Another fact finding question: How long can I - theoretically - leave my Ginger Beer brew in the primary (a 5 gallon glass carboy) before bottling?

The instructions suggest 8 days, hovever it's fermenting slow due to low temps, so I'm expecting at least 2 weeks. But if I wanted to bottle it in say a month, would that be bad?

  • how long should i leave it in the ferment 10 gallon tub, because i put it in there like 4 hours ago more than 4 packs of yeast, it smells great and bubbling
    – user12139
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 18:44

3 Answers 3


I never go past 3 weeks on the primary yeast cake. If left too long the yeast can start to consume some of the trub material and produce "off" flavors. A month probably will be fine and I'm sure there are those who leave it sitting on the trub longer but I like to take it off and play on the safe side.

  • Right on! 15char Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 23:35

I wouldn't leave it more than 3 weeks in primary. I expect it will be done in 2 weeks max, so you could bottle any time from 2-3 weeks from start of fermentation.

Many will say 4 weeks is fine, but you're definitely in the area of picking up a yeast bite. I've left beers in primary for 4 weeks at 18C and they've been undrinkable.


A month is nothing to worry about, and in fact common for many brewers. I leave brews in the primary for 4-6 weeks quite often. The concern the others are referring to is called autolysis. It's very unlikely to happen in a month.

Here's a clip from Palmer for more information about it. http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter10-3.html

  • well I can say first hand that I've had autolysis happen at around 4 weeks - a split batch, first half 4 weeks primary, 2nd half 2 wks prk/2weks 2ndary - the one in primary was undrinkable. But it's not just full on meaty autolysis but a musky yeast taste and aroma that the beer picks up and that comes in sooner.
    – mdma
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 0:55
  • While it is possible, it's unlikely to happen in that short amount of time. Unless I will be leaving a brew in the fermenter for longer than 6 weeks, I don't secondary anything and have yet to have an issue with autolysis.
    – CodeBrewer
    Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 15:34
  • As a role of thumb is best not no. You may have had good luck but it doesn't mean its a good practice... Especially as advice to a new brewer. Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 18:42
  • I'll stand by my statements. Many consider autolysis to be the loch ness monster of brewing. The bad advice being given here is the recipe saying to bottle after 8 days. This type of practice is what leads to many new brewers being unhappy with their brews, and even worse having bottle bombs.
    – CodeBrewer
    Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 1:05

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