

h4mmy86

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...the only reason I'd advocate a boost carb is when your beer has already aged/conditioned prior to making it to your kegerator....
That's what I'm suggesting, allowing the beer to age before kegging, then force carbing. Nevermind getting the vols perfect.

...it will still take at least 3 weeks to taste decent.
I wanna know WHY?
 
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h4mmy86

h4mmy86

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Perhaps I'm not making myself clear...

Lets say I brew 10 gallons. I leave the beer in primary for 3 weeks and the rack to 2x 5 gallon corny kegs.

Keg #1: I put under pressure and leave sitting 3 weeks for the "set it and forget it" route.

Keg #2: I just leave sitting for about 18 days before pressurizing and burst carbing for the last 3 days. (And for arguments sake we'll say I'm the best burst carber there ever was and I get my desired level of carbonation right on the money)

Why would the beer in keg #1 be any better than what's in keg #2?
 

Yooper

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I haven't the foggiest. I never actually knew anybody who would wait three weeks after kegging, although I read on this forum that a few recommend that.

I kegged a beer today. I'll be drinking it by Thursday. I can't see why 3 weeks would make it much better, except if you were waiting for it to carb up.

I'm in a hurry (almost out of homebrew!) so I put the keg in the kegerator at 30 psi. I'll leave it there for 36 hours, then purge and reset to 12 psi and start drinking it after that.
 

BierMuncher

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Cold conditioning begins a whole new phase of maturing a beer. While sitting in a fermenter at room temperature for three weeks will provide the yeast a viable environment with which to fully ferment and clean up after themselves, it is that 37 degree chill phase that will cause that yeast to drop out of suspension. Even at such a low temp, it still takes time for the yeast and protein haze to settle completely out.

By the time I’m on my second keg, I’m 7-10 weeks into the cold conditioning and I’m pulling crystal clear pints on the 2nd or 3rd draw. There is no question that the flavor profile of a beer that is one-two weeks on the chill and still pouring with just a slight haze, will be different than a beer that has been properly “lagered” if you will and is completely clear. Of course, the description of “tastes better” is subjective. Does a Belgian wheat beer tasted “better” at the 3rd week, or at the 13th week?

The length of time the beer is at a mature carbonation level also comes into play. While a quick burst beer at 10 days may be properly carbonated in the keg, my experience is that once drawn, the head will dissipate more quickly and the beer effervesce much less, than a beer that has been held at proper carbonation levels for several weeks.

So in my opinion, longer cold conditioned beers are cleaner of yeast and protein particulates and if under proper CO2 pressure, will have a more mature carbonation profile that lends a fuller, thicker head, proper lacing and constant effervescence.
 

Revvy

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Cold conditioning begins a whole new phase of maturing a beer. While sitting in a fermenter at room temperature for three weeks will provide the yeast a viable environment with which to fully ferment and clean up after themselves, it is that 37 degree chill phase that will cause that yeast to drop out of suspension. Even at such a low temp, it still takes time for the yeast and protein haze to settle completely out.

By the time I’m on my second keg, I’m 7-10 weeks into the cold conditioning and I’m pulling crystal clear pints on the 2nd or 3rd draw. There is no question that the flavor profile of a beer that is one-two weeks on the chill and still pouring with just a slight haze, will be different than a beer that has been properly “lagered” if you will and is completely clear. Of course, the description of “tastes better” is subjective. Does a Belgian wheat beer tasted “better” at the 3rd week, or at the 13th week?

The length of time the beer is at a mature carbonation level also comes into play. While a quick burst beer at 10 days may be properly carbonated in the keg, my experience is that once drawn, the head will dissipate more quickly and the beer effervesce much less, than a beer that has been held at proper carbonation levels for several weeks.

So in my opinion, longer cold conditioned beers are cleaner of yeast and protein particulates and if under proper CO2 pressure, will have a more mature carbonation profile that lends a fuller, thicker head, proper lacing and constant effervescence.
^^^^^^ This.

I live alone and pretty much drink most of my beer by myself. And now with having 3 kegs on tap, it might be 2-3 months before I kick a keg, especially if it's not necesarily a "quaffable" beer that I might drink a lot of.

