Ageing beer

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Brewer #138699, Apr 26, 2018.

  1. Brewer #138699

    Brewer #138699 New Member

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    Hi Guys,

    I've been reading as much as possible about making beer and one thing I can't quite reconcile in my head is how long to leave it after fermenting before drinking. Generally anyone who is bottling beer is saying leave it minimum 2-3 weeks before drinking so that the flavours can clean up, but then I go and read things from people who keg like "after fermentation is complete, burst carbonate for 3-4 days at "X"psi and you're ready to drink".

    Is there something different about how the beer reacts in bottles to kegs? Or is it that it's the CO2 that cleans up the beers so once carbonated your all good?
     
  2. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    On average it takes a couple of weeks at around 70 degrees to fully carbonate in the bottle. After that, a few days in the fridge allows the yeast to settle out and the CO2 to be fully absorbed. When kegging you're not relying on the residual yeast to ferment the priming sugar and produce CO2. Carbonating in a keg only involves getting a given amount of CO2 into solution which is a function of temperature and pressure. A forum search should result in a lot of detail on the subject.

    Remember that a beer isn't necessarily ready to drink just because it's fully carbonated. Many beers are at their best after more time either in the bottle or in the keg.
     
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  3. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    It depends on the beer, I guess. And the brewer. Sometimes, people will drink there beers right away. Other times, they will store them for months, maybe a year, before drinking. I’m a short turn around brewer. All of my ales are turned around as quickly as possible. I could be kegging 10 days after brew day, and drinking it 2 days after that. I have 4 ales going at once, though, so they take weeks in carboys, and several days or longer kegged and chilled before tapping. If you want to store beers for a year before drinking, you’ll need quite a storage area, or you’ll run out of beer. No matter the size of your pipeline, you have to brew at a faster rate than you drink, or you’ll run out of beer!
     
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  4. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    It's pretty safe to say that beers kegged after 2-3 weeks in the fermenter can be carbed and consumed right away. They'll change a little but they're done with any yeast metabolism that will "clean up" the flavor. With bottling, even if the beer is fermented the same amount of time and is fully formed, it'll go through another round of fermentation in the bottle and some acetaldehyde or other esters can be formed and the beer will benefit from aging beyond the carbonation period (as little as a few days). Either beer benefits from a week or two of chilling and settling, depending on style.
    If you're bottling, the 3/3/3 template is a good place to start. Three weeks in fermentation, 3 weeks in the bottle, 3 weeks chilling. That can be shortened to 2/2/2 for a lot of beers and there are instances where beers intended to be drunk young (e.g. hefeweisen) can be fermented, bottle carbed and consumed in 2 weeks or less.
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I've found my beers "peak" at about 40-60 days from brewing. Up until then, they're carbonating, the yeast I carbonated with are completing their work and the off-flavors the yeast can metabolize are being reduced. After then, the long, slow decline begins. That said, I have three year old beers that are getting better but they are big beers. Other brewers will cite different dates but it all depends on a number of factors such as how you package (bottles, naturally conditioned, generally last longer than filtered, kegged beers), sanitation, physical handling of the beer (oxygen uptake, for example), storage temperature.... So yes, this is another "actual mileage may vary" answer. But the best place to start is 10 days after packaging if you're carbonating naturally. I don't keg so I can't provide any guidance there.
     
  6. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Yeah kegging has a different output than bottling, you're adding CO2 directly in and hopefully purging any oxygen so the beer should be functionally inert from a biological processes aspect. Bottling has a CO2 build up with yeast doing the heavy lifting so it can affect flavour longer.

    The biggest thing I find with kegs is making sure your pressure is right, and depending on the beer too. Leaving an IPA for 60 days is going to lose a lot of hop flavour, leaving a stout for 60 days in a keg may make it even better. It might not, but it won't hurt it.

    It's honestly a combination of making sure it's carbonated and how long your patience can hold out.
     
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