Home brewing can be a great hobby, but it is one that requires a lot of patience. It is very tempting to take a sip of the beer you made before it is ready. After beer ferments, it needs several weeks to age in order be finished. If you drink it too early, you will surely be disappointed with the result. That could discourage you from keeping with the hobby. With that in mind, here is how you should age your home brew.
After your beer is finished fermenting, it is time to transfer it to bottles. You do this using a racking crane and racking bucket. Make sure both are sanitized before using them. Otherwise, you run the risk of bacteria growth which will ruin your batch. Once you put the beer in to bottles, cap them and store them in a room with minimal light. It is recommended that you use brown bottles as they help keep light out more so than clear or green bottles.
You will need to find a dark, cool area to store the beer where it won’t be disturbed. If you have a basement, that is ideal. Different types of yeasts and brews require different temperatures, but they usually fall in the range of the high sixties to low seventies. Place your beer on a shelf where you won’t have to worry about moving it. However, you don’t want to place it too high. You will want to be able to see the beer from time to time during the aging process.
Make sure you pay attention to how long the beer is required to age. Different recipes have different requirements, ranging from one or two weeks to several months. This is because some ingredients take longer to mature than others. A recipe will tell you how long the beer should age, and you should follow that. Think of it like following the recommended cooking time in an oven. Many beers get only better if you age them longer than the recommended range. That is something you might want to consider as you gain more experience with home brewing.
After the recommended time has passed, you can see if your beer is ready. You want your beer to be completely mature and carbonated. If you look at the bottle and see that the beer is cloudy in appearance, it is not ready to drink yet, so you will need to wait a little longer. If the beer is clear and has a thin layer of yeast at the bottom, is probably ready to drink. Open up one bottle and take a sip. If the taste is satisfying then you are good to go. If however you are not pleased, let the beer sit a little longer. If a lot of time has passed and the beer tastes or smells foul then that means the batch was ruined. This could have been caused by any number of reasons.
Once you are finished with the aging process, document how long you let the beer age so you have it for future reference. Documentation is a great idea throughout the entire home brewing process. Not only do you have the exact recipe detail if you enjoyed the batch you made, but you also have a list of steps that you can go through if your batch didn’t turn out as you had hoped.
Remember, every batch of beer and every type of beer is different. Pay attention to all the suggestions. A good rule of thumb is that darker peer like porters or stouts will take longer to age, and their flavor will improve with age as well. Lighter beers will take a shorter amount of time. Whatever you do, don’t rush the process.