Author Topic: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales  (Read 4275 times)

Big Monk

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Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« on: December 02, 2016, 05:53:08 PM »
So after reviewing many of my materials on Trappist Ales, including a re-read of BLAM, The Great Beers of Belgium and Rajotte's Belgian Ale (among others), I hit upon an application of something I touched upon in a past writeup on bottle spunding.

Here's what we know:

1.) They all bottle condition with either a specific strain for bottling or their primary yeast.

2.) They all carbonate, on average, to > 3 vol/CO2.

3.) While most filter/centrifuge, they are not brilliantly clear.

One of the things that came up when Bryan used bottle spunding on a Helles was the amount of sediment that accumulated in the bottle. We are not talking a crazy amount (a little more than what you typically see in the Trappist examples) but definitely more than what you want in a Helles, which typically would be crystal clear after conditioning.

Bottling straight off the fermenter with extract left on a Trappist ale would be advantageous for a number of reasons:

1.) You will already have primary yeast in suspension with extract left, eliminating the need to add at bottling.

2.) Natural carbonation to the elevated levels seen in commercial examples.

3.) O2 protection from active yeast.

A forced fermentation test would be important in this application to ensure that you transfer into the packaging vessels at the appropriate time.

The math is pretty simple and we have it in the Low O2 spreadsheet under the Packaging section:

First you would identify a target carbonation level. In this example we'll use 3.2 vol/CO2.

Say we brew a Tripel with WY3787 following the Westmalle schedule. We ramp to 68 F after the first 3 days. Our residual carbonation would be:

Residual Carbonation  = 3.0378 - (0.050062 * 68) + (0.00026555 * (68)2) = 0.861 vol/CO2

Kai wrote an article for Braukaiser a while back that had as a portion of it's contents the calculations for using residual extract to carbonate beer. They are as follows:

Each degree Plato of residual extract gives 2 vol/CO2, while each S.G. point of residual extract gives 0.51 vol/CO2.

To determine the carbonation required from residual extract:

Desired Carbonation - Residual Carbonation = 3.2 - 0.861 = 2.34 vol/CO2

Let's say our FFT gives an AA% of 85% and our Original Gravity for the beer was 1.064. We would expect a final gravity on the order of 1.009. So, our transfer gravity would be as follows:

((2.34/0.51)/1000)+1.009 = 1.0135 = 1.013

There are a few assumptions here:

1.) You have saved some thicker 11.2 or 16 oz. euro bottles.

2.) You assume that by bottling off the fermenter that you'll get an even distribution of yeast across all bottles.

Given the second assumption, it would be wise to undershoot your carbonation level for the first few times. Better to know that you have margin through empirical observation than to discover you don't by picking glass and sticky beer off the floor.

« Last Edit: December 02, 2016, 05:55:06 PM by Big Monk »

Offline erockrph

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Re: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2016, 06:33:20 PM »
Interesting idea. Which has me wondering whether spunding in the keg (particularly if you're already using a keg as your primary fermenter) prior to bottling would confer similar advantages to bottle-spunding, with the added advantage of being able to check your carbonation prior to bottling.
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Offline narcout

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Re: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2016, 07:00:55 PM »
Interesting idea. Which has me wondering whether spunding in the keg (particularly if you're already using a keg as your primary fermenter) prior to bottling would confer similar advantages to bottle-spunding, with the added advantage of being able to check your carbonation prior to bottling.

You'd lose the advantage of having active yeast to scavenge any O2 picked up during the transfer from keg to bottle.

That said, I personally am too risk adverse for bottle spunding.
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Offline beersk

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Re: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2016, 07:05:13 PM »
Thanks for posting, Derek. I have the advantage of being able to do this quite easily since I ferment in kegs. I could bottle a couple off at the same time I transfer to spund in the keg.
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Big Monk

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Re: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2016, 07:35:26 PM »
Interesting idea. Which has me wondering whether spunding in the keg (particularly if you're already using a keg as your primary fermenter) prior to bottling would confer similar advantages to bottle-spunding, with the added advantage of being able to check your carbonation prior to bottling.

