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Is 1 week in Primary for the Cream Ale fine?

This is my 6th batch of beer and I decided to try the Cream Ale. The recipe says ready in 4 weeks, is that pretty accurate? Looking for a nice quick beer and gonna hopefully try an advanced batch of Pliny the Elder by Russian Rivers. So far love everything from NB but would like to branch out every so often and try a Rogue kit or something. Thanks all.

I have learned from our fellow brewers that you should rely on gravity instead of time. If your beer has fermented out then you are on a good course. One week is typically a short duration. Take a reading.

…AND, when your gravity is stable, give it at least an extra 3-4 days for the yeast to cleanup up their byproducts. You’ll be glad you did. Rushed beer usually = not so good beer.

Wait two weeks at least in the primary. Alot of new brewers dont have a hydrometer to test OG and FG. I would suggest getting you one and learning how to use it. Then the question of is my beer ready will be answered with FG FINAL GRAVITY

One variable is yeast. If you used dry yeast, it’s possible that the beer can be ready pretty quickly. US-05 is notorious for fermenting quickly and fully. I don’t mean to disagree with Damian_Winter but there is no real reason to wait a full 2-weeks if your hydrometer tells you that the beer is ready 5 days after pitching or whatever. I agree that if you didn’t have a hydrometer, I might not be in a hurry.

I agree with ken… Im sorry i assumed that you didnt have a hydrometer. If you don’t have one would be a good idea to get one and learn how to use it. I have had beer that were ready to to bottle in a week using same yeast as ken mentioned and also danstar munich yeast.

Finally, someone else here speaks up in favor of efficient fermentation times. I’ll agree that there are some yeast strains that need a little extra time for certain flavor/aroma characteristics to mellow out, but most average strength beers are ready to move out of the primary fermenter within 10 days, tops. Somewhere along the way, there seems to have been an idea adopted (for no particularly good reason, in my opinion) by a lot of home brewers that “more time in the fermenter equals better beer”, with no solid scientific reasoning to back it up, and it’s applied rather dogmatically and inflexibly. I really wish American brewers would follow the lead of their British counterparts and get fresh beer out to bars to be served on hand pumps, the old-fashioned way. I think that would help a lot to show people here that beer doesn’t have to sit around in fermenters or bottles for weeks and months on end to be good.

Finally, someone else here speaks up in favor of efficient fermentation times. I’ll agree that there are some yeast strains that need a little extra time for certain flavor/aroma characteristics to mellow out, but most average strength beers are ready to move out of the primary fermenter within 10 days, tops. Somewhere along the way, there seems to have been an idea adopted (for no particularly good reason, in my opinion) by a lot of home brewers that “more time in the fermenter equals better beer”, with no solid scientific reasoning to back it up, and it’s applied rather dogmatically and inflexibly. I really wish American brewers would follow the lead of their British counterparts and get fresh beer out to bars to be served on hand pumps, the old-fashioned way. I think that would help a lot to show people here that beer doesn’t have to sit around in fermenters or bottles for weeks and months on end to be good.[/quote]
I think that some people are impatient and want to rush things and I think that some people are lazy and want to be able to put a beer into primary and possibly forget about it for awhile. It’s true that beer can sit in a primary for a pretty long time (easily a month) without any real issues but that doesn’t mean it should. Some of this may just come down to life getting in the way of a hobby. But the bottom line on it is that if you use your hydrometer and it tells you that the beer is at (or very close) to FG, you can do what you want with it… send it to secondary, keg it, etc. If you’re bottling it, you’ll want to make damn sure that it’s completely done so maybe give it a little more time. I have heard some people say that they made a pale ale on Sunday and it bubbled and by Tuesday the bubbling had stopped. US-05 can do that. Also, I’ll say that I make a lot of medium-gravity beers (4% to about 5.5%) and beers like that can be ready quite a bit faster than the bigger ones.

In my experience, there is a difference between fermentation and flavor development. Fermentation is done when the gravity hits FG, flavor development can take quite a bit longer. But there is also a linkage: I find I get the best flavor from the beer if I leave it in the primary until it has dropped clear. After that, depending on the beer, it may need more time lagering or simply aging quietly, but that can happen in the keg or bottles.

Perhaps out of laziness, that means my process has evolved into just leaving the beer undisturbed in the primary for 3-4 weeks, then checking to see if it is clear before transferring. I have no doubt that if I actively monitored the beer I could trim that time and still get good results, but that would interfere with my laziness. And as this is a hobby, and I rarely have to deal with a beer shortage around the house, efficiency is not my primary goal.

[quote=“deliusism1”]I really wish American brewers would follow the lead of their British counterparts and get fresh beer out to bars to be served on hand pumps, the old-fashioned way. I think that would help a lot to show people here that beer doesn’t have to sit around in fermenters or bottles for weeks and months on end to be good.[/quote]On the flip side, I’ve had my fair share of simply awful “craft” brews at brewpubs where the brewer either doesn’t let the yeast set the schedule or the investors are pushing for higher output and compromising the product by forcing it out the tap as soon as it’s clear enough to pass muster. Picking one fermentation schedule for a broad range of yeasts and worts is likely to result in some less-than-stellar beers.

I usually do a week in primary and a 2 more in secondary. For a brew (N English Brown Ale) I did a few weeks back I did 2 weeks in the primary bucket and racket straight to the keg. It is one of the best beers I’ve ever tasted. As good or maybe better than the Elevenses Ale. It needed about 2 weeks in the keg to really taste good and now just as it’s reaching peak flavor it’s almost gone.

That, right there… belongs on a t-shirt, Shadetree. I know it might have to be a BIG t-shirt but it’s the truth.

Speaking for those of us who are really sensitive to diacetyl, just waiting until you hit FG isn’t necessarily long enough. Give it at least another half week after that. Worst case, it won’t cause any harm. Best case, it may just prevent a catastrophe.

+1 to ken." Picking one fermentation schedule for a broad range of yeasts and worts is likely to result in some less-than-stellar beers."
I just bottled a beer that I thought was ready because that beer is always ready at ten days but this time with the same yeast it was not, and now I must wait and see if it will get there in the bottle. Those yeast have a mind of there own. Its an art form more than a science, sometimes.

I wouldn’t necessarily argue with you there, but you have to remember that poor sanitation can happen on the professional level, too, believe it or not, and that can account for a lot of crappy beers that you might have thought were just served prematurely.

My personal experience has taught me that there is no rush to get your beer out of the primary. I have done fermentation through the lagering stage all in the primary, I’m talking 6 weeks. No off flavors have been detected, granted 4 weeks of that time was lagering at 32f. I see little reason for rushing the process or a secondary unless it will be months before you get around to packaging.

Most homebrewers who rush the process are new brewers who can’t wait to taste what they made, or are eager to clear-out the fermenter so they can get the next batch started. I think the best advice to either of these situations is buy another fermenter (it’s only $15 for a bucket!) and get the next batch going. That will give you something to do while you wait for the first one to be ready.

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