Author Topic: Aging beer  (Read 6752 times)

Online euge

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2010, 11:45:31 AM »
In my opinion, most homebrewers are going to enjoy their beers without extended conditioning times. I usually fill two kegs of the same brew and start drinking at about 25 days. One sits in a stable environment (65F) until I kill the other in the kegerator, which may take ten days up to a month or even longer.

The one that sits waiting is rarely any better.

However, a stout or porter that isn't up to snuff early on can go through some miraculous changes over six months. So there isn't any hard and fast rule. I think a simple rule of thumb is: the stronger and/or darker a beer is then it may benefit from some extended "aging" which is really "conditioning". It isn't something I blindly adhere to. Results for each individual brewer will vary due to personal tastes, perceptions and other factors.





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Offline majorvices

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2010, 06:37:39 AM »
Just thought I'd add, I am now drinking a Doppelbock that I brewed back in winter and it is just now hitting its stride. While I think there is a lot of beer that is pointlessly aged there certainly are some style that require it. This doppelbock is so damn good now I am grinning like a little girl thinking about that other keg still lagering at 32 degrees.  ;D
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Offline bluedog

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2010, 08:40:21 AM »
In my original post I asked about aging beers and meads. I agree that many beers are ready to drink within a few weeks of fermentation. My question should have been directed to the styles that require/benefit from aging -old ales & barleywines, RIS, Belgians strongs, Ofest's & bocks. I think we can agree that all meads except hydromels benefit from some sort of aging whether it be in the bottle or in bulk. I am wondering what is going on during the process. Someone mentioned oxidation - if that's true how does that occur within a sealed bottle or a carboy with a airlock.

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2010, 04:09:16 PM »
Bottle caps are not impervious to o2, neither are carboys. Some oxidation still occurs. On top of that whatever oxidation that happened during transfer will also slowly change the beer.

As far as "what happens" a lot of it is just a melding of chemicals. Bitterness and aromas fade and meld together. Micro particles drop out of suspension. "Micro oxidation" might occur and actually help this blending. Fusels fade into esters and esters fade. In high gravity the "stress" caused during fermentation tends to fade and blend. In low gravity beers there is less stress to the yeast and less off flavors.

In the case of, say, doppelbock the flavors tend to be harsh and clashing when fresh. But as the beer ages the flavors mellow and meld and blend together. The harsh bitterness fades into the background and the malt character shines and comes into the forefront.

As far as a scientific explation deeper than this, I agree that an article would be worthwhile. You will have to forgive us. We simply like to debate stuff like this to excess.  ;)
Keith Y.
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Online euge

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2010, 12:52:47 AM »
I think I read some-where that if it is worth discussing then it is worth over-discussing. :D

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Offline bluesman

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2010, 03:11:43 AM »
During the bottling process oxygen inevitably makes it's way into the bottle and is capped therefore fueling the oxidation process.  This process inherently changes the flavor of the beer over time.  There is also leftover oxygen that is tied up in the beer compounds that can change the flavor of your beer.  This is a comlex mechanism that is not very well understood.  Sounds like a potential doctoral thesis to me.  ;)
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Offline babalu87

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2010, 04:41:54 AM »
As far as a scientific explation deeper than this, I agree that an article would be worthwhile. You will have to forgive us. We simply like to debate stuff like this to excess.  ;)

Oh, now if someone gets all scientific with it , it wont make sense anymore  ???

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Offline pyrite

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2010, 09:12:08 PM »
Bottle caps are not impervious to o2, neither are carboys. Some oxidation still occurs. On top of that whatever oxidation that happened during transfer will also slowly change the beer.

However, if the pressure inside the bottled beer is greater than the surrounding pressure, then the bottle should not intake o2, rather it should diffuse CO2, and there should be no oxidation.  Unless the brewer did not carbonate the bottles correctly, then I really can't see how air will try to force itself into a bottle that ideal has a higher pressure than its surroundings.

I'm not saying, I'm just saying.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2010, 10:44:28 PM »
Bottle caps are not impervious to o2, neither are carboys. Some oxidation still occurs. On top of that whatever oxidation that happened during transfer will also slowly change the beer.

However, if the pressure inside the bottled beer is greater than the surrounding pressure, then the bottle should not intake o2, rather it should diffuse CO2, and there should be no oxidation.  Unless the brewer did not carbonate the bottles correctly, then I really can't see how air will try to force itself into a bottle that ideal has a higher pressure than its surroundings.

