Author Topic: how to "improve" "finished" beer?  (Read 1539 times)

Offline homoeccentricus

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how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« on: December 01, 2015, 03:45:54 PM »
I was wondering about ways to "improve beer" that has been kegged (or will be bottled). Maybe I want to experiment a bit with my Dortmunder with Mandarina hops, that I'll start coldcrashing in a few days (like ways to mask the lager taste ;) ). What are some (not so) standard practices (not necessarily for a Dort)?

- dryhopping in the keg. Put pellets in a nylon bag, add some marbles and hang from a wire? Then remove after five days or so?
- adjusting pH? I know there's been a long thread recently, but  what's the quick dumbass way?
- adding brewing salts? Which ones? Gypsum and calcium chloride?
- can sweetness levels be adjusted in the keg? (In mead it can be done by nuking the yeasties with sulfites)
- adding weird sh*t? Like what?
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Offline muzak

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Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2015, 03:50:40 PM »
- dryhopping in the keg. Put pellets in a nylon bag, add some marbles and hang from a wire? Then remove after five days or so?

I've done this with kegs. Usually I'll just toss the hops in a muslin bag and leave it until the keg taps.
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Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2015, 04:54:16 PM »
I was wondering about ways to "improve beer" that has been kegged (or will be bottled). Maybe I want to experiment a bit with my Dortmunder with Mandarina hops, that I'll start coldcrashing in a few days (like ways to mask the lager taste ;) ). What are some (not so) standard practices (not necessarily for a Dort)?

- dryhopping in the keg. Put pellets in a nylon bag, add some marbles and hang from a wire? Then remove after five days or so?
- adjusting pH? I know there's been a long thread recently, but  what's the quick dumbass way?
- adding brewing salts? Which ones? Gypsum and calcium chloride?
- can sweetness levels be adjusted in the keg? (In mead it can be done by nuking the yeasties with sulfites)
- adding weird sh*t? Like what?

No need for weights in the bag.
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Offline JJeffers09

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Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2015, 05:00:03 PM »
Put it into a secondary (before cold crashing-if you did not know) you can change up the flavors by repitching yeast, spice, fruit, sugars, converted starches etc.  the sky is really the limit.  You can give it a lot of character with caramelized sugars and spices if you are looking outside the box.  Dry hopping is def a big option here and probably would be a recommended one, fruity spicy or floral hops would work with a dort.  It just matters what you want to add to your beer.

A Dortmunder does not have fruit, it has a cornlike sweetness but no spices.  So if you don't like the yeast quality in your beer, you can try and let it mellow out in a "secondary" with some corn sugar / dextrose, or cooked grits.  Rice adjunct sugar whatever character you want to add to your beer.  But remember when you are tasting what you have now it is un-carbonated and is not conditioned.  Although there is high sulfites in this style, I for one am not crazy about adding any to my beer.  But if you added something like fruit or spice you would be getting into a different style of beer.  So Amstel Light is a dortmunder so is Sam Adams light and Heineken premium light all different tasting but still dorts. 
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Offline chumley

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Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2015, 05:28:18 PM »
I really dislike dry hopped lagers.  But, I am a lager fan.

The best way of improving a lager is to let it sit in the fridge for months.

Offline kramerog

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Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2015, 06:42:35 PM »
Lactic or phosphoric acid can be added to acidify the beer.  I have not heard of people trying to increase the pH in finished beer but calcium carbonate, calcium hydroxide and calcium oxide should work.  The quantities to be used should be small, ml or g amounts, assuming a proper mash pH was achieved.

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2015, 06:42:47 PM »
I was not specifically trying to pimp the Dort, it's a general question.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2015, 04:21:36 PM »
I have done any number of things to finished beer including boiling some water with either CaCl (if the beer lacked malty smoothness) or gypsum (if I wanted the beer crisper) and adding that right to the keg.  I had a spiced pumpkin ale that could have used a little more sweetness so I boiled some water with maybe an ounce or two of brown sugar and added that to the cold keg.  The yeast wouldn't be able to touch it because the beer was cold.  I don't necessarily *LIKE* doing these things and I would much rather have it right in the first place.  But it's nice to know you could do this.  I have shot a milliliter of lactic acid into a keg as well... to  give it a brighter, snappier character.  I have put muslin bags of hops into beers that I thought could benefit from it but I have spoken with pro brewers who frown on dry-hopping cold beers (they say it brings out vegetal flavors) so most of my dry-hopping happens in a cellar-temp secondary now and then the hops are removed and the beer gets kegged, chilled and carbed.  Cheers.

