Brew With Us: How do you know your homebrew is ready to drink? Here are instructions on conditioning your beer and how to serve it.
The only way to see if your beer is ready to drink is to try it! After bottling, you should leave your beer untouched for at least 10 days to “condition,” but after that, you are ready to start tasting. If you don’t like how it tastes at first, don’t worry — beer will continue to age and improve in the bottle over the next few weeks. It should taste best after about a month in the bottle.
Conditioning your beer
Brewing timelineWhat we’ll accomplish in the weeks ahead
- Brew day (4-5 hours): We'll make the beer starting on May 30. Read part of the recipe covering Brew Day.
- Fermentation (2+ weeks): Deadline to start fermentation is June 6. Read part of the recipe covering fermentation.
- Bottling and conditioning (10+ days): Deadline to bottle beer is June 27. Read part of the recipe covering bottling.
- Drink! The beer will be ready to drink as soon as July 4.
Your beer will be done conditioning in the bottle and ready to drink after 10 days, but aging the beer longer will likely improve the flavor. Continue to store the beer in a cool, dark location and taste periodically until you’re happy with it. Move a few bottles of beer to the fridge before tasting.
Serving your beer
A small amount of yeast sediment will be at the bottom of each bottle — storing the beer upright will ensure that it stays at the bottom. Pour your beer into a glass slowly to make sure that the sediment stays in the bottle and doesn’t end up in your glass. The sediment is fine to drink, but can add yeasty off-flavors to the beer.
Inspect the color, carbonation and smell of your beer, and take notes! (Here is a handy reference on how to describe your beer.)
How is beer made?Water + malt + hops + yeast. Learn what goes into beer and the processes in brewing.
Off-flavors to look for when tasting your beer:
Some off-flavors will disappear over time, but if other bad flavors persist after a month or more in the bottle, that indicates something may have gone wrong during the brewing process. Pinpointing these off-flavors will be instructive in figuring out any errors that were made along the way. John Palmer provides an excellent beginner’s guide to identifying common off-flavors and their causes.
Now, it’s time to drink, share and enjoy your beer. And that’s it! This hobby can become as advanced as you’d like, and frustrating at times with the inevitable mishaps that all homebrewers encounter — but we hope you keep with it.
Leave us a comment with tasting notes and share photos of your beer on social media using the hashtag #brewwithus. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for brewing with us!