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Time, and Other Ingredients: Beer Maturation Explained

From our Illustrated Guide to Homebrewing, here are things to consider while your batch moves from fermentation to that time when waiting (and perhaps adding a thing or two) only makes your beer better.

Dave Carpenter Apr 28, 2023 - 13 min read

Time, and Other Ingredients: Beer Maturation Explained Primary Image

This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.
— Gwendolen Fairfax in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest


Wine. Cheese. Dame Helen Mirren. Some things just get better with age. And beer is no different—up to a point, anyway. All beer needs a period of time during which rough edges can smooth, flavors can meld, and yeast cells can clean up after themselves. Maturation, the sixth essential step in brewing beer, is as critical a phase as fermentation itself, and it can be as bearable as a couple of days or as insufferable as a couple of years.

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