Author Topic: Beer staling prematurely?  (Read 6152 times)

Offline wingnut

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 236
  • Plainwell MI
    • View Profile
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2010, 05:23:49 PM »
Just a quick update... it looks like the problem is either with the caps or the capper. 

I just capped a batch a few days ago, and I decided to place some balloons over the necks of the capped bottles.  I pulled 12 at random, and 10 of the 12 balloons were inflated slightly.

So... I am blaming a bad capper or bad run of caps on the issues.

   
-- Wingnut - Cheers!

Offline hopaddicted

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
    • View Profile
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2010, 09:04:12 AM »
Well done Sherlock, I can hear the sign of relief through cyberspace. Enjoy!
Primary: Lambic
Secondary: Oktoberfest, German Pilsner, Double IPA,
In Bottles: Lucknow IPA clone, Rough Rider Brown Ale clone,
John Harvard Imperial Stout clone, Hoppy Amber, Witch's Brew (Habanero and Smoked Corn Small Ale), Porter, Dunkleweizen, Dry Stout, Irish Red Ale, American Maple Wheat Ale, Black Wit, Belgian style Wit, Belgian Golden Strong Ale
Kegged: IPA, Saison, Hoppy Brown Ale

Offline gordonstrong

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1355
    • View Profile
    • BJCP
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2010, 10:34:31 AM »
If it's the caps then you should also see lower carbonation on your previous beers showing age problems. Do you see that?

I guess I don't understand what's so hard about syphoning. Put a carboy on a table with the target vessel on the floor, fill a tube with water, hold your thumb over one end, put the other end in the source, hold the thumb end below the open end, then release your thumb. Drain the water into a glass, and then divert to the target when beer starts coming out. Very simple, and it doesn't shake air into anything. If you want to slow the rate, move the two ends of the tube closer to each other. If you want to stop the flow, raise the outflow end higher.

Kegging will certainly help, and will give you more options. Plus it should save you about 2 hours of screwing around. If you subsequently want to bottle from the keg, save yourself some trouble and get a Blichman Beer Gun. Super gadget.

If you are paranoid about oxygen in headspace in your bottle, blow a little CO2 into the bottle before you cap it, or (do as I do) cap on foam. That's how commercial bottling lines work.

Kegs do a better job of keeping air out of your beer than bottles; better seals.  Just be sure you don't have any leaks.  Spray all the joints with a soapy water solution while the keg is under pressure and watch for bubbles.

Definitely store your beer cold if you want to keep it for long periods.  Every 10C difference in temperature doubles the rate of chemical reactions (like oxidation).
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline jalynn2

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2010, 04:11:23 PM »
Gordon's method of siphon starting brings back memories, but I bought a siphon starter about 10 years ago that is much easier: The racking cane has a gasket/washer on the bottom that fits snugly within a tube approximately 1" in diameter. The bigger tube has a flapper valve on the bottom that allows liquid to enter from the bottom, but prevents it from exiting back out. Take the bigger tube with the racking cane fully inserted and put it into your beer. Then pull up on the racking cane which draws liquid into the tube. Push back down again and the liquid is forced through the racking cane and out the siphon tubing. This is one of those inexpensive "wow" gadgets that makes the process much easier.

I did not see anyone mention hot-side aeration in this thread. That can cause rapid oxidation as well. While oxygen is very desirable when wort is cooled and yeast is being added, it is harmful when the wort is hot. So from the initial dough-in until the wort is cooled, be very careful about splashing when adding water, sparging, stirring, etc. If you are using a pump, watch for cavitation: use a valve past the pump output to partially close and slow down the pump flow.

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8131
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2010, 05:05:10 PM »
After breaking too many racking canes, I siphon with a carboy cap, a stainless racking cane, and a sterile air filter.  You just blow through the filter to get the sihpon started, and physics takes care of the rest.  You can push it with CO2 too, very gently of course.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline gordonstrong

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1355
    • View Profile
    • BJCP
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2010, 05:08:21 PM »
I don't use a cane, just a hose.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline tygo

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2622
  • Sterling, VA
    • View Profile
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2010, 08:26:29 PM »
I don't use a cane, just a hose.

Any reason for not using a cane or is that just personal preference?
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline gordonstrong

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1355
    • View Profile
    • BJCP
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2010, 08:54:54 PM »
It's harder to start the syphon the way I do it (filling completely with water) if I use a cane.

