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Blacker Pastures

Best bottle conditioning times

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Hi all.

 

I've been going mental brewing over the last little while to get a varied selection ready for christmas prezzies, and have 7 brews done, plus ginger beer. I have one left in the craft fermenter due for bottling christmas day biggrin

 

I'm putting together some labels to stick on the ones i'm giving away, and I hope to put a "best after" date on them so my muppet family don't drink them all before they're at their best....

 

I'm looking for advice about how long bottling conditioning improves the flavour or different styles, so i can have that on the labels. I was thinking about just making it at least 8 weeks after bottling, but I know there are some styles that would benefit from more time.

 

So i have:

Pale Ale

IPA (x2)

Nut Brown Ale

Amber Ale

Dark Ale

Kolsh

Saison

 

and the Ginger Beer...

 

Any thoughts greatly appreciated!biggrinbiggrin

 

(it' will also be great to box a few away to be pulled out in time for my 40th in August bandit)

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Mine are all gone well before 8 weeks after bottling.

Have you added anything to the kits or just brewed as suggested?

Darker and/ or stronger beers tend to benefit from more bottle time.

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Mine are all gone well before 8 weeks after bottling.

Have you added anything to the kits or just brewed as suggested?

Darker and/ or stronger beers tend to benefit from more bottle time.

 

Thanks Ben. They're all just recipes followed from the Coopers site' date=' and a couple of the ROTM's too.

I'm too new to this to fiddle with things i don't fully understand yet, so I'm sticking to the recipes for now...

 

I might extend the dates for the darker or stronger ones a little, just to be sure [img']annoyed[/img]

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In my experience brewing lightly hopped low gravity beers, most brews benefit from six weeks in the bottle and are best drunk between 8-12 weeks after bottling. I usually find the last bottle I drink from a batch the best. But beers with a lot of late hopping/dry hopping or yeasty esters should be drunk very fresh, as those qualities fade quickly, and you might want to wait longer (3-6 months) if has high IBUs (like your IPA toucan), and/or high alcohol, especially if it is made with a lot of roasted malts.

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So far as I can tell in my limited experience, you don't really know when your beer has reached its prime until you drink it.

Each batch can vary, but you probably already know that.

 

As a rule though, I'd say if you really wanted to only drink your beer (or share it) when it's reached it's potential, I'd not touch it until it's been in the bottle at least 4 weeks, & with the exception of dark ales & lagers, it's probably passed its prime by the time it's 6 - 9 months old.

 

I tend to agree with Christina, & Ben10,

but that said, it's a rare beer that doesn't get polished off before it's 2 - 3 months old around here.

I have the patience to make a good beer, but not the space or determination to let it age longer than that, lest I run out of beer & have to purchase commercial beer instead.

 

So light coloured hoppy beers, you want to consume reasonably fresh, darker or more nuanced beers can age a bit longer.

The exception being the IPA style beers, which were made for voyages to India during British colonialism, so they should age well.

 

As for the ginger beer, I found mine improved with time, up to about 6 months, after which it didn't improve, but didn't really deteriorate either.

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