2 weeks from grain to tap?

I am intrigued by the possibility of quickly brewing/kegging beer.

I’ve read other have brewed and kegged and served in 10 days (or even shorter). Has anyone here tried that and can you give me your experience?

I brewed a traditional ESB Sunday, tossed in a 1 liter WLP007 starter that evening, and it seems to have fermented almost completely by this morning. I usually leave normal gravity beers in the primary for 5 weeks then keg.

This time, I was thinking of kegging it Sunday and drinking it next Sunday for a 2-week turnaround.

Does the quality suffer? Anyone had any success stories? Disaster tales?

I’ve gone from grain to glass in two weeks with some wheat beers. As long as it’s a lower OG somewhat simple beer, you shouldn’t have an issue. I wouldn’t do it with a hoppy beer. I know people say hoppy beers are better fresh, but I feel they benefit from a little aging. Nothing crazy, but they seem to get better after a few weeks. The bitterness smooths out and the overall flavors meld better, IMO.

I give all of my beers 2 weeks in primary, crash cool for a day or two, then keg them and a day later im drinking them.

They are usaully done fermenting in less then a week but I like to give them a week to clean up after themselves.

Wheat beers are the only ones I like to drink young. I recently pushed an ESB to be ready in about 3 weeks for a party I was having. It was good, but definitely green. I drank what little was left 3 weeks later and it was much improved.

It does depend on the palate, though. Some folks really like the fresh hop grassiness of a young hoppy beer. I like to let em mellow.

Thanks for the replies.

I will leave the keg outside of the cooler while it carbonates. It should still ferment under pressure, right? Or will the CO2 nerf that?

If not I will give it 2 weeks in the primary at least.

[quote=“georage”]Thanks for the replies.

I will leave the keg outside of the cooler while it carbonates. It should still ferment under pressure, right? Or will the CO2 nerf that?

If not I will give it 2 weeks in the primary at least.[/quote]

Like with bottles, fermentation should be done before putting it into a keg. Though a keg can handle 130psi of pressure, you can put it in early with out much of risk of a bomb.

As Nighthawk points out, it is very important fermentation is finished. Grain to glass in 10 days requires a little cheating. My staple beer is NB’s innkeeper which is a 1.044 gravity english bitter. I’ve done the recipe 10+times so I know the nature of its fermentation. I pitch a lot of Nottingham yeast (very clean for an English style yeast), ferment a few degrees above normal, 65. Fermentation is done by day 3. I give it a week to clean up, cold crashing at day 8, day 9 in the keg and quick-force carb by rolling the keg on the floor with co2 at 30psi, drink on day 10. I’ve even pushed this to drinking on day 9.

I have been wanting to try this beer is it pretty good?

The innkeeper? AWESOME! It’s on the light side but it’s a great beer. Fun to experiment with too. I just dryhopped it with 4 oz cascade…
I’ve fermented at 72 to get some fruity character out of the yeast. Definitely try it. I know others who keep it on hand all the time.

The Innkeeper is my house bitter recipe, though I have tweaked it slightly.

I used WLP002, 7 pounds of MO, 5 oz of Simpsons extra dark, 1 lb of sugar.

The hop schedule is the same, though I usually FWH the Fuggle and sometimes add an extra quarter ounce.

After reading the other posts, I have a question. I always thought that it was best to get the beer out of primary soon after the krausen falls, if not, the beer will develop off flavors. Still, some are saying that they leave it in Primary for ten days, then go directly to kegging after a cold crash; which I assume is chilling the beer to near kegging temperature, then carbonate and serve a few days later. If this is common practice, I wish I would have known this sooner! I usually transfer to secondary until the beer appears clear, then transfer to keg and carbonate. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :cheers:

Actually the opposite is true. After fermentation is complete, you want to leave the beer on the yeast in order to clean up fermentation byproducts. If you remove it too soon, you could end up with off flavors from undesirable compounds such as Diacetyl that the yeast produce during fermentation and then reabsorb after.

Really? I guess I must misread or misunderstood what George Papazian wrote in his book, as well as other books I have read. I will definitely try this on my next batch and see if the results are better or worse. Thank you for the feedback :cheers:

What release of that book do you have? (I’m assuming Complete Joy of Homebrewing)?

