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Quickest timeline for fermentation

I was talking to a guy yesterday who was saying he is drinking most of his beers within 7-8 days of pitching. This seemed pretty dubious to me, but I wanted to see if others have tried such a quick schedule.

Here is what he said:
Primary for 5 days.
Cold crash and rack.
In the keg and condition by day 6 or 7
SG:50 yeast SA-04

I know 04 is a quick yeast, but come on. I tried telling him even if the fermentation was %100 complete it would be difficult to know for sure. Then dropping the yeast out so soon would almost certainly leave some compounds behind.

Any thoughts here?

I would think it depends on the recipe, but If you’re just drinking it to get effed-up, that timeline could get the job done. If you’re looking for quality beer that can be savored and enjoyed for its subtlety, then call me doubtful.

You can turn out fantastic beer nearly that quick, but in my experience you need the right equipment. I posted about this a while back (link below), about how I get grain to glass in 10 days. I’m still doing it this way, and haven’t had a bad batch yet. So at least for my purposes it’s a good way to brew.

http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=117253#p1025536

[quote=“CliffordBrewing”]You can turn out fantastic beer nearly that quick, but in my experience you need the right equipment. I posted about this a while back (link below), about how I get grain to glass in 10 days. I’m still doing it this way, and haven’t had a bad batch yet. So at least for my purposes it’s a good way to brew.

http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=117253#p1025536
[/quote]

It’s plausible, but it depends on the fermentation and the beer.

Primary ‘till it’s done. Then the rest can work. This will work best with a lower gravity beer that was fermented really well (i.e. at optimal temps), where fermentation wraps up quicker and you don’t need aging. An Ordinary, Best, or Special Bitter can definitely be ready in under 2 weeks. Probably a mild, too, depending on the malt bill (roasted malts often play nicer with others after a couple weeks’ aging, IME). Also, hoppy beers, if you manage your fermentation well, are really good when really fresh.

As for the crashing, Fullers and other English Breweries drop the temp late in fermentation precisely to keep the esters around. Left to their own devices, the yeast will clean up a lot of the esters that give an “English” character to the beer, so dropping them out can be a way to manipulate flavor. I’d never follow a strict timeline on fermentation, but when you’re looking for English yeast character, that crash actually helps; it’s a default procedure on my bitters now, and those are my favorite beers.

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