Question: Aside from confirming fermentation is complete via consistent hydrometer readings, is there another way to check that the beer is ready for bottling, particularly in higher abv beers?

Background I have recently brewed my first Imperial Stout, which is expected to be between 10-11%. My fermentation is nearly complete, however I have seen several people claim to leave there higher abv bevs in the fermenter for 4-12 weeks.This is ostensibly to 'clean up unwanted flavour compounds', although I haven't found this kind of advice from the pros and am not sure what I'm looking /waiting for.

2 Answers 2


Similarly to aging wine in a carboy vs aging in the bottle. In my opinion once fermentation is complete and yeast has had a normal time to “clean up”, you can choose to age your beer in bottles while it conditions, creating your CO2 for carbonation, or you can age in a bulk vessel. If you wish the latter, I would rack the beer into a clean secondary for aging, sitting a long time on the trub is something I don’t adhere to in my brewing. I have made so much wine and needed to rack often, the process of racking beer once into a secondary has never been an issue to me as far as quality is concerned. Others may feel differently, YMMV.

  • Ok, so there's no reason it can't be bottled at 2 weeks? I guess many age in secondary so they have bottles free lol.
    – W4K1NG
    Oct 22, 2018 at 6:03

When it comes to off-flavors, the best guide is your mouth & nose. Taste & smell it. Maybe let it warm a bit to see what's revealed.

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