In Pirates of the Caribbean, they say that the code is more guidelines than actual rules (if you don't know what that means, you haven't seen Pirates and you should stop reading this post and just give up life...). A lot of you come on this forum and want to know the RIGHT WAY to brew beer. Well, guess what. There is no right way, no absolute way to brew perfect beer. Mr. Beer recommends certain timing for fermenting and bottling. If you review their website, you'll see different timing in the past, which they then extended more recently. Why? Because while they'd like you to be able to ferment in a week and drink a week later, they likely balanced that old recommendation against how the beer tasted and how many new brewers dropped out, i.e. stopped buying refills. Like a shaving blade manufacturer, Mr. Beer makes more money selling refills (blades) then kits (razors). So more recently they extended the amount of recommended time. Prior to this change, members of the forum started recommending longer times than Mr. Beer, which developed into the "3 - 4" recommendation. Why? Because 3 weeks fermenting works for everything, and 4 weeks in bottles works for nearly everything. Most brewers starting out don't buy a hydrometer to read OG (original gravity) and FG (final gravity), and to determine when their beer is done - or if they do buy one they don't buy it initially. Waiting 3 weeks ensures that your beer is almost guaranteed to be done (there are rare, rare exceptions), that's why we recommend 3 weeks. Can it be ready in 20 days? Yes. 18 days? Yes. 15 days? Maybe. Do you want to be safe and be sure it's done? Then wait the full 21 days. Do you want it ready sooner? Then stop being a cheap SOB and buy a hydrometer and tube and test your beer at 2 weeks, then again 48 hours later, and see if the reading is unchanged and at your expected FG. As to the 4 weeks in the bottle, members of the forum experimented. Some tried a bottle at 1 week, then 2 weeks, then 3 weeks, then 4 weeks, then 5 weeks, ... They learned that at 4 weeks most beers were pretty good, but at 2 weeks most beers weren't so hot (they also learned that they were 4 or 5 bottles down, i.e. their "testing" used up most of their beer). Are there exceptions? Yes. Is there an exact, perfect time for all beers to be ready? No. So what should I do? Wait 4 weeks, and keep your bottles at temps of 68 or higher, but not over 80. Then, put 1 bottle in the frig for at least 3 days, and then drink it. If you like it, refrigerate a few more, leaving the ones you won't drink in 3 days to condition even longer. What do I do for 7 weeks? We really don't care . Go buy some craft beer, go bother your spouse, go lose 20 pounds. But posting 7 times a day "hey, I stuck my head inside my LBK, taste my beer with my tongue, and it seems ready" is not going to make your beer ready any sooner. What you should do is READ. Read the stickies on the forum, read the posts on the forum, read the recommended books (some online for free, some at your library for free). Read, read, and read some more. Is there a correct temperature to ferment at? Yeast has a temperature range that it likes best. Notice the term "likes best". So, if Mr. Beer recommends 68 - 76, that's the range they recommend. Will your beer be ruined at 67 degrees or 77 degrees? No, it's just not optimum. Kind of like filling your tires with 27 pounds of air instead of 32 or 35. Note that the temperature recommended is for the wort (beer) inside the keg, NOT for the air outside in the room. So, either buy a temperature strip from Mr. Beer, or pickup one at your local brewing store or aquarium store, or make sure that the air temp allows for a likely 6 degree increase during active fermentation (or 5 or 4, or 7). I brew at 64 degrees. Before I made a temperature controlled fermentation freezer, I fermented in a basement (like many on the forum) that ranged from 64 - 68 most of the year, meaning the wort likely never exceeded 74 degrees (I say likely because unlike some on the forum, I did not awake every hour and go check it). The key to brewing beer is that there is no right answer, people try things and it works for them, and most don't do scientific studies and comparisons. Yes, if you do stupid things (stick your foot in the beer, stir your beer with a spoon that your dog licked, etc.) you will likely ruin your beer. But, for the most part, nearly all of your batches will produce drinkable beer. The guidelines that we give you are to help you have a higher success rate and have higher quality beer. My first batches weren't so good. I fermented too hot. Now the beer I make gets rave reviews, most noticeable by the amount that people consume. I figured out what works for me and that's what I do. But I started with the 3-4 rule, and found the right temperature area of my house, and the rest is history (read the upcoming book "Rickbeer, A Brewing Success Story" available on Amazon for $954.00.). I ferment for 18 days at 64 degrees, except when I ferment for 17 days or 19 days. I bottle for at least 4 weeks, but with my enormous pipeline I usually have no need to try one at 4 weeks. I hope this helps someone, maybe two of you. So brew on, follow our guidelines (or walk the plank), and build your pipeline. Oh, and remember that you can Google most anything (not that, that's really sick) and you'll find lots of answers, some of them right.