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I just put down my first brew and should have bottled it last week but had something come up. How long will it be good for?

If I bottle it this weekend will it still be good or is there something I need to do?

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When you say "barrel", are you really referring to a bucket or carboy, or do you actually have your beer in a wooden barrel? –  baka Jan 20 '12 at 12:21
    
a plastic beer barrel use for home brew it has an air lock and is in a brewing boxs at 22C –  tom Jan 20 '12 at 14:43
    
I've removed the term "barrel" from the title. –  jsled Jan 20 '12 at 17:53
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3 Answers

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At fermentation temperatures I have left beer in primary for a month at a time with no issues. Issues such as yeast autolysis are only a concern when the yeast health was not great to begin with.

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At that temperature, I wouldn't leave for more than 3 weeks max. Yeast metabolism is proportional to temperature. You can chill the beer now down to 5C or lower, so that it drops clear ready for bottling. The rapid change in temperature will also cause the yeast to build trehalose reserves and go dormant, which will keep them in better shape and help avoid yeast bite.

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An average beer can remain in the primary fermenter for many weeks before encountering problems … anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks is going to be fine. The primary concern with extended time leaving the beer in the primary is off-flavors due to autolysis of the yeast. A week or two is no problem.

(BTW, 22°C (~72°F) is pretty hot, especially for an ambient temperature; the beer itself is going to be 5-10°F hotter due to fermentation being exothermic.)

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I wouldn't call 72F hot. It is a standard fermentation temp, a little high but certainly not hot. –  brewchez Jan 21 '12 at 13:38
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