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Occasionally I need to brew beer for an event, and I procrastinate. One time, I brewed a pretty hefty IPA, and went from boil to bottle (keg, actually) in about 10 days. It was pretty malty, considering I kegged it at 1.032 or so...

What are some tips for rapid brewing? Any specific yeasts, styles, temperatures, and other techniques for pushing a batch out as fast as possible?

I realize that it's not really in our nature to rush, but rather to relax, sit back, and enjoy a homebrew. However, that being said, how do you brew fast? Consider options where money is and is not an issue.

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Every rushed beer I've done has turned out horrible. If the beer decides to be shy, I give myself an extra month to give it time to warm to the spotlight. –  Pulsehead Feb 9 '11 at 13:40
    
Great question. –  brewchez Feb 9 '11 at 13:46
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8 Answers 8

Session beers, and slight over pitching is how I've made it happen. Keep your gravities to 1.040 or less and pitch two packs of yeast in general. English Ales definately are a good choice because the yeasts tend to flocc out really well, so you get clearly beer sooner. Where are American Ale yeasts tend to take a litte more time to clear out.

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For the fastest beer, the style choice is the main thing. The beers mentioned before work very well, but if you want to be drinking in one week, how about a Belgian Wit, German Weizen, or American Hefeweizen. All these beers are meant to have yeast still in them, so clarity is not an issue, and the bready flavors and aromas true to the styles are most predominant in the first couple weeks. Wit's especially should be consumed while very young or they lose much of their flavor. And of course for speed beer purposes, I would reiterate the comments on keeping the gravity under 1.045 and overpitching.

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I've learned that you just can't rush big beers. Anything with an ABV over 5% or so and you'll have to wait a while. Keeps the beer small, like in the 4% range, and it should be drinkable in a few weeks. Similarly, if you have any kind of additions that might impart off flavors early that mellow with time, you can't rush those. You can rush a simple American pale ale or maybe a smaller red or brown ale. You can't rush an imperial porter with 9 specialty grains and a starting gravity of 1.085.

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A large active yeast starter is also important for a quick fermentation. –  Darknova306 Feb 19 '10 at 17:20
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I've never really rushed one, but low gravity English styles (Mild, Bitter) would probably work well. The British yeast I've used have all finished and flocculated out quickly (particularly the WY1968, but the WLP002 and S-04 show similar characteristics), and the low gravity would ensure that they don't have too much sugar to run through. The gravity of the last bitter (1.036 OG) I brewed was stable after 6 days. If I hadn't been oaking it, it could have probably been finished carbonating within 10ish days, if I laid the gas to it.

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I've made good dark milds in 7-10 days. The style is meant to be consumed fresh. Not everyone likes 3.5-4.5% beers, but they can pack a lot of flavor. Blonde ale works too. –  paul Jan 3 at 5:15
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The best style to make if you are short on time are German Wheat beers, specifically Hefeweizen and Dunkleweizen.

You can go from grain to glass in maybe 8-12 days with a straight Hefe. Also, Hefe has the advantage of being a crowd favorite. Just called it a "wheat beer" and people will chug it. Make sure to use a starter, and ferment in the mid 60's. That will give you nice Hefe flavor without being overpowering. And since you don't have to wait to let the beer clear, you can keg it as soon as it's done fermenting.

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Pitching and fermenting at the higher end of the yeasts recommended range will speed fermentation. I also agree with the other post and comments before mine as well.

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But it might very well be at the expense of beer quality. –  Denny Conn Feb 11 '11 at 17:54
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Key tricks:

  • Lower alcohol beers- don't do an IPA or barely wine.
  • Use a yeast starter.
  • Ferment at the ideal temperature with minimal swings.
  • Keg it and force carbonate it. This mostly eliminates the time waiting to carbonate.
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I don't brew fast. The beer is ready when it tells me it's ready.

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He asked how to brew fast and you can't answer if you never do it. –  nbushnell May 19 '11 at 15:37
    
I don't do it now, but I have in the past. –  Denny Conn May 19 '11 at 17:05
    
This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. –  JoeFish Dec 12 '12 at 14:45
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