How long can you leave your homebrew in the fermenter?

It's happened to the best of us. You brew then get busy and totally forget about bottling your beer! You may think it's no good and should toss it, but hold a sec! We break down how long is too long in this week's episode.

So let's paint a picture, you brew an awesome Mr. Beer recipe, but then life gets busy. You forget you brewed a batch and then one night you're sitting there and you realize that your beer has been sitting there for 4 weeks!

It’s happened to all of us. Things come up and bottling your homebrew is just not a priority at the moment.

A common question we get is from people that have left their beer for to long and are thinking about dumping it.

Before you ever dump your beer always try it. You may think something is bad but when you taste it you could be surprised. It could be totally fine, or if you did get some type of infection it could be a good one that turns your beer into a nice sour!

For brewing with Mr. Beer, we always recommend that you bottle your beer no later than 24 days in the fermenter. You can go longer but the longer your beer sits the more chance you have to get an infection and get off-flavors in your beer.

The 24-day mark has always worked well for us.

We have gone over in some cases but mostly by a few days. If I had to put a date on it, I would say you want to bottle your beer around 28 days, or if you cannot bottle it then you would want to rack it into a secondary fermenter to get it off the yeast.

The main reason you want to get your beer off the yeast is due to Autolysis. This happens when the yeast cells die and rupture they release several off-flavors into your beer. So getting your beer off the dead yeast will help prevent those flavors from happening.

When you have a brew that has succumbed to Autolysis it will have this burnt rubber taste and smell to it and will most likely be undrinkable.

At that point, you would want to toss it.

Now I do want to note that you can keep beer in the fermenter for longer. When you have healthy yeast and good temperatures your beer can sit longer and be fine but the longer it goes the chances of infection will increase.

So make sure when your brewing to plain out your bottling day as well so you don’t forget!