I'm not saying, I'm just saying.
I know, it's counter-intuitive that the O2 will force it's way into the bottle and increase the pressure.  But it does.  :)

It is a case of gas/gas osmosis, and O2 can pass into the bottle because there is a higher percentage of O2 in the atmosphere than in the bottle, assuming the membrane is actually O2 permeable.  It doesn't matter what the CO2 pressure is in the bottle, only what the relative O2 pressure is.
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Offline tumarkin

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2010, 04:28:18 AM »
I've thought about writing such an article for a long time, but I can't speak to the science side of things. I'm not a scientist, nor do I play one on tv. I wish beer had been a topic of consideration during science classes in high school - I would have paid a lot more attention in class.

On the other hand, I love vintage beer. One of our Hogtown Brewers club members, Jim Ritchhart, is a vintage beer fanatic. His 'cellar' is a large stairwell closet in his home. He is also a belgian beer fanatic and goes to Belgium at least once a year. He looks for and brings back vintage beer regularly. He has the patience to store them and then, being a generous guy, he holds occasional vintage beer tastings that rival anything held anywhere. I've had the privilege to attend a number of these tastings. The changes big beers can undergo over long periods of time can be truly amazing.

Yes, I said 'can be', it's certainly somewhat of a crap shoot. The better the cellaring conditions (more stable, temp swings bad, cellar temps in mid-50's-60's) the more likely you'll be successful. Best to have multiple examples and drink one once in a while. There can be a point where quality/flavor begins to be negatively impacted. Many of us don't have the patience or a good space for this, but it can be amazing.

If anyone's interested, I'd love to talk about this more, but gotta go now. In the meantime, check out this site....

http://www.brewbasement.com/
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Offline pyrite

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2010, 10:18:42 AM »
Interesting that oxygen will try to permeate its way through the permeable seal of the bottle cap of a beer bottle that is of higher pressure.  I am just really curious to how this works.
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Online euge

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2010, 11:27:16 AM »
Then maybe dipping the cap in sealing wax for a beer one wants to keep for a long time. Or use corks.
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Offline alikocho

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2010, 11:40:56 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.


The process is exactly the same. The only real difference between the two is that aging in bulk ensures greater uniformity that cannot be guaranteed in different bottles from the same batch.

Then maybe dipping the cap in sealing wax for a beer one wants to keep for a long time. Or use corks.

Corks aren't impervious to oxygen either, although the longer the cork's contact surface with the bottle the slower the oxidation, and the wine world will tell you that a cork works by being kept wet to keep the seal (bottles stored on the side). Wax would presumably work well, assuming that you could be sure to get a full seal.
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Offline tumarkin

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #28 on: October 28, 2010, 12:01:55 PM »
Corks aren't impervious to oxygen either, although the longer the cork's contact surface with the bottle the slower the oxidation, and the wine world will tell you that a cork works by being kept wet to keep the seal (bottles stored on the side). Wax would presumably work well, assuming that you could be sure to get a full seal.

That's an interesting point. As you note, the wine world univerally ages wine on its side to keep the cork wet. This is an area of question with vintage beer. You'll find opinions on both sides, but it seems the majority age their beers upright (I agree with this approach). The cork does dry and degrade but over a long period before it is significant.

I've found that beers that are cellared for many years (10+) often (though not always) go flat. This is true for both corked & capped beers. I've seen examples (primarily meads) at competitions that have both a cork and are capped. There are a number of beers and wines that are waxed. Lots of approaches to dealing with the seal and potential oxidation. Oxidation in cellared beers is not necessarily a bad thing. There are positive & negative flavors that are oxidative in nature. That said, keeping oxygen away from the beer is generally a good thing. One big thing to look for in choosing beers to cellar is to go with yeast conditioned beers, and to avoid filtered or force carbonated beers.
Mark Tumarkin
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Aging beer
« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2010, 12:20:19 PM »
Interesting that oxygen will try to permeate its way through the permeable seal of the bottle cap of a beer bottle that is of higher pressure.  I am just really curious to how this works.
See if this helps explain it:
http://www.av8n.com/physics/gas-laws.htm#sec-osmotic-flow

Like I said, it's counter-intuitive, but it's physics :)



 ;D
Tom Schmidlin