Back in August we started a Russian Imperial Stout. Looking to imitate my favorite beer on Earth--Rogue's Russian Imperial Stout--it was a spendy batch, with nearly double the ingredients for those voracious yeast to chew on.
With that well under way, we also put an IPA in the works. We'd done one late last year, and it has been among our most popular brews when sharing with friends and family. The intensely hoppy beers of the Northwest have been growing on me, I have to admit. I'm still most fond of the dark beers, but some nice, spicy, hoppy beer doesn't go down wrong either.
So that got us up until the end of September, with both batches in the secondary when life suddenly exploded. Weeks flew by, we were out of town, swamped around the house, didn't manage to catch Andrew for ages, and before I knew it I couldn't exactly remember when we'd made that beer in the secondary. Every once in a while it'd bloop in the corner. There wasn't anything green or pink or orange growing, but I felt guilty for not treating my beer right. It deserved to be bottled and enjoyed.
This past weekend we finally got together and bottled (along with brewing a rather pale looking batch of Amber--we'll see how that goes). There was a great deal of tension as we got the first bit of the beer into a glass to sample, then move it on into the bottling bucket. Would it be ruined by the long sit on a small layer of yeast? Would the light and time in the carboy have flushed ten gallons down the drain?
Hallelujah! The Russian was excellent, even flat (we prime in the bottles). The IPA also showed no ill effect from the time in the carboy, although it was a little sweeter than I remember the recipe being before. Hopefully it'll smooth out in the bottles.
So there's an answer for those who might be wondering how long you can have a beer sit in secondary. Three or four months doesn't seem to be an issue, though I'm not likely to try that experiment again.