Author Topic: The latest thing I am curious about  (Read 2776 times)

Online yso191

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 633
  • Yakima, WA
    • View Profile
The latest thing I am curious about
« on: December 07, 2012, 09:50:25 AM »
One of the surprises for me getting into home brewing is the amount of time from the brewday to the drinkday.  I have read that one of the common noob mistakes is to get impatient and rush the process.  I have a beer (a Belgian Imperial IPA) sitting on the yeast, a week after hitting FG--two weeks after fermentation began, waiting for it to drop clear.

So we have weeks in the fermentation vessel, and weeks to months in lagering / cold conditioning to make a good beer.

How in the world to pro brewers get the quick turn-around that they do.  Is it possible for the homebrewer, and if so, what would it take?  Is the only down side money for the equipment, or does a quick turn-around also effect quality?

Steve
Steve

Offline davidgzach

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1498
    • View Profile
Re: The latest thing I am curious about
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2012, 09:56:52 AM »
There are a lot of ales you can make that can be consumed in under 3 weeks.  There is another thread right now about drinking Pale Ales Fresh or Green.  One week ferment, crash cool, bottle and you are drinking it in 3 weeks.  Main thing is using a solid pitch of a fast fermenting and clean yeast such as 1056/001/05.

Dave
Dave Zach

Online garc_mall

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 795
  • [1892.9, 294.9deg] AR Lynnwood, WA
    • View Profile
Re: The latest thing I am curious about
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2012, 10:00:08 AM »
Here is my 2 cents.

As long as it is reasonably clear (doesn't need to be crystal clear) get it into bottles. It will take a bit longer to carb than standard strength beers, but 2-3 weeks should be fine. After that, a day or two in the fridge should get it to drop clear.

I don't think ales need to be in the fermenter for longer than 2-3 weeks (depending on flavor, let the beer talk to you). and then 2-3 weeks in the bottle, and you are ready to drink. If you keg, its that much quicker.

AFAIK, pro-brewers get quicker turn-around times (but not by too much) because they have more advanced control, and can push the yeast to finish a bit quicker, cold crash quicker, and dump the yeast before kegging. Talking to a few pro breweries, and they are finishing beers only a couple days faster than I finish a similar beer.

Keep in mind, this is all for ales. I haven't made a lager, and wouldn't know what I am talking about.
In a Keg: Flanders Red Ale, Rye Altbier, Cascade/Topaz Pale
Fermenting: Flanders Red, Saison

Offline mtnrockhopper

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2881
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: The latest thing I am curious about
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2012, 10:00:24 AM »
Pro-brewers can be very sure of their process because they brew the same recipes day after day after day.  Excellent yeast health and fermentation control can let yeast quickly ferment a beer and not produce as many off flavors that need to be cleaned up. A pro might also avoid yeasts that will need time to clear or cold crash to force clearing.  Many of these things can be done by homebrewers, but they all take time and/or equipment.
Jimmy K

Delmarva United Homebrewers - President by inverse coup when the old president ousted himself.
AHA Member since 2006
BJCP: B0958

Online dbeechum

  • Administrator
  • Brewmaster General
  • *****
  • Posts: 2310
  • Pasadena, CA
    • View Profile
    • Experimental Brewing
Re: The latest thing I am curious about
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2012, 10:02:15 AM »
I wrote a Zymurgy article - last year? two years ago? - on express brewing or how to turn a beer around in 10 days or less.

The basics for most homebrewers come down to:
  • Gravity - lower is better
  • Fermentation control - lower is better
  • Transfer - being johnny on the spot - most brewers are lazy
  • Cold Crashing / Clarifiying - absolutely critical if you want to turn thigns around
  • Yeast Choice - some yeasts just need more time
  • Ingredient Choice - the odder you go, the more time you'll probably need

And yeah, Belgians typically take more time, but I can turn around a Saison Ordinaire in about 10 days if I need to. Along with IPAs, milds, etc.
Drew Beechum - Maltosefalcons.com
- Vote in the AHA GC Election! - http://bit.ly/1aV9GVd  -
-----
Burbling:
Gnome is in the Details
*Experimental Brewing - The Book*
Tap:
Peanut Butter Jelly Time
Tupelo Mead
Farmhouse Brett Saison

Online yso191

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 633
  • Yakima, WA
    • View Profile
Re: The latest thing I am curious about
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2012, 10:17:48 AM »
Thanks.  What you all say makes sense.  It was beinning to feel like I need to start in January to have beer ready for July.

