Author Topic: Aging beer  (Read 6769 times)

Offline bluedog

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Aging beer
« on: July 22, 2010, 08:31:27 AM »
I would like to see an article (maybe Geeks Only) on aging beers/ meads. What I would like to see covered is what is actually happening during bulk aging and bottle aging. How is the product changing and why? Is there a way to predict when the beer/mead will be at peak and when will it begin to degrade? I have asked this before and got responses like - if you don't know what you're doing bulk aging is best, and even it's majic. I am looking for a little more science and a little less fantasy. Maybe someone in the community can submit an article on this subject. Or if there has been one in the past can you direct me toward it. Thanks in advance.

Offline capozzoli

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2010, 01:36:41 PM »
You mean some people age beer on purpose?

I do it through procrastination.

Beer, its whats for dinner.

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2010, 04:00:30 PM »
It would be a good topic if someone could give some valid explanation of why "bulk aging" is really different than "bottle aging". I can think of no real reason why this would be.

IMO, outside of extremely strong beers and sours and such, most homebrewers tend to age their beers needlessly. Fresh beer is usually way, way better than aged beer. That said, there are certainly exceptions.
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Offline babalu87

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2010, 06:24:44 AM »
It would be a good topic if someone could give some valid explanation of why "bulk aging" is really different than "bottle aging". I can think of no real reason why this would be.

IMO, outside of extremely strong beers and sours and such, most homebrewers tend to age their beers needlessly. Fresh beer is usually way, way better than aged beer. That said, there are certainly exceptions.

Just from my experience, big beers using lots of malt (as opposed to say a big Belgian using lots of sugar) have a lot of stuff precipitate out after long secondary agings.
Barleywines, Baltic Porters, Stouts all leave a fair share of dark brown "stuff" at the bottom/sides of a carboy after long term secondary aging at cellar temperatures.

I'd like to see something written showing it as well.................long as it wasnt written by anyone writing the Cascadian articles......................

Jeff

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2010, 07:54:09 AM »
Good point, Jeff!
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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2010, 10:45:23 AM »
Fresh beer is usually way, way better than aged beer. That said, there are certainly exceptions.
I come to conclusion that some period of cold conditioning (4+ weeks) is beneficial to every beer.
I still consider 6 week old beer a fresh beer
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Offline denny

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2010, 11:00:19 AM »
I'd have to take issue with "every beer".  At the very least, I think personal taste plays into it.  I really like my big IPAs much better when I drink them sooner than the 4 weeks you mention.
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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2010, 12:45:47 PM »
Mhhh....
I will correct myself.
Every beer that I brew...
You are right about IPA.

I will never ever make any blanket statement again. ;D
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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2010, 12:54:32 PM »
I will never ever make any blanket statement again. ;D

Having met you, that's even funnier!   ;D
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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2010, 07:14:28 PM »
FTR I don't really consider "4 weeks" really aging. That's conditioning.  ;) That said, most of the beer I brew are ready to go within a 2-4 week conditioning window. Many even sooner.
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Offline rabid_dingo

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2010, 06:12:00 PM »
Where does this play into storing prior to consumption? What I am trying to say or ask that is, is how
does aging play into ones plans for beer? I like brewing well ahead of my consumption rate. That is I
like having a variety of beer on stock, and I brew beer and it does tend to age anywhere from 3-6 months
on some and some of my specialty beers almost a year...You guys don't choose to skip brewing a
particular beer just because it might sit to long, do you?

Some of my beer gets aged even though I did not "plan" to age it. It just happens to sit next to beers that
I may like more and consume faster...All in all storage is key. No O2, most are in a keg on pressure.
Ruben * Colorado :)

Offline The Professor

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2010, 09:19:52 PM »
Where does this play into storing prior to consumption? What I am trying to say or ask that is, is how
does aging play into ones plans for beer? I like brewing well ahead of my consumption rate. That is I
like having a variety of beer on stock, and I brew beer and it does tend to age anywhere from 3-6 months
on some and some of my specialty beers almost a year...You guys don't choose to skip brewing a
particular beer just because it might sit to long, do you?

