Author Topic: Aging/conditioning  (Read 575 times)

Offline BrewBama

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Aging/conditioning
« on: August 10, 2016, 11:42:02 AM »
I saw this in another forum and want to see what the thought is here. I have experienced beer getting better over time. Is this guideline schedule credible?

Here's an excerpt:

"Exact time is relative to your taste and comes with experience. However, you can use this as a guideline:

Best fresh- right out of the fermentor, up to 2-3 months:

Phenolic, estery beers such as hefeweizen, wits, blonds, bitters. Hoppy beers like IPA's, California Common.

Best with a moderate amount of conditioning, at least 2-3 months:

"Clean" beers where malt and hop flavors are balanced. Kolsh, lagers, pale ales, fruit beers, american wheat, browns and reds, cream ale, Bière de Garde, saison

Best with long conditioning, don't even think of cracking one open until after 6 months up to a year;

Malty, complex beers like stouts and porters, barleywine, scotch ale, bocks, wee heavy, strong bitters.

Sours and wild fermentation beers at least a year, but can be blended with younger beers for complexity.

Belgian strongs can be conditioned at high temps 80-90F for a time which speeds the process so they can vary between moderate and long conditioning periods.

Clean beers benefit from long cold conditioning and lagering. Yeasty and malty beers not so much."


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« Last Edit: August 10, 2016, 11:52:01 AM by BrewBama »
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Offline dilluh98

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Re: Aging/conditioning
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2016, 01:45:59 PM »
Like everything, I think the answer is: it depends. But, this is a really good topic that I think everyone can add some input based on experience.

I'd disagree on most moderate gravity porters and stouts - I think both are just fine relatively fresh. Bigger ones of course do better with age.

Almost all AIPA is probably best within 2 months of packaging. This is the best reason to drink them fresh and/or local and/or make your own. Similar feelings on APAs though I don't if they get a little longer in the tooth.

Similar to moderate gravity porters and stouts, I don't see a reason to age moderate gravity saison if you've followed a reasonable fermentation schedule.

I've never let a bitter (strong or ordinary) get beyond a couple of months. Not because I think they peak young but because they are delicious and just don't last long.  :D

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Aging/conditioning
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2016, 01:53:47 PM »
I keg my beers and find most to be best within 3 wks to 2 mos in the keg. Those of course are average gravity beers and hoppy ones too.

Beers that benefit from longer aging usually have a higher OG. Big stouts, old ales, biere de gardes, belgians, etc. These can typically start to be consumed after 2-3 mos in the keg, and will usually get better with time based on the recipe and packaging process.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Aging/conditioning
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2016, 02:03:42 PM »
Another 'it depends.'

I disagree on most porters and stouts, too. My porters and stouts are good at a month. Obviously imperial stout or porter is a different matter. But even a good RIS is good @ 3 months, better with time.

Hoppy American styles are best right away, period - like 2-4 weeks. Sometimes an extra week will benefit an AIPA with a big hop blend, to let the hop flavors meld. The clock is ticking on hop aroma/flavor.

Hefe and wit - as soon as you can carb it up. 2 weeks is great.

Big beers- personal preference. The alcohol obviously mellows with time, but I've had some dangerously good big beers that were fairly young. Drink some, put some back to cellar. 

Most other beers - depends on your ability to cold crash and your decision to fine/not fine. It's silly to follow somebody's guideline anyway. If it's clear enough to suit you and it tastes great, why waste a beer's peak flavor? Drink it up.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Aging/conditioning
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2016, 08:49:05 PM »
Do commercial brewers go months from grain to glass? 


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Offline denny

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Re: Aging/conditioning
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2016, 08:52:44 PM »
Do commercial brewers go months from grain to glass? 


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They'd go broke if they did.  Except for special beers, most are in the 2 week range.
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Offline blair.streit

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Re: Aging/conditioning
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2016, 09:12:37 PM »

Do commercial brewers go months from grain to glass? 


They'd go broke if they did.  Except for special beers, most are in the 2 week range.

I assume you mean 2 weeks to packaged for sale, right?

Of course after that, the commercial brewers have another challenge, which is that their beer is abused by a host of rough treatment as it makes its way from the brewery, through a distributor's warehouse, into a retail establishment and then hopefully into a glass (either from a bottle/can or out of a draft system).

At a homebrew level we typically don't experience the same challenges. Shipping to competition can sometimes mimick the commercial supply chain issues, but on the whole I think commercial brewers would kill to have their beer treated anywhere near as well as most homebrewers treat our own beer.