Conditioning Oatmeal Stout - bottles vs. fermenter

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Tal Orbach, Sep 5, 2018.

?

Should I...?

  1. Increase fermentation temp after a few days to make sure it finishes and bottle on the 17

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  2. Let it rest until I return - conditioning in the fermenter is the same as bottle conditioning?

    3 vote(s)
    42.9%
  3. Rack to a secondary before I go and bottle after I return?

    3 vote(s)
    42.9%
  1. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    Hello.
    I brewed a Dry Oatmeal Stout yesterday. Haven't pitched the yeast yet (I'm doing no-chill, so it's still in the cube).
    I've heard quite a bit about the need to let stouts bottle condition, to avoid harsh flavors, for a month or so, and I think that the fact that the OG turned out higher than I expected (1.075) means it has to age even longer, doesn't it?

    I have a bit of a timing issue:
    The beer needs to be ready by October 20th (in 6 weeks).
    I can't start the fermentation before tonight (at the very earliest; I'd prefer starting in a couple of days, even).
    I won't be around between Sep 18-Oct 2, meaning bottling can only happen until the 17th, or after the 3rd.
    I can't be sure fermentation will be over by the 17th, meaning maybe I can't count on bottling before I go. If I only bottle after I return - the beer will have only two weeks in the bottles, before it needs to be served.

    What would you recommend for the best possible outcome, under these circumstances?

    Thanks,
    T
     
  2. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    In my experience, I have found little to no difference in beer matured in the bottle vs in the fermentor, assuming it has reached a stable FG. I would vote to bottle it on or near the 17th to give it more time to carbonate in the bottle.
     
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  3. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    That's the thing - I don't know if if actually will reach a stable gravity by then (especially considering the high OG), unless I raise the temperature to drive the fermentation.
     
  4. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I'd hoenstly just leave it until you get back. It will for sure be finished and settled out by then. A couple weeks isn't going to do any real damage.
     
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  5. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    With a higher OG pitching a sufficient amount of yeast will be the key to having this done on time. If you are using dry yeast 2 packs migjt be in order, and if using liquid then consult the yeast pitch calculator and aim for the high end of the range for ale. The most important thing to remember is that whichever option you choose you will still wind up with beer.
     
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  6. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    I didn't think it would do any damage, I was only wondering how much good it would do - that is, if it could substitute the maturation in the bottles - since the beer needs to be ready for drinking about two weeks and a half after I return, if I bottle it then, it will not have a whole month to mature in the bottle, so I was wondering if the added time in the fermenter might do the same job.
     
  7. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    I'm using Nottingham, but harvested from a previous batch, so I'll be making a starter. The yeast are pretty healthy, so I think even with a relatively small starter, it should still have plenty of viable yeast.
     
  8. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    Anyway, it's been decided - I'm going to pitch the yeast tomorrow evening, leave it in the fermentation fridge until I leave the country (by then fermentation should be close to complete, if not completely complete).
    Just before leaving, I'll take the fermenter out of the fridge and leave it on the kitchen counter, so I will be able to rack the beer into the bottling bucket when I get back, without moving it - allowing everything that has settled to remain in the bottom. The smaller amounts of suspended materials should mean that less time is needed in the bottle later to get the flavors to settle.
     
  9. The Green Man

    The Green Man Active Member

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    Fwiw, I brewed a great chocolate, satsuma stout with a lot of oatmeal last year. I left it in the fermentor for three weeks and then bottled it. Two weeks after that it was great, but it got even better with time in the bottle. I've never left anything to condition in primary (I don't do secondary) for longer than three weeks, so can't comment. The three weeks seems to have benefitted the stout and the end product was something I am proud of to this day.
    So, I think you're plan to bottle when you are back (3rd Oct) works well. You can pitch your yeast now as I don't think three-four weeks in primary is a big deal. I am no expert, but would caution against delaying pitching because of the increased likelihood of infection. Any brewers out there concur?
    I think your timing is pretty good, you could end up with a corker of a stout.
     
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  10. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    The reason I decided to postpone the pitching isn't really about not letting it stay too long (I'm fairly certain 4 weeks isn't a problem). It's just that, if I'm going to bottle when I get back anyway, there's no rush to pitch. And if there's no rush - I prefer letting the beer that's now cold crashing in my fermentation fridge cold crash a bit longer...
    Regarding infection - you're probably right, buy seeing as I'm doing no-chill, and the wort is in the air-tight cube that it's been in since I finished brewing, this is probably not a huge concern. (I know some people leave wort in their cubes for even longer, before they get to pitching the yeast.)
     
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  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Leave it till when you get back itll be fine...
     
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  12. White Haus Brews

    White Haus Brews Active Member

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    Just make sure it's out of the light or covered but I think you have a good plan. I wouldn't worry about infection - the near boiling wort should have sterilized the cube. I've heard of people waiting weeks to months prior to pitching with no chill.
     
  13. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    No sunlight, don't worry (+it will ferment in the cube, not a transparent carboy).
    Also, just to be extra safe, I senitized the cube with senitizer before transferring the super hot wort in there. I'd be very surprised if anything managed to survive in there :)
     
  14. White Haus Brews

    White Haus Brews Active Member

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    Yeah you're good. Hope it'll be ready on time!
     
  15. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    I'm pretty sure it won't be "ready" (in the sense that two or three weeks after, it will probably be much better), but I think that given the constraints, I think this is the best possible plan + from what I gather (in this forum and talking to other brewers) - while it won't be at it's best, it won't be too far from it.
    [[fingers crossed]]
     
  16. White Haus Brews

    White Haus Brews Active Member

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    6 vs 9 weeks post fermentation probbably won't make a huge difference. I bet it'll be great. Cheers Tal!
     
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