Steve
Steve

Offline Slowbrew

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1657
  • The Slowly Losing IT Brewery in Urbandale, IA
    • View Profile
Re: The latest thing I am curious about
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2012, 10:21:44 AM »
Thanks.  What you all say makes sense.  It was beinning to feel like I need to start in January to have beer ready for July.

Steve

There are beers that can take that long.  There are a great many that don't.  Makes some ales and play with a "big" recipe or 2.  You can get the best of both worlds.8^)

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3163
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: The latest thing I am curious about
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2012, 10:33:22 AM »
How in the world to pro brewers get the quick turn-around that they do.  Is it possible for the homebrewer, and if so, what would it take?

For most home brewers, the only difference is not having a cylindroconical fermenter. That doesn't accelerate fermentation though - it only facilitates crashing. Another thing most home brewers do is under-pitch (though on the AHA forum we know better, of course ;)). That WILL make a big difference in fermentation times.

A typical timeline for an average-gravity ale in a brewpub would look something like 3-5 days to reach FG, three days of warm conditioning, three days to cold crash, rack to bright with fining agent(s), let settle three days (while carbonating), then serve. That's a 12-14 day turnaround, and still pretty conservative - you could shave off 2-3 days most of the time.

All those steps can also be done at home as long as you're kegging and have some means of temperature control. If you're bottling and need to naturally carbonate, that adds at least another 7-10 days, and there really isn't anything you can do about that.
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
http://seanterrill.com/category/brewing/

Offline blatz

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2453
  • Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
    • View Profile
Re: The latest thing I am curious about
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2012, 11:56:22 AM »
another thing to consider that one of my pro friends claims is one of the big 'time savers' is that they use very fine filters - this allows them to move beer quicker to kegs rather than having to wait for them to settle naturally.
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Offline davidgzach

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1498
    • View Profile
Re: The latest thing I am curious about
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2012, 01:16:06 PM »
another thing to consider that one of my pro friends claims is one of the big 'time savers' is that they use very fine filters - this allows them to move beer quicker to kegs rather than having to wait for them to settle naturally.

+1.  Big time saver here....
Dave Zach

Offline euge

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7223
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: The latest thing I am curious about
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2012, 01:49:42 PM »
+1

I have long believed that after a certain point, and this is quite early on in the process that any "unconditioned" or odd flavors reside in the suspended particles and yeast rather than the beer itself. And when I say early I mean really early. That being said, filtering on the homebrew level is an uncommon process though there are people who use this approach. There are those that use plate filters (primarily intended for wine) and even some brewers who run their beer through whole-house filters. Reports are quite positive and encouraging concerning the effectiveness of the 5 micron house filters.

Conversely we are left with gelatin fining and cold crashing which can take time and doesn't have the potential for quick turn-around that filtering does.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Online gmac

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2024
  • London, Ontario
    • View Profile
Re: The latest thing I am curious about
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2012, 02:00:22 PM »
For me, moving to kegs was the real time saver.  Most of my beers are done fermenting in a week at average temps and I usually leave another week min to get them cleaned up (but not always).  Then right into the keg, carb and chill for 2 days, fine with gelatin if I think it needs it and I can be drinking a decent beer in 14-16 days.  Bottle conditioning adds signficantly as an overall percentage of time spent in the process.

Type of beer also matters.  I am truly brewing lagers now with the intent that they won't get drank until June.  That's the reality of lagers.  Same for Kolsch that takes forever to clear.  So if you want to be top of the season, you've gotta think ahead for the season.  But, for pale/english ales that I drink most of the time it doesn't take that much forethought.

