General Category > General Homebrew Discussion

Aging vs. lagering for ales

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Lazy Ant Brewing:
I only brew ales as I don't have a way of fermenting at cooler temps for lager yeasts. 

But I read about storing beer at temps in the 50 F range (don't have a way of doing that either) so after my beer is properly bottle conditioned I put in a refrigerator at about 38 F and leave there until I'm ready to drink it. 

I've noticed the darker ales get somewhat better after about two months, but I've wondered how that would compare to storing them at 50 F or a similar temp for a period of time.

udubdawg:
fairly rare is the beer that is not improved by cold conditioning.  Hefeweizen that I'm drinking a couple weeks after pitching comes to mind; not much else.  Tasted a lot of green NHC beers that could have used some time in the fridge.

anyway, IMO cold is better than cool is better than warm.  So, I would expect your beer to still improve, but more slowly.

what was the context of the 50F storage comment?  Cellaring big pro beers, perhaps?

leejoreilly:
I seem to recall a rule of thumb that says that chemical processes tend to double in speed for each increase of 18 degrees F. Since the process behind aging is mostly chemical (as opposed to bottle conditioning, which has a biological component), this rule might apply.

majorvices:
There are some beers that are best aged at 50 degrees - mostly high gravity beers such as barley wine. But all beers benefit from some cold conditioning time. IMO even hefeweizen benefits from a week or so at below 40 temps.

beersk:

--- Quote from: majorvices on August 07, 2014, 08:40:20 AM ---There are some beers that are best aged at 50 degrees - mostly high gravity beers such as barley wine. But all beers benefit from some cold conditioning time. IMO even hefeweizen benefits from a week or so at below 40 temps.

--- End quote ---
But only a week or so...then those damn things start dropping bright. I have a hefe on now that's been in the keg for about 2 weeks and it's already clearing. Argh! That's the only time I want my beer to stay cloudy! Then my damn lagers take 4+ weeks to drop bright... can't have it all I guess...

I'd say most styles benefit from cold storage.

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