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2015, 06:04:26 PM »
I was wondering about ways to "improve beer" that has been kegged (or will be bottled). Maybe I want to experiment a bit with my Dortmunder with Mandarina hops, that I'll start coldcrashing in a few days (like ways to mask the lager taste ;) ). What are some (not so) standard practices (not necessarily for a Dort)?

- dryhopping in the keg. Put pellets in a nylon bag, add some marbles and hang from a wire? Then remove after five days or so?
- adjusting pH? I know there's been a long thread recently, but  what's the quick dumbass way?
- adding brewing salts? Which ones? Gypsum and calcium chloride?
- can sweetness levels be adjusted in the keg? (In mead it can be done by nuking the yeasties with sulfites)
- adding weird sh*t? Like what?

No need for weights in the bag.

So does the absorption of beer into the hops floating on top provide enough weight for it to sink.  I've always added a SS piece to my bag (and have thrown out my share of SS pieces when I forget they are in there). 

I'm dry hopping a beer tonight in keg so I'll try without the weight.
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Offline curtism1234

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Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2015, 06:21:41 PM »
I was wondering about ways to "improve beer" that has been kegged (or will be bottled). Maybe I want to experiment a bit with my Dortmunder with Mandarina hops, that I'll start coldcrashing in a few days (like ways to mask the lager taste ;) ). What are some (not so) standard practices (not necessarily for a Dort)?

- dryhopping in the keg. Put pellets in a nylon bag, add some marbles and hang from a wire? Then remove after five days or so?
- adjusting pH? I know there's been a long thread recently, but  what's the quick dumbass way?
- adding brewing salts? Which ones? Gypsum and calcium chloride?
- can sweetness levels be adjusted in the keg? (In mead it can be done by nuking the yeasties with sulfites)
- adding weird sh*t? Like what?

No need for weights in the bag.

So does the absorption of beer into the hops floating on top provide enough weight for it to sink.  I've always added a SS piece to my bag (and have thrown out my share of SS pieces when I forget they are in there). 

I'm dry hopping a beer tonight in keg so I'll try without the weight.

Muslin bags full of hops will float for a while but will soon sink once the bag absorbs the liquid.

Even stretching the bag over the fermentation bucket and dropping the hops in should result in the hops sinking in my experience.

Offline jjflash

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Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2015, 03:02:25 PM »
The best way of improving a lager is to let it sit in the fridge for months.

+1  ales too!!
Time in the fridge is magic.
Often my big ales on racking taste drinkable but not memorable.
Several months in the fridge and they are outstanding.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2015, 01:04:56 AM »
I made a beer earlier this year that was a sort of festbier (I actually tried to duplicate Leinie Oktoberfest... should I be embarrassed?) and it came out a little drier and crisper than it should.  I had a decent water composition but I may have overdone the sulfate.  It's been on tap now for a couple of weeks and I have been avoiding it because it was just not very good.  So today I boiled a small amount of water with 1½ grams of CaCl to counter the sulfate.  I let it cool, poured it into the keg and then drank that beer all afternoon while watching football.  It was MUCH better and I was mildly surprised at how well it improved.  So you just never know... small adjustments can be made post-fermentation and potentially save a beer.  Cheers.

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Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2015, 08:12:14 PM »
I've reduced diacetyl and acetaldehyde (on separate occasions) to acceptable levels in finished beer by pitching US-05 and letting it do its things for a few days.

Offline narvin

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Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2015, 09:46:35 PM »
- adding weird sh*t? Like what?

Tinctures soaked in vodka.  Cocoa, blood orange peel (not the white pith), meatballs... your imagination is the only limiting factor. 
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Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2015, 03:32:11 PM »
I've reduced diacetyl and acetaldehyde (on separate occasions) to acceptable levels in finished beer by pitching US-05 and letting it do its things for a few days.

That's the trick... Fresh krauesen is a winner.