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Leaving aside the risk the fermentation is not completed and possible bottle bombing. I have made some amber or brown ales, about 1.040 1.050 OG. After a week I bottle it and start drinking after 7-10 days.

Am I rushing things? What are the disadvantages and beer flaws that this timing can cause?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The primary thing you miss out on...

Conditioning

First, its important to note that beer does not simply create ethanol and co2 while in primary fermentation. There are a lot of byproducts that are produced in the crazy feeding frenzy that happens the first few days after pitching. The yeast need time to "clean up" after themselves once primary fermentation is complete. Once the "easy" food of fermentable sugars have been eaten the yeast turn to other harder to digest substances. How to Brew lists some of the substances that can be present in your beer.

  • Acetaldehyde
  • Esters
  • Amino acids
  • Fusel Alcohols
  • Diacetyl
  • Pentanedione
  • dimethyl sulfide

If you bottle right away you miss out on this cleanup phase and will most definitely not have as good a beer as you could. The beer may be good enough for your taste but its definitely not as good as it should be.

Personally I never drink a beer until its sat for at least 3 weeks in primary and bottle conditioned for another 3. Its a long time to wait but I'm never dissatisfied.

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Most would settle for the extra week. But if you're in a hurry, primary could easily be complete after a week, so you're not bottling too early. However, drinking 7-10 day after bottling is on the early side - the beer may not even be fully carbonated at that time.

Wheat beers are best consumed early, as are beer with a strong hop aroma, so drinking early may in fact be a benefit. If you use temperature control with adequate pitching rates, you can reduce the amounts of esters, diacetyl and other undesirables that normally need weeks of conditioning to remove.

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That's a lot of May's and If's. Generally speaking would you consider one week on primary for Wheats and IPA's to be an preferred practice? –  Jared Meyering Apr 8 '13 at 21:05
    
Its always been my thought that even an extra week is a benefit to overall flavor and completeness (as vague as that is) of the beer. –  Jared Meyering Apr 8 '13 at 21:13
1  
I write "could" and "may" since this is general advice - there's no info about fermentation temperature, yeast strain, which influence how long primary will take. And carbonation usually takes 10-14 days, again depending upon levels of CO2 required, health of yeast, room temperature etc, all unspecified. It's not possible to speak in terms of absolutes when answering with this level of generality, so I think "should" and "may" are warranted here. The OP doesn't state if he is using temperature control or not, so that has to be conditional. –  mdma Apr 8 '13 at 22:07
    
I'm not saying it's a preferred practice, but hilighting that it may not be as crazy as you may initially think. Unless your beer is really out of whack after 7 days, the additional week is often not needed - primary can be done in 3 days and the remainder of the time is conditioning. With TC, raising the temperature towards the end speeds up with process. Many leave in primary the extra week it since it does no harm. But it's not a must - if the beer fermented clean, it's not needed. I've turned out good session beers grain to glass in 2 1/2 weeks with the right conditions. –  mdma Apr 8 '13 at 22:10
    
Understand. Just like to hear others opinion on the matter. I never knew wheats, like IPAs, are best drunk asap. Maybe At some point I'll try to turn one around quickly and compare results. –  Jared Meyering Apr 8 '13 at 22:43

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