I ask because on many of the staple books, including How to Brew, later editions were basically edited to reflect that transferring the beer out of the fermentation vessel carries risks that far outweigh the potential benefits.

In homebrewing 10-20 years ago, yeast strains were much less dialed in, and were susceptible to autolysis (cell death, when the cell walls rupture and leach out proteins and all of sorts of organic material into the beer that can give it meaty, cheesy, (effing nasty) flavors) after a much shorter period of time.

These days, with yeasts manufactured and essentially genetically manipulated to withstand weeks, even months of exposure to alcohol, racking to a ‘secondary’ is really a worthless step IMHO (also in many award winning homebrewers’ HO’s). You can oxidize the beer very easily, pick up an infection, and most significantly for us homebrewers that are fond of tinkering, take it off the yeast too soon (like when we see those magical airlock bubbles stop) and have a host of other problems like diacetyl, acetaldehyde, etc. that could have been avoided if you had just left the beer on the yeast for another week or two.

Try your next 1.060 or below beer just 3 weeks primary, straight to bottling. All other things in your process equal, you will be happy.

Regarding quick turnaround beers, I would second what people have said on English Pale ales (ord. bitter, prem. bitter, maybe ESB), scottish ales, and malt-forward blondes, ambers, low gravity stouts, or even a few lower-gravity belgian styles. I think the key is lowish gravity, malt or yeast-forward beer without a lot of gimmicks, borderline overpitching, and careful manipulation of fermentation temp.

I did a steam-type beer with a huge pitch of bavarian lager yeast in a 1.060 beer, fermented at 60* for a week, raised to 68 for 4 days, then straight to keg. Turned out great.

Charlie’s brother wrote a book? :wink:

I’ve regularly gone from grain to glass in under 14 days. Mostly for special events and always low-gravity simple brews. Just recently I did a hefeweizen and an amber, and the only downside was the the amber wasn’t clarified as I would have liked it, the hefe was near flawless. I racked the amber and chilled at 34 for a day, then racked to a serving keg to get the best clarity possible as it was going to be transported and agitated. If it was just going to sit I would have skipped that step for sure.

Pitch enough yeast and learn when to cold crash, and then how to rapidly force-carb a keg and you can easily be serving in under 14 days for some styles. Hefe is perfect for this as it doesn’t have to be clear and the yeast can carry over a bit. For other styles it has to be a compromise, but you can have drinkable beer, just warn the snobs that might be critical in advance :slight_smile:

Hey guys, all great posts. I really appreciate it. Maybe had I done this when I entered my winning beer into a brewers contest I would’ve placed higher than fourth! I don’t feel bad about the placement though, the top three were all local breweries! Maybe someone could explain to me what a “cold crash” is? I posted my assumptions in an earlier reply but I just would like some clarification. Maybe I should post a question instead of using this thread, LOL. :cheers:

“Cold crashing” is when you rapidly drop the temp of your finished beer in an effort to drop out suspended yeast, and give extra clarity before racking out of the vessel.

For example before I rack the beer out of the primary, I will drop the temp of the chamber or the vessel to as cold as possible, leave it for as long as I choose (days), and then after that time I will rack a very clear beer to the next vessel. You create your own guidelines, I find that a few days works well.

Keep in mind this is only good when you don’t need the majority of suspended yeast. You will still have enough to naturally carbonate. Once you get to the point where this will benefit you, you’ll know :slight_smile: Always want to make sure the yeast have had time at proper temp to clean up their residuals, and that is one reason getting from grain to glass in 2 weeks can be tough for a lot of styles.

I have had success with this with only 2 beers, a dark mild and pale mild.

The wheat beers I’ve tried take at least an extra week for this German Weiss phenols to balance out.

How much is ‘a lot of Nottingham’. I brewed the Innkeeper on the 10th, got it down to 62 and pitched one pack of Nottingham. Fermentation kicked off about mid day on the 11th got a big head of kreusen in there and constant bubbling with a blow off hose. I replaced the hose with an airlock after it started to settle down and now on the 19th I’m still getting a bubble every second or 2. I kept it at 64 on the fermometer the entire time with ice bottles in a cooler. I’m not really concerned just wondering how you speed it up for future. Only change to the recipe is I got the ingredients from my LHBS and their Maris Otter cans were 3.3lbs so I did have a bit more sugar to ferment.