Thursday, February 28, 2013

Questions on bottling and waiting

A friend sent a few questions via email. All legit, regarding post bottling. I thought I'd share with you the questions and my responses.

I bottle my beer 2 weeks ago. I've been keeping it in dark storage & about 68*F. --> Dark is good, but really only matters because of the hops and light. The brown bottle will cancel much of the ultraviolet light that will effect the hops. The result of the beer being "light struck" is skunky favors because of the hops.   After bottling the temp doesn't matter too much.  Room temps will be fine.  The colder, the longer it will take to carbonate and too cold will put the yest into hibernation. 
Is it time to put them in frig now?  --> I'd put one in the fridge, let it get cold and try it. I find that sometimes the carbonation will take up to three or four weeks, especially in the darker and higher gravity beers. The beers can then stay at cellar temp and will be good for months. Some even longer.  
How long in frig til fully ready...2-3 more weeks?  --> After it's cold, you are good to go.  A longer time in the cold will force any particulate to fall, resulting in a clearer beer. At the same time you may encounter chill haze. But for the stout it won't matter.  
Is it ok to leave in storage & not refrigerate until ready to drink?  --> Yes. The stouts may be at there best at 3-4 months after bottling.  Others are better to drink fresh, like a hoppy IPA and keeping them cold will help preserve them too.  Ultimately cellar temps will be the best. I have no basement in FL, so I keep them in the "fermentation fridge" at about 62 deg. 

While browsing the Internet I find a lot of questions and a lot of different answers. Some seem better than others and there is a tendency for answers to be all over the map on some issues. I find that some knowledge and common sense can go a long way.  And the fun of it is continually learning and sharing information. After all, that is what community is about.

I have some answers but often more questions. The current question revolves around what to do with my Barleywine which is presently fermenting.  Maybe someone can help... If you are still reading.

I twent from 1.088 OG to 1.026 in two days.  3.25 gallons with two packets of dry yeast, rehydrated. Perhaps just good fermentation, but it seemed quick and ultimately I'd like FG to be closer to 1.020. Mashed at 150 for an hour.  Do I swirl the carboy to rouse the yeast?  Should I add sugar or better yet half pound of boiled and cooled DME?  Or do I simply wait and RDWHAHB?

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