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I've got an event coming up and I've got one beer that I'm going to bring, but I'm thinking about brewing another. If I do that, I need to turn it around in about two weeks. Which is probably too short, even with force carbonating. But it got me thinking about what goes into a short fermentation time, and I don't know much about how the different components contribute to time.

I think I would want to have a fairly low OG, like around 1.04. Probably a pilsner, but maybe a low alcohol wheat would be good. Do different types of grains have different effects beyond just the sugar they contribute? Do I want to avoid specialty grains? Does extract, partial, or all grain make a difference?

Then hops, maybe a session IPA is the way to go. I've heard that the reason you dry hop after the primary fermentation is done is because the hops can interfere with fermentation. If that's true, do I want to keep the hops low overall? Are hops equal in this respect, or is it specifically related to something that varies with the variety?

For the yeast I think I would want to have something that is heat tolerant and low esters, so I can raise the temperature a bit and encourage growth. Is there such a thing as too much of a starter?

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Specialty grains, extract vs. all-grain does not make a difference on fermentation time.

The reason to avoid dry-hopping in primary is not for interference with fermentation, but the yeast and CO₂ production will separately steal a lot of hop character.

There is something about overpitching yeast, but I wouldn't worry about it too much; if you're really looking for a super-quick fermentation, pitching a lot of health yeast is a good way to go.

I'd suggest a low/moderate-gravity hefeweizen, which can be turned around in 2 weeks (1 week fermentation, 1 week force carb) and is best when fresh anyways. A pale or session IPA should work fine, as well; if you use 1056, note that it "produces diacetyl and fusels if reproduction stage is over 71f or excessively underpitched."

I'd oxygenate the wort well and use yeast nutrient. Pitch a larger starter at high krausen. Keep fermentation temps elevated but not excessively so. Keg after 1 week and force carb.

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I recently turned around an AIPA in 8 days from brewing to drinking. The key was pitching an adequate amount of healthy yeast and carefully controlling fermentation temp. I ran at 63F for 3 days until FG was reached, raised to 70F for 1-2 days to complete fermentation, then crashed to 33 for 3 days to clear the beer, kegged and force carbed.

  • What was the OG of that AIPA? – BBS Apr 23 '15 at 15:29
  • Sorry, forgot...it was 1.064 and went to 1.011. I use WY1450 Denny's Favorite in a 3 qt. starter. – Denny Conn Apr 23 '15 at 16:26
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Denny & jsled are right, and I want to add:

  • dry hopping is usually done at the end of fermentation, and could prolong the time to completion (unless you put the hops right the keg you will serve from).
  • Saisons can be be made very fast, the ferment can go up 90F (maybe higher) without a problem. I use Wyeast French Saison all the time and find it very fast and clean. I recently got a batch from brew to bottle conditioned in 12 days, without going above 75F.
  • 3711 French Saison is awesome. While it doesn't have the same wonderful dry bubblegum character as the old DuPont 3724, it's so much easier to work with, and is quick. I thought about including 3711 in my post, but decided against it, and I'm glad you brought it up. – jsled Apr 24 '15 at 2:20

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