Author Topic: Why the wait?  (Read 1719 times)

Offline RaymondMillbrae

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Why the wait?
« on: October 22, 2019, 06:57:25 PM »
Got a question that I have been thinking about.

I notice that when making porters and stouts, people place the wort in the primary, add the yeast, then wait.

Once the yeast has completed it's job, and the alcohol and the CO2 have been produced (no more krausen production), they let it sit for a while. (Or place it in a secondary, add a few tasties, and let it sit for a while).

So my question is this...Why do some folks let it sit two weeks, three weeks, or four weeks more?

What is the factor in letting it sit two weeks, and not three weeks? Or three weeks and not four weeks more?

After this waiting period it gets placed in the fridge, flat, for two days. THEN I will carbonate it with CO2, and finally put it on beer-gas after that.

So my question...again.

What determines how long you let the stout or porter sit after the yeast have done their job?

Thanks.


Offline BOB357

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Re: Why the wait?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2019, 07:06:42 PM »
Some beers improve with bulk aging, especially higher gravity dark beers. Some brewers are patient enough to wait for this to happen. Most of my beers go from grain to glass in about 2 weeks, but I do wait for certain beers to mature prior to packaging.
Bob

Offline Kevin58

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Re: Why the wait?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2019, 09:28:26 PM »
If you look at the history of Porter you will discover that London brewers would place the beer in vats or barrels to age for up to a year before serving. Just this past spring Goose Island in Chicago completed a year long historic Porter called Obadiah Poundage 19th Century London Porter using a recipe from 1840. The first part of the batch was brewed and vatted one year ago. The next phase was the same recipe made this spring and then blended with the aged beer... just as the publicans would have done in the 1800's. I wasn't able to travel to Chicago to try it (it was only served in their taproom) but those lucky enough to be there said it was like heaven. I let most of my Porters and Stouts age up to 3 months before I serve them. I do sample along the way but they are so much richer and mellow the longer they condition.
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Offline RaymondMillbrae

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Re: Why the wait?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2019, 10:54:12 PM »
Thanks for the replies, folks.

But to dig a bit further, what is actually happening when you let it sit and age longer? (Besides general terms like "beers improve," or "they get smoother," etc...).

Offline Oginme

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Re: Why the wait?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2019, 07:36:24 AM »
Let me start off by stating that the practice of elongated fermentation beyond yeast activity is predominantly a personal preference. 

Given that stance, my personal observations are as such:

1.  Once I know the time/temperature/activity of a particular strain of yeast, I can plan on a fermentation profile which ensures that I have reached final gravity without the need to check the gravity on a frequent basis.  Given this, a check on the gravity before bottling/kegging will reveal any issues which may have occurred during the fermentation.

2.  My own observation is that for most strains of yeast, the extended time in the fermenter results in a lower concentration of yeast cells in suspension.  This has a couple of effects in minimizing the yeast layer on the bottom of bottle conditioned beers and in kegs.  Further, this allows me to judge the beer flavor at bottling mostly free of yeasty flavors which gives me a better idea of how it will mature when sitting in storage.

3.  The more complex the malt profile of the beer, the more those flavors blend together smoothly as the beer sits and ages.  While this can also be done in the bottle or keg, the bulk conditioning of flavors ensures that once bottle conditioned or carbonated in kegs I can enjoy and evaluate the results of my recipe sooner and with more confidence.  You can experience this 'blending' or 'smoothing' of flavors in many different cuisines.  A good example is chili and Indian foods in which the spicy heat of the dish becomes much more integrated into the other flavors of the ingredients with storage over a short period of time. 

I have spent time tracking the flavors of many recipes brewed and packaged soon after final gravity has been reached versus allowing the beer to bulk condition before packaging.  My own standard practice is to allow the ales to sit in primary for 2 weeks before packaging, though there are some strains that I allow to age longer.  Lager strains I give three to four weeks to allow for additional clarity and maturation. 

As with a lot of practices in brewing, YMMV.  Refer to my initial statement.


 
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Offline Kevin58

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Re: Why the wait?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2019, 09:39:04 AM »
As for the English beers in the 19th century and earlier we can guess that there was some Brettanomyces action going on... whether the brewers were aware of it or not.
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Offline Yeti

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Re: Why the wait?
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2019, 05:44:24 PM »
Time allows the wort to fully integrate.

I don?t know the answer to your question but I will give it some critical thought:

Mashing allows the alph-amylase and beta-amylase to break the carbohydrates down to different molecular forms of sugar. Fermentation further breaks the sugar down to etoh, co2 and other components. When your fermentation finishes the entire product is in a certain level of turmoil. Resting via time and temperature allows an equilibrium to be achieved in the beer. As stated above, over time some components, yeast for example, will settle out. Also over time some components will bond changing their impact on your senses.

In wine making bulk aging is a critical component even with wines typically served young. Aging allows tannins to bond together which reduces their impact to your senses. Aging also allows the wine to find equilibrium resulting in a more consistent product.

Don?t really know if I am on track or not. Hope this helps...

Offline wellertheseller

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Re: Why the wait?
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2019, 07:57:56 PM »
so, i was reading this post and have a question as I am about to brew a chocolate stout. how do you age the beer if you keg? when I used to bottle, I would put the bottles in a box at room temp and wait for months sometimes. if I keg a batch, and then purge with CO2, what then? Do you pressurize the keg at 30 psi's or so and then let it age at room temp? or do you set it in a keezer under 12-13 psi pressure for months possibly. thanks for the advice.

Offline Kevin58

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Re: Why the wait?
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2019, 07:08:45 AM »
I do the latter. I have a keg in the keezer now that has been conditioning since July. I will finally tap it in another month for Christmas celebrations.
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Offline RaymondMillbrae

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Re: Why the wait?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2019, 06:37:49 PM »
so, i was reading this post and have a question as I am about to brew a chocolate stout. how do you age the beer if you keg? when I used to bottle, I would put the bottles in a box at room temp and wait for months sometimes. if I keg a batch, and then purge with CO2, what then? Do you pressurize the keg at 30 psi's or so and then let it age at room temp? or do you set it in a keezer under 12-13 psi pressure for months possibly. thanks for the advice.

WellerTheSeller, here is what I did for my last Chocolate Hazelnut Porter.

I brewed the beer and placed in primary.

Two weeks later (after all the sugars have been eaten by the yeast, and the yeast has had a chance to settle), I transfer to secondary. I do not disturb the carboy, as I do not want to have anything re-floating around.

At secondary, I add my cacao nibs. Now I let it sit for 2 more weeks. (1 month total).

After the month is over, I add my hazelnut extract straight into the keg bottom, and transfer the secondary on top of it. This gets placed in the fridge for 2 days, which cools it off and makes any yeast still in there settle.

After the two days are over, I add the CO2, get it to whatever volume you want it at. (Some people force carbonate it at higher pressures. And other carbonate it at lower pressures. So the initial carbonation process can be done overnight, or in 2 or 3 days).

Once the initial carbonation is done, I will connect the bier-gas to whatever volumes you like. (Me, personally, I have the beer-gas set at 38 psi?s).

I treat my porters and stouts exactly the same with bier-gas and faucets with diffusers.

So far it?s been super successful, and neighbors are always dropping by for a bier or two.

I just brewed a stout today. It is in primary now.

I am experimenting with a ?chocolate blueberry stout?.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2019, 06:44:38 PM by RaymondMillbrae »

 

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