Aging your newly brewed beer is an important step in the beer-making process. This can prove to be the most difficult step because you are surely very anxious to try your new brew. However, if you try it too soon you are likely to be disappointed in the taste. Newly bottled beer will need to age for a period of at least 2 to 6 weeks for conditioning.
During the aging process the yeast will ferment the remaining sugar that was used when bottling the beer. This creates carbon dioxide, which naturally adds carbonation to your brew to make it perfectly bubbly. Also during this time unwanted sediments from the yeast and proteins will drop out and help to make a better, smoother tasting end product. In some cases this process can take up to 6 months, however, it is most often accomplished within a month.
The amount of time the beer needs to age will often depend on the recipe. Follow the time frame that the recipe recommends. In general, most home brews are drinkable in a month; however, they reach their peak flavor after a longer time, usually 8 to 15 weeks.
To ensure enhanced flavor, color and texture, store the bottled beer in a cool, dark place. The optimal temperature range is 66 degrees to 72 degrees. Do not store your newly brewed beer in the refrigerator. Keeping it at cool room temperature allows the yeast to complete its work, allowing for optimal carbonation. After the first two weeks you may store the beer in the refrigerator. This will help it complete its aging process more quickly. Avoid any temperature changes while storing your beer. Use brown or amber bottles to help avoid harmful light damage.
Once the beer is refrigerated it will stop the yeast process and may begin to deteriorate. Test your various recipes to see when the best taste is achieved. Keep good records of your brewing recipes including temperatures and techniques. This will help you re-create the perfect batch of beer every time. Be sure to record when you tasted your beer and how it was. Start with one bottle and wait a week or so to try another. This will give you a comparison to go on. Once you are happy with the taste of your beer make sure that the entire batch is kept under refrigeration to keep the taste at its peak.