I think the real problem for most of us is that we don't brew enough.  Pro brewers likely brew on a pretty set schedule to accomodate production and shipping goals.  For me, if I only brewed a few times a month, I'd be finding myself out of beer and the wait for the next batch can seem longer than it should.  I brew at least weekly, often more than that so that I can try get beer ahead.  Waiting for beer to clear is not an issue when you've got more to drink.  I've also gone to a 5/10 gal rotation meaning that all my yeast gets put into a starter appropriate for a 5 gal batch but then I re-pitch that 5 gal into a 10 gal which speeds things up a lot.  Plus, I try to plan ahead so that if I want to brew a new beer next week, I get the starter going this week as part of this weeks brew day. 

We'll never be as good as the pro's when it comes to expedience and efficiencies because the corporate world lives and dies by margins and process efficiencies make them money.  But, we can make beer that's just as good (and often better) and that's what's important to me.

Offline blatz

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2453
  • Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
    • View Profile
Re: The latest thing I am curious about
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2012, 02:27:49 PM »
I am truly brewing lagers now with the intent that they won't get drank until June.  That's the reality of lagers. 

I disagree with that.  Average gravity lagers can be turned around only 2-3 weeks longer than an ale.  I make a lot of lagers and primary them for 3 weeks and lager around 4 then off to the taps.  (most pros are 2 primary, 2 lagering, then packaging or less).

And not bragging, but to illustrate it ain't just my tastebuds that think so, I just got a 43.5 and a bronze medal for my oktoberfest at the Sunshine Challenge with 774 total entries and that beer was lagered for only 3 weeks and was on tap for 2 before I bottled some off the tap and sent.

that is, unless of course you want the oxidized flavor that many folks confuse for maltiness since that's what they taste in imports.  in that case, yeah, you'll need to wait 6 months or so  ;D
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Online gmac

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2024
  • London, Ontario
    • View Profile
Re: The latest thing I am curious about
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2012, 02:38:44 PM »
I am truly brewing lagers now with the intent that they won't get drank until June.  That's the reality of lagers. 

I disagree with that.  Average gravity lagers can be turned around only 2-3 weeks longer than an ale.  I make a lot of lagers and primary them for 3 weeks and lager around 4 then off to the taps.  (most pros are 2 primary, 2 lagering, then packaging or less).

And not bragging, but to illustrate it ain't just my tastebuds that think so, I just got a 43.5 and a bronze medal for my oktoberfest at the Sunshine Challenge with 774 total entries and that beer was lagered for only 3 weeks and was on tap for 2 before I bottled some off the tap and sent.

that is, unless of course you want the oxidized flavor that many folks confuse for maltiness since that's what they taste in imports.  in that case, yeah, you'll need to wait 6 months or so  ;D

I disagree with your disagreement... :)

All I'm getting at is that lagers take some time and you gotta think ahead if you want them ready for a particular time.  I'm sure I don't do as many lagers as you do but for me I figure about 8 weeks start to finish.  3 weeks in primary and 5 weeks or so lagering.  I'm sure you can do it better and faster, that's just what is working for me.  I'm making lager now for next summer because I have the right temperature conditions to do so.  I'd rather do a whole bunch ahead now than screw around with temperature controls and stuff like that. 

Offline blatz

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2453
  • Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
    • View Profile
Re: The latest thing I am curious about
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2012, 02:42:26 PM »
gmac - you're actually saying you do the same thing as i do (8 weeks give or take a week).

I always have to mess with temperature control down here so it doesn't matter if I brew an ale or a lager  ;D  probably if i lived in the cold, where i could brew lagers without fermentation control I would brew them like crazy in the winter and vice versa with ales.

didn't mean any offense or to be snarky, but I feel there is a myth that circles around out there that lagers need FOREVER to be ready and for a dunkel, pils, vienna etc. it simply isn't the case.  Now doppel...
« Last Edit: December 07, 2012, 02:45:11 PM by blatz »
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281