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MiniYoda

Conditioning times

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I promise, I really did try to find the answers.  I searched this forum, I searched the internet, then I looked at RickBeer's links.  If I missed the answers, sorry......I did try.  I can't find a definitive answer set for two questions:

 

1)  How long should beers condition.  How do you folks who make your own recipes determine condition time?  I know the old trick of open a bottle and sample, but if you do 740ml bottles, you can run out fast.  I saw where anything that is a heavier beer, such as a stout, should condition longer than most, and IPAs don't need much condition time at all.  Is there a rule of thumb based on OG, FG, alcohol content, or beer style, that should determine the optimal condition time?  I guess if things are boring at work tomorrow, I can study condition times and beer styles by filtering things on my spreadsheet, but if there is a formula or a page that explains it, I'd like to check it out.

 

2)  How long is too long?  I know why to condition (let the yeast clean up after itself is the simple way one site said), and I know that longer is better, and that IPAs don't need long times.  But what if the recipe said condition 2-4 weeks and I left it for 3 months?  Is that overdoing it, and I risk off flavors?

 

Thanks in advance

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You won't get off flavors by conditioning too long, not possible.  Flavors will blend together and mellow time.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

You won't get off flavors by conditioning too long, not possible.  Flavors will blend together and mellow time.

 

 

 

 

interesting formula.  Science, with an art.  So, if for some reason I had a beer that had an OG of 1.112, then minimum would be 11 weeks, and peak would be 11 months?  Explains the reason I saw more conditioning for heavy flavored beers.

 

 

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The higher the gravity, the longer they take to condition. I don't know where Jim found that.

 

I wait at least 4 weeks on everything, although I did try my Two Hearted clone at 3 weeks and it was good.  Usually my inventory allows me to wait much longer.

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2 hours ago, MiniYoda said:

I promise, I really did try to find the answers.  I searched this forum, I searched the internet, then I looked at RickBeer's links.  If I missed the answers, sorry......I did try.  I can't find a definitive answer set for two questions:

 

1)  How long should beers condition.  How do you folks who make your own recipes determine condition time?  I know the old trick of open a bottle and sample, but if you do 740ml bottles, you can run out fast.  I saw where anything that is a heavier beer, such as a stout, should condition longer than most, and IPAs don't need much condition time at all.  Is there a rule of thumb based on OG, FG, alcohol content, or beer style, that should determine the optimal condition time?  I guess if things are boring at work tomorrow, I can study condition times and beer styles by filtering things on my spreadsheet, but if there is a formula or a page that explains it, I'd like to check it out.

 

2)  How long is too long?  I know why to condition (let the yeast clean up after itself is the simple way one site said), and I know that longer is better, and that IPAs don't need long times.  But what if the recipe said condition 2-4 weeks and I left it for 3 months?  Is that overdoing it, and I risk off flavors?

 

Thanks in advance

 

Heavier/more flavorful beers take longer to condition. Lighter, hoppier beers take less time to condition. (Not talking color. ABV, etc.)

 

My next batch of beers will all condition for around a year. (I am in a go big/go home phase. Aiming for ABVs of 9-11+)

 

My batch after that....my base beers...which are hoppier beers around 6-8 ABV I will condition for 8 weeks.

 

Here is a simple trick I use to help.....Never bottle all your beer in the Big Boys. Do a 4 to 6 pack of 12oz bottles and then the rest in the big. All my next batch will be 8 big bottles and a 4 pack of smaller ones.

 

This lets you at least see what the beer tastes like at X month, then at X month. It sucks to open a big bottle, pour, and realize "damn. I wish I let that one condition 4 more weeks."

 

Even with IPAs.......more conditioning is better than less. If you are worried about losing hop flavor....well then you didn't use enough hops!

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Something that has confused me is this:   when we say condition for 6 weeks, for example......... is that 6 weeks from the date of bottling?  Or do you count 6 weeks after a 3 week carbonation period?  It seems the terms get used together sometimes and separate other times. 

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depends on who is saying it...

 

3/2/2  -  3 weeks ferment, 2 weeks to carb, 2 weeks to condition.

3/4  same thing...  3 weeks ferment, 4 weeks to carb and condition.

 

there's no real rule for conditioning. I drink mine at all stages of development. I think its a shame to leave a beer sit for a year because my taste buds aren't so developed that I can tell a difference between 3 months or a years rest on an average beer.  if I was doing a Russian imperial stout or a high alcohol beer I tend to only go about 4-5 months before I start drinking them.  this done only to mellow out fusels that might be there from the high alcohol content.

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4 hours ago, Mongo69 said:

Something that has confused me is this:   when we say condition for 6 weeks, for example......... is that 6 weeks from the date of bottling?  Or do you count 6 weeks after a 3 week carbonation period?  It seems the terms get used together sometimes and separate other times. 

 

Yes, 6 weeks from the date of bottling.