Some of my beer gets aged even though I did not "plan" to age it. It just happens to sit next to beers that
I may like more and consume faster...All in all storage is key. No O2, most are in a keg on pressure.

It all just boils down to the question:  "Do you like the aging effect?"
The answer will vary from brewer to brewer.  As for me, I always factor aging time ino my beers.

In my situation,  I brew often enough that most of the beer I produce manages to cold age for at least 6-8 weeks;  some are aged in the cold for much longer than that, by design (as long as a year).  I've yet to brew a beer that sits "too long"...with only a few exceptions, cold aging for at least my default period significantly benefits almost every beer I make on a regular basis.  Even the more hop forward ones.

It's true that many homebrewers (and certainly most brewpubs) are in a hurry and not very good...  or maybe not so  well equipped... to plan ahead to factor in adequate aging...but my feeling as far as aging goes is that hundreds of years of tradition can't always be wrong.
AL
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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2010, 06:18:45 AM »
Where does this play into storing prior to consumption? What I am trying to say or ask that is, is how
does aging play into ones plans for beer? I like brewing well ahead of my consumption rate. That is I
like having a variety of beer on stock, and I brew beer and it does tend to age anywhere from 3-6 months
on some and some of my specialty beers almost a year...You guys don't choose to skip brewing a
particular beer just because it might sit to long, do you?

Some of my beer gets aged even though I did not "plan" to age it. It just happens to sit next to beers that
I may like more and consume faster...All in all storage is key. No O2, most are in a keg on pressure.

I store all my beer cold under Co2 pressure except for during the winter I may leave a keg or three out at near cellar temps. The exception is that I have a few high gravity brews that sometimes have to sit around 68-70 degrees for some long stretches it doesn't seem to hurt them any. Some of these are well over 5 years old. I need the keg space but am too lazy to frickin' CPBF them.
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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2010, 06:27:14 AM »

It's true that many homebrewers (and certainly most brewpubs) are in a hurry and not very good...  or maybe not so  well equipped... to plan ahead to factor in adequate aging...but my feeling as far as aging goes is that hundreds of years of tradition can't always be wrong.


It really depends on what you are talking about. Historically many, many beer - perhaps the vast majority even - were brewed to be consumed within weeks, even days. In fact, a lot of beers had to go under very special treatment to survive necessary aging (the original IPA for instance). Beer has been brewed intended to be consumed fresh more than not. I agree that a lot of breweries don;t have the luxury to condition beers properly. We are facing this very same dilemma with small cold storage space at my brewery

I do agree there is a certain amount of craft that comes into play on aging of certain beers, and perhaps the beers many enjoy brewing are designed to withstand several months aging. My only contention with this is that a lot of brewers mistakenly believe that some styles will improve with several months of aging when, in fact, many do not. Especially new brewers who may not have handled the beer properly or who may not have cold storage for beer.
Keith Y.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2010, 07:12:19 AM »
I believe the aging of beer can be effective with specific styles like Barleywine, RIS, Sour Beers, etc...
I prefer to drink my IPA's , APA's and lower gravity ales young but that's me.
Alot of things come into play with this issue.  It depends on the style of beer as well as one's own tastes.
There are also other factors that can come into play when aging beer,  the handling and processing (i.e. oxidation) of beer can adversely affect the long term storage as Keith has indicated.

The long term storage of beer will slowly oxidize at varying rates depending on the storage technique and temp.  Your strong beers (like barleywines, tripels, dark ales) will be their happiest at room temperature (55-60F), most of your standard ales (like bitters, IPAs, dobbelbocks, lambics, stouts, etc) will be at cellar temperature (50-55F) and your lighter beers (like lagers, pilsners, wheat beers, milds, etc) will be at a refrigerated temperature (45-50F). Usually the higher alcohol, the higher temperature and lower alcohol, the lower temperature.

Again, it depends on the beer style and your personal tastes as to the method and duration of storing beer for the long haul.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2010, 06:40:53 AM by bluesman »
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