You'd lose the advantage of having active yeast to scavenge any O2 picked up during the transfer from keg to bottle.

That said, I personally am too risk adverse for bottle spunding.

You obviously have to practice conservatism. There really is no safety concern if you shoot a bit low and use the correct bottles. It's no different than carbing with sugar at the end of the day. Pressure is pressure no matter what the source.

Big Monk

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Re: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2016, 07:35:58 PM »
Thanks for posting, Derek. I have the advantage of being able to do this quite easily since I ferment in kegs. I could bottle a couple off at the same time I transfer to spund in the keg.

For me, as a bottler, it kills all the right birds with one stone.

Big Monk

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Re: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2016, 07:44:16 PM »
For anyone interested, here is a little "Special Edition" Lite version of the spreadsheet made by me specifically for doing Trappist beers:

http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Low-O2-Brewing-v5.3-BLAM-Edition.xlsx

Offline narcout

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Re: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2016, 07:45:10 PM »
Pressure is pressure no matter what the source.

True, but you can be more confident in your FG in you actually ferment to completion.  It's a moot point for me anyway as I really don't bottle anymore.

Have you tried it out yet?
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Re: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2016, 07:46:09 PM »
There's a reason people got away from doing this back in the 30s.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2016, 07:46:36 PM »
It's no different than carbing with sugar at the end of the day. Pressure is pressure no matter what the source.
Not 100% the case unless one knows the recipe like the back of their hand and has brewed it enough times to be confident in the finishing gravity. Heavy bottles sure will help, but still a bit scary IMO. Kegs are good to 120-140psi, a bottle would be much less and vary greatly from style and manufacture.

Big Monk

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Re: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2016, 07:47:06 PM »
Pressure is pressure no matter what the source.

True, but you can be more confident in your FG in you actually ferment to completion.  It's a moot point for me anyway as I really don't bottle anymore.

Have you tried it out yet?

Sadly, no. I've been slammed and haven't brewed in a long time. That will change soon. Bryan tried it on a Helles with good results, although he did it by feel if I remember and over-carbed slightly. That was before I integrated the calcs into the spreadsheet.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2016, 08:03:34 PM by Big Monk »

Big Monk

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Re: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2016, 07:48:16 PM »
It's no different than carbing with sugar at the end of the day. Pressure is pressure no matter what the source.
Not 100% the case unless one knows the recipe like the back of their hand and has brewed it enough times to be confident in the finishing gravity. Heavy bottles sure will help, but still a bit scary IMO. Kegs are good to 120-140psi, a bottle would be much less and vary greatly from style and manufacture.

An FFT will tell you final gravity and conservatism says you undershoot a bit for safety.

Big Monk

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Re: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2016, 07:50:08 PM »
There's a reason people got away from doing this back in the 30s.

All the resources, equipment and information are in place to make this as safe as priming bottles with sugar. You still have to use your best judgement and air on the conservative side, as with anything in life. Thicker euro bottles are rated at around 4 vol/CO2 so there should be no issues.

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2016, 09:39:26 PM »
Wasn't this the typical way to condition a Hefeweizen?

I seem to recall hearing of some British companies bottling this way way back when as well. (Don't quote me on that, I haven't re-checked.)
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Bottle Spunding Trappist Ales
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2016, 11:06:24 PM »
I'd be concerned about 1) potential infections taking the gravity even lower than the FFT and 2) reusing bottles, regardless of what kind, can result in potentially compromised bottles.

Exploding bottles are a scary thought.

If you're that concerned about 02 ingress/damage maybe it's time to invest in kegs?

I assume the problem with regular bottle conditioning is the initial exposure to 02 upon bottling, since the beer isn't actively fermenting.  Is that it?  Sorry, I don't really have the time to get into the weeds of all the posts on 02.
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