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I'm brewing my first batch of home brew, 'Hank's Hefeweizen' from Norther Brewer (extract). The instructions say 2 weeks primary, 2 weeks secondary, and 2 weeks bottle conditioning. I did not check my OG, but the kit states that it should be 1.052.

I am on day 10 of fermentation. I checked the SG at days 8 and 10, and it has not changed from day 8 to 10. It's sitting at 1.010. I tried the beer on both days and it tastes like beer (it's really good) and is somewhat carbonated. It's cloudy, but not more cloudy that some hazy IPAs I've had recently and doesn't have anything floating around I wouldn't want to drink. I do not plan on doing secondary fermentation as I keep reading that it's really not required unless you are making a strong beer, dry hopping or adding fruit.

I also plan on kegging instead of bottling. Luckily I already have a corney keg and kegerator from when I used to make carbonated water, so I plan on skipping bottling and kegging/force carbonating.

A few questions:

Question 1:

I was originally planning on leaving the beer in the primary fermenter for 4 weeks (2 weeks primary, plus the 2 weeks that should/could have been in secondary, but in the primary since I chose not to do secondary fermentation).

If the beer tastes good now, why wouldn't I be able to keg it right now? I'm not in a hurry, I'm just wondering what the point of waiting is if the fermentable sugar is gone and there are no off flavors that will be reduced. It does not seem that further conditioning is necessary.

Question 2:

If I'm at the point I can keg it, do I need to 'cold crash' in the primary fermenter before moving to the keg?

Question 3:

When I move the beer from the primary fermenter to the keg, can I use the spigot that's on the bucket or do I need to siphon it? I would have used the spigot if I was moving from primary to a secondary fermenter, but is there a reason I should siphon if I'm skipping secondary fermenting? Perhaps using a siphon help me avoid all of the gunk on the bottom of the bucket? That being said, the gunk seems to be below my spigot anyway.

Question 4:

Priming sugar is not necessary if I'm kegging and force carbonating, is that correct? Could I use priming sugar to cause carbonation in the corney keg and only use CO2 to push the beer to the tap? i.e. naturally carbonate in keg and then serve with CO2.

Final question:

If I'm indeed ready to keg this, why is my beer ready in 10 days vs the 4 week recommendation that the kit states (2 primary, 2 secondary). To be fair, the kit instructions say 'timing is somewhat flexible' during secondary fermentation, but that timing is still technically at least a week or two away. It seems strange that the beer is drinkable so far ahead of schedule.

EDIT: A few additonal questions that arose after an answer was given:

1)

When I rack to the corney keg, am I ok to use the large hole on the top? It seems like lots of oxygen could be introduced going this route. Or is it necessary to go through the whole process of filling the corney keg with sanitizer, then CO2, then filling via the liquid out post (while releasing venting the gas post)? Or is that overkill?

2)

Is it safe to say that in general kegging/bottling can commence when the beer tastes good? I don't need to worry about sticking too much to a schedule? It seems like conditioning is more of a matter of personal preference? I don't see how much my beer could change in flavor at this point by waiting a few more weeks.

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A weizenbeer can be bottled/kegged after a week and conditioned for two weeks, or bottled/kegged after two weeks and conditioned for a week.

Do not cold crash a weizen. Presence of yeast is part of the style. (Note: that might be a weak point of kegging w.r.t. weizenbeer, in that yeast is probably not tapped after it drops out).

You could indeed use priming sugar. Either way, if you use priming sugar or CO2, go for 4 volumes of CO2 for a weizen.

I suppose that the instructions are somewhat generic, most beers are indeed (rule of thumb) 2 weeks fermentation, two weeks bottling at room temperature, 2 weeks conditioning at a lower temperature. Weizen with real weizen yeast (not Belgian Wit) is faster to ferment and condition.

  • Thank you for taking the time to answer. What about my question regarding using a siphon vs the spigot on the bucket? Is there a downside of using the spigot? I also edited my question with regards to kegging. – adivis12 Nov 21 at 19:13
  • I was asking the question regarding using priming sugar just to expand my knowledge. I actually plan on force carbonating. It's interesting that if I force carbonate, the beer is drinkable after 3 weeks rather than 6. – adivis12 Nov 21 at 19:16
  • @adivis12: I hope someone else can answer your question w.r.t. kegging, because I only bottle, so totally no experience with kegging and related things. – chthon Nov 22 at 11:07
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    @adivis12: In bottles, weizen is also considered drinkable after three weeks, in 2/1 or 1/2 scheme for fermentation and bottling/carbonation. – chthon Nov 22 at 11:09
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Most of the questions have been answered by chthon already, but some additional notes:

Hefe is a fast style, the usual hefe yeast is a very fast fermenter and there is no need for a secondary or cold crashing. Cloudy/yeasty beer is part of the style. Make sure it is done fermenting, then start drinking asap!

On question 3 and the new question 1: Yes you can transfer it using the spigot, but be careful not to introduce oxygen. Use a tube from the spigot to the bottom of the keg and fill it up from the bottom.

Question 4: Not a kegger myself, so maybe someone else reading knows the answer?

New question 2: No. Yeast activity is leading here, not your taste buds ;). You are correct that a time schedule is only a rough estimate and conditioning is indeed a personal preference. But if the yeast is still active and producing CO2, you should not keg or bottle it. But if the gravity of the beer is stable for a few days, that is a green light to proceed.

Most of the kits I used to brew all came with the same instructions, despite the style or gravity of the beer. Probably cheaper to print or something. Best to do your own research about typical brewing guidelines for certain styles. I mean, cold crashing a hefe?

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