I just last week kicked my cream ale I brewed the first week of January, that I hadn't touched in weeks because I've been on an IPA binge and buying a lot of it instead of anything on tap, and it'd been probably a month since I had last drank it.

I couldn't believe how crystal clear it looked, how clean it tasted and good the lacing and carb balance was. It was the perfect gallon or so of kegged beer. I figured it was the presurized cold that did it. I've never experienced that level of polish on a beer, even with extended warm bottle conditioning.
 

weirdboy

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I sometimes burst carb like everyone else, but I have to agree that if I just let my beer sit there for a few weeks it will typically have a smoother, more consistent carbonation profile and after the first couple of pulls will come out a lot clearer and cleaner than when I am impatient.
 

brycelarson

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Perhaps I'm not making myself clear...

Lets say I brew 10 gallons. I leave the beer in primary for 3 weeks and the rack to 2x 5 gallon corny kegs.

Keg #1: I put under pressure and leave sitting 3 weeks for the "set it and forget it" route.

Keg #2: I just leave sitting for about 18 days before pressurizing and burst carbing for the last 3 days. (And for arguments sake we'll say I'm the best burst carber there ever was and I get my desired level of carbonation right on the money)

Why would the beer in keg #1 be any better than what's in keg #2?
If both kegs are at the same temp - then no, I don't think you'll notice a difference. If Keg #1 is at 38 degrees slow carbing and #2 is at fermentation temp for that period - then keg #1 will be clearer and possibly better tasting. It's about cold conditioning in that case.
 

63belair

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Holy crap, did this thread really get responded to by Yooper, BeirMuncher, and Revvy all in a row?

Tons of good info in this thread. I'm a set it and forget it type of person, (I also only have a single body regulator, coincidence?) but if I had to rush a beer I would go with the 30 psi for a day and a half, purge, and then serving temp. The 'roll the keg at a high PSI' method seems too error prone to me to be worth it. If you overcarb your keg, you'll spend just as long, if not longer, getting it back down to the right carb level as you would have by simply leaving it at 30 psi for a day and a half.
 

alestateyall

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BierMuncher said:
Cold conditioning begins a whole new phase of maturing a beer. While sitting in a fermenter at room temperature for three weeks will provide the yeast a viable environment with which to fully ferment and clean up after themselves, it is that 37 degree chill phase that will cause that yeast to drop out of suspension. Even at such a low temp, it still takes time for the yeast and protein haze to settle completely out.

By the time I’m on my second keg, I’m 7-10 weeks into the cold conditioning and I’m pulling crystal clear pints on the 2nd or 3rd draw. There is no question that the flavor profile of a beer that is one-two weeks on the chill and still pouring with just a slight haze, will be different than a beer that has been properly “lagered” if you will and is completely clear. Of course, the description of “tastes better” is subjective. Does a Belgian wheat beer tasted “better” at the 3rd week, or at the 13th week?

The length of time the beer is at a mature carbonation level also comes into play. While a quick burst beer at 10 days may be properly carbonated in the keg, my experience is that once drawn, the head will dissipate more quickly and the beer effervesce much less, than a beer that has been held at proper carbonation levels for several weeks.

So in my opinion, longer cold conditioned beers are cleaner of yeast and protein particulates and if under proper CO2 pressure, will have a more mature carbonation profile that lends a fuller, thicker head, proper lacing and constant effervescence.
+1 I agree 100%
 

stevedasleeve

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Who's we?! I force carb rolling the keg at Mac pressure for 5 mins, set it at 30 or so for 24 hours then at 10 after a day. It'll be carbonated in a couple of days. I should mention that for *every* one if my beers however it tastes best a couple of weeks + later though often 1/2 or more is gone by then!

Brewing great beer is a constantly moving target, IMHO too many variables making for 3.76 billion approaches, all of which work or not - so read, experiment and modify your process and how it fits into your life as you see fit. I can't tell you how many supposedly idiotic approaches work like a charm for me...!
 

day_trippr

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[...]I should mention that for *every* one if my beers however it tastes best a couple of weeks + later[...]
And there is the answer to why many of us prefer 2 to 3 weeks of slow and steady carbing in the keg before tapping it: to enjoy the whole keg of beer at its best.

There may be a bazillion ways to do things, but there's always a "best practice"...

Cheers! ;)
 

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