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What's the "suggested" conditioning time for

Hi, everyone,

glad to post my first question today.

A few weeks ago we brewed a RyePA with 20% rye and 3.5 chocolate rye in the bill. It was very tasty. But our mash temperature was lower than we wanted (we shot for 153; we got 149). This produced, naturally, a very thin but incredibly alcoholic beer (OG was at 1.062 and FG reached 1.012; the smell was incredibly alcoholic and the great taste from the grains was masked by this).

So, my question: How long should I let this sucker condition? It’s in the basement at about 71 degrees. Will I get my tasty chocolate rye back?

:cheers:

Christophe

[quote=“Pastamassima”]Hi, everyone,

glad to post my first question today.

A few weeks ago we brewed a RyePA with 20% rye and 3.5 chocolate rye in the bill. It was very tasty. But our mash temperature was lower than we wanted (we shot for 153; we got 149). This produced, naturally, a very thin but incredibly alcoholic beer (OG was at 1.062 and FG reached 1.012; the smell was incredibly alcoholic and the great taste from the grains was masked by this).

So, my question: How long should I let this sucker condition? It’s in the basement at about 71 degrees. Will I get my tasty chocolate rye back?

:cheers:

Christophe[/quote]

Based on that OG/FG it should be about 6.5 abv. I wouldn’t expect that beer to have an up front alcohol taste.

Can you explain how it was fermented? How long, fermentation temperatures, yeast type and pitch rate, etc?

If it was fermented very warm you could be tasting fusel alcohols. Do you get a headache next day after having a few?

It was fermented for 14 days in a glass carboy with a 2L starter of American II yeast. First 48 hours temps reached about 74 degrees, but the rest of the time it was at 71 degrees. When I tasted the initial sample, I remember feeling a little buzz after the fact (unlike any 6.5% I’ve had).

I brewed a batch of ales with lots if biscuit in the past (trying to perfect a breakfast biscuit IPA) that also exuded a highly alcoholic taste and aroma. But in 6 months it evened out and now it is truly smooth and well-balanced. And, similarly, it was fermented at a higher than suggested temp.

Cheers,
Christophe

I find it works best to let the beer sit in the primary for 2 weeks and the secondary for 1-2 weeks and then in the bottle or keg for 3 weeks. It will taste like all the ingredients are married at that time. Some people will tell you not to bother with a secondary but it works very well for me as I never rush a beer.

The coffee/chocolate/milk porter that I brewed a while ago had a really boozy aspect to it when it was young, almost to the point where it tasted like I had spiked it with some bourbon or something. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it wasn’t particularly nice.

I did notice that it slowly faded until around the 4-5 month mark, where it was completely gone. It’s possible that your beer is just young, and it will fade with some maturing.

This is much too warm. The alcohol note that your tasting is the fusels from too warm of fermentation.
Research ways to keep fermentation temps down. Really simple ways like swamp cooler to high tech fermentation chambers.

I agree you fermented it on the warm end. Try to get down into the 60s next time.

For this batch, there’s no need to condition at all. If it’s done fermenting, you should bottle or keg it after you’re sure the final gravity is steady for a few days. Drink it fresh, or let it age, or do both. Whenever it tastes good, drink it.

+1

Thank you, everyone, for your considerations and time on this topic. I’ve done more reading than brewing (dozens of books, magazines, etc. and about 5 all-grain brews), and what I’ve noticed is the lack of ubiquity among home brewers, i.e. no one has an absolute. And this is refreshing to hear, because that’s what makes it so exciting for me.

I knew I was on the high end, and agree that the next batch should go lower. I actually had the fan on the carboy and the temps dropped a few degrees. I think the next round I’ll let the wort go in at a lower temp (68, if possible; this batch, we had gone in at 71) and then try to keep it there until the end, where I can raise it up with the help of ambient temps (my basement is a steady 70ish, even in the winter).

I’ll report back when the next sucker’s in the making.

Again, glad to be among good and knowledgeable people.

Christophe

+1 on fermenting too warm; Best thing one can do with limited chilling power is resist the temptation to pitch the yeast right after the brew. Let it sit overnight and cool. I am reading more and more guys chilling to reasonable degree (<100F) and putting the beer in a fridge (or swamp cooler) to come down to mid 60’s. That’s what I do. Be sure to actually measure wort prior to pitching too.

I am in the “rush the beer” camp. Personally, I never found any benefit to “conditioning” or waiting a month or 2 for an average ale. I usually do a week ferment and a week cold crash and would be drinking your 1.062 beer at 15 days (kegged). Once you get 1.080ish and are looking to get some esterification, I think you need 3-6 months or longer for that.

I, like many on this forum, think 68 is still a bit warm even though it may be in the stated range of many ale yeasts.

