Best aging time

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Cully
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Best aging time

Post by Cully » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:21 pm

I have been advised that secondary ferment was supposed to be longer the better. When I started on the wort kits, they said about 7-10 days but the beer was mediocre at best. A friend had a pale ale in for 7 weeks (he went to jail with it in the carboy) and we cried when we finished the keg it was so good. I have a brown ale in now for 2 weeks and I want to do the right thing once and for all. Should I keep it in for longer? If I keep it sealed some tight, will it be better?

jason.loxton
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Re: Best aging time

Post by jason.loxton » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:04 pm

It depends on what kind of beer you're brewing (high gravity and lagers benefit from aging in the months...). The biggest variable, however, is your process. The professionals, with everything dialed in perfectly, and often benefiting from filtering, can get a world class mid-gravity ale out the door in two weeks. Homebrewers often don't have everything dialed in perfectly in terms of process, and so our beers can benefit from a longer period of aging to allow yeast to scavenge and convert fermentation byproducts, allow yeast and proteins to settle out, etc.

Two weeks to drinking will get a green beer if you're new to the craft. A period of a month from pitch to pour is reasonable. If you're kegging, you can do much of that aging in the keg itself. Most people here no longer use a secondary, and do all of their fermentation in a carboy with a blow off tube. I'd recommend, assuming you have the kegs to be able to tie some up, fermenting in the carboy, transferring from the carboy to a keg after primary fermentation is done (check gravity), priming in the keg and allowing it to condition and carbonate there at room temp, and then crashing it and holding it cold for at least a week before drinking. A week of fermentation., two weeks for keg conditioning, and a week cold is going to get you a tasty, consistent product, assuming everything in your process is reasonably dialed in.

You can also ferment in your carboy, hold it there after fermentation is done for an extra week or so, and then transfer it to a keg to cold crash and force carb. (Technically you can keg it right after final gravity is reached, but a bit of extra time in the carboy can only help.)

Cully
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Re: Best aging time

Post by Cully » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:13 pm

I'm not kegging this time. My buddy who was in the slammer did that. I'm following the manufacturers instructions and doing the bucket to the carb for secondary and after a couple of weeks into bottles, primed for the final stage. I have a nice scotch ale in primary now but I want to leave it longer in the carb for secondary. I want to test it out as to how long is good to leave it. I think going forward I'll do all the fermenting in the carboy, as you said, a lot of guys are doing it and it seems the way things are going.

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Re: Best aging time

Post by chalmers » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:04 pm

3 weeks (maybe even 2 if the initial fermentation action was quick) in primary is totally fine, and will help to drop most of the trub out of suspension. And then you can go straight into bottles with enough yeast still in the liquid (but not too much) to carb your bottles. Depending on your bottle dosing technique (bulk or individual dosing of each bottle), I'd suggest using a bottling bucket on the day, where you add your sugar, then gently add your finished beer, avoiding as much of the yeast and hop trub from your primary bucket as possible. Then stir up the new solution and put it into bottles. You can get away with keeping these a bit warmer to speed up the process, and you can be drinking beer in another 1-2 weeks!

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