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I always find that the proper amount of time to condition a beer is how long it takes to drink the entire batch.  My last bottle is always the best, or at least it seems that way.  Maybe, it is just the realization that a good beer is now gone forever and you have to try to recreate it.  But generally I begin drinking at the 3 week mark after bottling unless it is a big beer (8% or more) then I try to wait a couple of months.  I will say that a beer of normal alcohol content is usually pretty much unchanged after about the 6 week mark.

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I think there a bunch of factors to determine how long,,,, a high abv definitely takes longer how complex your recipe is,,my pumpkin rising at four months was ok but after 8 months was fantastic ... I've tried beers if mine after only two weeks and some seemed very drinkable then,,but of course the ones that I waited for are always better... Now that I've been doing this over a year I bottle one small bottle for early tasting but pretty much try to wait at least six weeks now for the rest....

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I've never had a beer that went bad after a long conditioning (months - 1 year+). perhaps it was not a its "prime". There is a subtle difference in taste (or at least I preceive so) between beers aged 2- 3 months and those aged longer, but the beers are still very good.

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On 3/1/2017 at 7:51 PM, RickBeer said:

The higher the gravity, the longer they take to condition. I don't know where Jim found that.

 

I wait at least 4 weeks on everything, although I did try my Two Hearted clone at 3 weeks and it was good.  Usually my inventory allows me to wait much longer.

 

 Rick, I have only gotten a couple of the beginner level brews behind me now. I see you are from Michigan also. One of my favorites when I am out for dinner is Bells Two Hearted and would love to produce something like it.  Do you think any of the Mr. Beer Kits come pretty close to the Two Hearted I enjoy?

 

 Mark

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Nope.  In fact, nearly all the Mr. Beer kits don't come anything close to any commercial beer.

 

Here's a good clone when you're ready for steeped grains, LME, and hops (i.e. no Mr. Beer refill) - Two-Hearted clone.  I just made it last week.  

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10 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

Nope.  In fact, nearly all the Mr. Beer kits don't come anything close to any commercial beer.

 

Here's a good clone when you're ready for steeped grains, LME, and hops (i.e. no Mr. Beer refill) - Two-Hearted clone.  I just made it last week.  

Two-Hearted is a fav of mine.  Its all about pale malt, a little crystal for color and Centennial, Centennial, Centennial for the hops! :)

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3 hours ago, RickBeer said:

Nope.  In fact, nearly all the Mr. Beer kits don't come anything close to any commercial beer.

 

Here's a good clone when you're ready for steeped grains, LME, and hops (i.e. no Mr. Beer refill) - Two-Hearted clone.  I just made it last week.  

 

Thanks!  Bookmarked it, Need to figure out what else I need to move up to a 5 gallon mix, so far it's just been the LBK.

 

Apologies for the thread drift. 

 

 

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2 LBKs, a 5 gallon pot, strainer, a quart measuring cup and a pint measuring cup.  Use small cup to fill big cup, through strainer, pour into each LBK evenly.

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I make a lot of lighter beers to drink over time while my stronger beers age.

 

Bavarian Weissbeer - Conditioned for 3 weeks

Canadian Blonde - 2 weeks

American Ale - 2 weeks

 

And they were great!

 

Voodoo that you Do - Conditioned 4 months (those that are 6 months are even better)

Novacaine - Conditioning 12 months, recommended 6-9 months. It is currently 7 months old and I tried one last week. It was incredible. Looked like black lacquer and the head was even dark brown, Had a buzz by my third sip and I don't consider myself a light weight.

Lock Stock and Barrel Imperial Aged Stout - Aging for 12 months

 

Fermenting a clone of Midnight Sun Arctic Devil - Fermenting for 3 weeks, secondary with dry hop for 5 more days, going to bottle and age for a year. This barleywine will be north of 15% ABV

 

So like others have said, the heavier the beer, the higher the ABV, the hoppier the beer, the longer you should let it age. Put a few away and try to forget about them, then try them 6 months later. THAT is when youll realize the IMPORTANCE of patience.  :)

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I feel like after my full first year of brewing beer my patience has grown a lot!  At first I was as giddy as a fat kid in a bakery shop and couldn't wait.  So I tried almost all my beer I made in the first 6 months right at 4 weeks conditioning, then at 5 weeks, then at 6 weeks.  What I realized was that for most of them I had to wait a little longer.  My first IPA was fantastic at 8 weeks.  Now my IPA tastes great at 5 or 6 weeks.  My stouts and darker beers take a little longer for things to mend and mellow together and I try one at about 10-12 weeks.  For the higher ABV beers I've made, I usually wait to crack one open until at LEAST 16 weeks.  I've grown patient and have a huge pipeline to enjoy and don't feel the need to rush the process.  I think if I didn't have any in the pipeline, I'd still have the patience to wait it out now that I've been brewing for a year.

 

Everyone is going to give you their feedback and advice, but I think you really have to decide what you like and when the beer seems ready for your enjoyment.  Obviously conditioning longer (for some beers) doesn't hurt anything and only makes the beer taste better. Plus, you learn what the beer tastes like at certain stages of conditioning.

 

Cheers.

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