Author Topic: Bottle conditiong (new discussion)  (Read 620 times)

Offline rjreusch

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Bottle conditiong (new discussion)
« on: May 31, 2015, 12:01:41 PM »
Hello, I'm new to this forum and searched bottle conditioning and got some information. I would like to expand my knowledge if possible. I always bottle condition at this point. I generally prefer IPAs in the 1.065 OG range. I use a conical fermenter and leave about 14 days which is about 7 days after the beer is near final gravity. I do not use a secondary. So, I have done some conditioning on the bulk yeast before bottling. I find that the beer has a rather nice flavor at that point but it's really hard to tell. I then find that the beer flavor goes "off" during the carbonation period and after then comes back into condition maybe 4-6 weeks later even though carbonation seems to be complete after about 2 weeks (stored at about fermentation temp of 68F or so). I believe if I were to keg and force carbonate after the initial 14 days that the beer would be pretty much ready. I don't understand why 6 weeks would ever be necessary (except for high gravity beers of course) to recondition the beer just due to fermenting some corn sugar. It seems at worse the beer would need to go back through the 14 day period that was used prior to bottling. Does anybody have a theory on what's going on and are the results I'm getting unusual? Is there a way to reduce the time (higher storage temp) or is s just what is generally necessary)?

Offline duboman

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Re: Bottle conditiong (new discussion)
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2015, 01:58:14 PM »
By off do you mean flavor/hop aroma fades?

IME while the beer tastes good after 2weeks carbonating in the bottle it really becomes its best a week or two after. Even when kegging, the beer will get carbonated faster but still begins to taste the best after a couple weeks conditioning as well so I'd say your experience is typical, not unusual:)
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Offline Frankenbrew

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Re: Bottle conditiong (new discussion)
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2015, 01:58:36 PM »
Does anybody have a theory on what's going on and are the results I'm getting unusual? Is there a way to reduce the time (higher storage temp) or is s just what is generally necessary)?

No, you're not getting unusual results. You are going through what many of us that bottled for years and got tired of the wait went through. That is why many (most?) brewers end up kegging their beers. It sounds like your ready. I say, go for it!
Frank C.

And thereof comes the proverb: 'Blessing of your
heart, you brew good ale.'

Offline rjreusch

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Re: Bottle conditiong (new discussion)
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2015, 04:48:10 PM »
OK thanks...I think I am convinced that what I observe for bottle conditioning is not unusual. My technical mind still does not quite grasp the why of it. It just doesn't seem that many weeks would be necessary unless a couple things happen: When fermenting the corn sugar there are unwanted compounds formed just like in primary fermentation (doesn't seem likely) AND there is so little yeast in the bottle versus the fermenter that the conditioning process now takes longer.
In any case I appreciate the comments of the more experienced brewers!

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Bottle conditiong (new discussion)
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2015, 04:58:21 PM »
Your issue may relate to problems in the brewing process that go back into the mash that are getting cleaned up by the yeast after a second conditioning phase (the first being post-fermentation in your conical). You could try conditioning the bottles warmer and see if the conditioning phase shortens. On the other hand after the bottles carbonate you could try cold conditioning to see if that helps drop out yeast and other sediment in the bottle and give you a cleaner, clearer beer. The conditioning temperature by itself likely is not the culprit but rather a proxy solution.

Look at your bottling regimen. Are you introducing oxygen unnecessarily that requires the yeast to deal with the oxygen during bottle conditioning? That would certainly reactive the yeast and give you bottles with more yeast in suspension with the yeast bite that tends to mute a lot of preferable flavors in the beer. Are you picking up too much sediment that is suspended in the bottles for some time?

Are you using a powdery yeast strain and not removing most of the yeast by cold crashing, finings, etc.? The more powdery the yeast the harder it is to get that yeast to drop out in the bottle without cold aging after the bottles condition. You can also look at whether your mash has sufficient calcium to help the yeast floc out.

Is fermentation healthy? Are you pitching a healthy volume of yeast? Properly oxygenating and providing sufficient nutrients? If the fermentation is stressed then you likely end up with off-flavor compounds and the precursors to off-flavor compounds that need that longer period of time to resolve. Sometimes a flat beer that can hide of these compounds that become detectable in a carbonated beer as carbonation articulates flavors.

Otherwise it could be any number of other factors such as issues with your water supply, recipe choices, mash process, etc. but it's hard to guess at what individual factor may be responsible. I'd look at the easily identified issues above first.

I disagree with what has become canon in homebrewing that you have to leave your beer in the fermentor for a month or more followed by six or more weeks of bottle conditioning. There's nothing wrong with aging beer or enjoying your beer at whatever age you find it best. I age lots of beer for far longer than this. However, with good brewing practices there is no reason why you must wait two and a half months for your beer to be ready especially if it is not your goal to wait that long. The loudest voice of this paradigm is a guy with clearly terrible brewing practices who decided his time has been better spent preaching and developing a congregation this garbage than improving his brewing.

Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline rjreusch

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Re: Bottle conditiong (new discussion)
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2015, 01:36:08 AM »
I'm all about improving my brewing and figuring out what may be happening. First, I go to great lengths to avoid oxidation in general. I do not transfer to a secondary and bottle directly out of the conical. I do not mix sugar solution into the conical to avoid riling up the yeast rather I very accurately measure corn sugar to each bottle. I know this is not generally recommended but I carry over much less yeast. I get very consistent carbonation. I typically use White Labs 001 for my IPA so a rather clean yeast although not the best flocculator. I use a water analysis from the City of Grand Rapids and then blend with distilled water to get carbonates low. Then add back CaCl, MgSO4, NaCL and Ca SO4 to get an optimum mash chemistry. I generally use a 1 liter starter plus one vial of White Labs for about 5.5 gallons of a 1.065 OG wort. This gives me a reasonable yeast count. I use pure O2 for about 60 seconds. I get a vigorous fermentation where I don't see particular problems. So right now that leaves me with about 7 days to final gravity and another 7 in the fermenter prior to bottling to help clarification and conditioning. Then into the bottle.
Thanks for the continued comments, they will help me as I improve my process.
Cheers,
Bob

Offline duboman

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Re: Bottle conditiong (new discussion)
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2015, 03:28:36 PM »
After reading your last post my only suggestion would be to perhaps try a batch that you bulk prime in a bottling bucket instead of what you're doing now. Simply as a basis of comparison but it might provide the answer to your question and current experience.
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