I always chill to low 60s for pitching and hold the temp there for at least 3-4 days before allowing it to rise to 68-70ish for a D rest.

Example: I brewed a smithwyck’s ale clone 2 days ago, pitched 1084(stated range 62-72) at 61 degrees and have kept the temp 61-63 in my swamp cooler. I’ve used this yeast a lot with irish ales and stouts and it works great at this low temp.

You’ll be much happier with the way your ales turn out if you ferment them in the lower 60s. You can do this easily with a swamp cooler setup.

I’ve been convinced for years that temps at or even below the manufacturer’s stated temperature range produce better beer - for my taste buds.

The last two beers I brewed have supported that conviction. I unplugged my ferm fridge to clean and air it. Then I brewed a Moctoberfest with US-05. Did a Hochurz mash (142F for an hour, 158F for 30 minutes - others have different definitions of Hockhurz). Boiled for about an hour, chilled to 45F, ozygenated, pitched my rehydrated US-05, and placed the beer in my ferm fridge with the thermostat set to 58.

I have developed great faith in yeast. They do what they’re intended to do. So, I don’t open the fridge to check for fermentation. They always ferment. About five days later I turned the thermostat up to 62F and dreamed of a smooth, tasty beer. About five days later I turned the thermostat up to 65F. About five days later I opened the fridge to take a gravity reading. The bucket felt warm. The Fermometer was not showing any reading. How could that be? I had left the fridge unplugged in a room that was often 80F during the day!

I plugged in the fridge and set the thermostat to 40F. About five days later I kegged my nice clear beer and put it in my keezer at 37F. Once it was cooled and carbed, It tasted … harsh, slightly sour, not so great.

I immediately brewed another batch identical to the previous one and fermented it with the same profile, but with the fridge plugged in! It’s excellent. Not as smooth as a lager version of the same beer, but quicker.

After a couple of months, the hot-fermented beer is still harsh and the cool-fermented beer is excellent.

I do have to admit that the single best thing that I have done to improve the taste of my beer was to build a fermentation chamber to lower my fermenting temp… try it for yourself and I will be surprised if you do not agree.

Same here. Fermentation temperature is the single most important factor for turning good beer into great beer.

Research how to make a swamp cooler - it can be as simple as placing your fermenter in a shallow tray filled with water, and draping it with a t-shirt that will wick up the water. Keep that fan you have on it, and it can drop the beer temperature more than 5F.

Your beer probably will improve, but it could take some months, and it will never be as good as it could have been had the temperature been lower.

+1 to fermentation temp control.
I found a few years ago that the small investment I made in a dedicated fridge for fermentaion was the single best “accessory” I could have purchased.
I fully understand that not everyone has the means to buy a fridge however being able to brew lagers at 9 C or raise temp towards the end of a Belgian Ale to develop desirable esters and phenols is an awesome capability. Along with my fridge I purchased a simple thermostatically controlled switch which controls my fridge motor on/off switch, which in turn maintains the internal temp acording to the temp set on the thrmo controller.
Fridge $300 NZ ($250 US)
Therm controller $ 45 NZ ( $35 US)
= much better beers :smiley:

Paul.

Ain’t nobody got time for that malarky… (except you, maybe…)
Me, I give my beer 10-14 days in the primary, which may or may not include a couple day cold crash period, then keg it up and let it carbonate for a couple weeks at 36F before I start drinking it. Unless it’s a lager, then it gets the same primary period, and 4-6 weeks of lagering. But the way you do it really produces a nice clear beer. I’m just not that patient.

Ain’t nobody got time for that malarky… (except you, maybe…)
Me, I give my beer 10-14 days in the primary, which may or may not include a couple day cold crash period, then keg it up and let it carbonate for a couple weeks at 36F before I start drinking it. Unless it’s a lager, then it gets the same primary period, and 4-6 weeks of lagering. But the way you do it really produces a nice clear beer. I’m just not that patient.[/quote]
I try to do more like 3 weeks primary then keg. Still get very clear beer after a week or so in the keg. The last few pints are definitely the best in every batch so I’d like to get to the point where I have enough in the pipeline to allow more conditioning time. Thinking of doing a few 10 gallon batches just so I can keg 5 and let 5 condition for a while.

Update on the recent Rye (Ah, I’ll call it Recent Rye!)

This batch has been conditioning for 5 weeks and the alcohols have subdued to a great length. I wish, tho, the spice of the rye was more prevalent. And this one seems to be quite one-dimensional: there’s no depth to the bitterness (even tho I first worted). Was 1/2 pound of hops too much for this? I did use some big alpha buds, and my GU/IBU ratio was 2.7! Sick, huh?

I’ll try this again with a lower ferm temp too. I know that’ll help.

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