I also like the extra control of being able to position the intake of the hose where I want it in the carboy. This lets me get a clearer beer, and often removes the need for a secondary.  Yes, I could do that with a cane, but then I'd also need a clamp.

A cane is rigid, so I can't always turn it the way I want. If I use a hose, I can see where it is in the carboy if I'm racking a dark beer.

It's one more piece of equipment to break, and to clean. Why add another piece when a single hose does what I want?  I know there are solutions to all the limitations I described, but all of those add complexity. I guess I don't see any advantages of using a cane, so I don't.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline wingnut

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 236
  • Plainwell MI
    • View Profile
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2010, 09:47:42 PM »
Thanks Gordon for the advice… and I agree, as siphon is really a simple thing… that is why I was able to come up with a few different ways of siphoning, without much thought.  The “water and thumb method” was not hard, but I was having issues controlling my hose when moving it between the sanitizer and the beer. (I hate it when that happens ) and I was bumping it against things, and possibly creating contamination issues. A change in my setup would have made the “thumb” method easier, but that is when I found the turkey baseter, it seemed easier than rebuilding the shelves.

As for reduced carbonation in my bottles, I was seeing a trend toward “flatter” beer over time.  It never got really flat, but while the initial bottles, just after bottling, would  give a very large head an inch or so and then die down, as the bottles got older, the head would reduce to just a thin (quarter inchish), but persistent layer.  Since I have seen similar effects in older commercial versions, I figured the effect was just age reducing either the head forming components, or a reduction of nucleation sites.  (and it still may be)

What got me thinking along the track of cap seals, however, was when I dumped some beer that was 3 to 5 years old, and their head was definitely more pronounced than the 3 month old versions of what I had on the shelf. They were different batches, but very similar recipies, and while my brewing practices have evolved greatly between batches, I could not think of any process change that should result in a change like what I had seen.  So the balloon test was attempted.

The caps may not be the only issue, but I have a new batch just about ready to bottle, and I have a variety of caps and a new capper.  After capping five bottles of each cap (three different types of caps) with both bottle cappers, I should have a decent batch to figure out if the caps or the capper is the issue. 

I also agree with the cold storage.  I have done some side by side testing of beer aged cold and aged warm (some of the dumpings were left over from that experiment), and the beers aged colder (fridge temps) did not show age nearly as bad as those stored in my 68F basement.

As for the hot side aeration thoughts from Jalynn2… that may be something to consider.  However, the process on the hot side has not changed for me over time, so while I may have hot side issues, they should be consistent over time given a consistent hot-side process.  (In my thinking) It is possible that I have changed something on the cold side, that in conjunction with hot side practices, may result in faster staling, but I would need to read a bit more on the topic to make an informed comments.


Thanks everyone for the help   
-- Wingnut - Cheers!

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8131
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #24 on: August 09, 2010, 12:20:06 AM »
I don't know Gordon, I always had trouble getting the hose deep enough into the carboy, it tends to curve and get stuck on the side.  Do you ferment in something other than carboys? How do you avoid that problem?  I like the racking cane because I can set it to whatever depth I want and it doesn't move, especially with the carboy cap system I'm using.  And it doesn't break, the siphon is easy to start, etc.

I'm not saying anyone needs to change what they're doing, but this is the only way I've tried it that works every time, very simple, no mess, no skill involved.  I had issues with every other way of doing it - the hose method you use which gave me problems, so I switched to a hose with racking cane but I broke at least 2 plastic racking canes before switching to the siphon starter jalynn mentioned - I broke two and another one stopped working before I went with the stainless racking cane.

This may say more about my general spasticity and propensity to break stuff than anything else . . .
Tom Schmidlin

Offline gordonstrong

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1355
    • View Profile
    • BJCP
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2010, 05:32:36 AM »
I usually ferment in 6.5 gal carboys.  No problem getting the hose to the bottom.  I don't coil it tight when I store it, and if it seems curved, I can stretch it out after a quick soak in boiling water.

When I fill the hose with water, I normally have it stretched out anyway in a big U shape.  I fill both ends of the hose at the same time, let the air bubbles come out, and then top off.  That process naturally has the hose stretched long.

When I put the hose in the carboy, I pay attention to the curvature and feed it in that direction. Sometimes you have to twist it a bit to get the other end where you want it, but you can also tilt the carboy to bring the liquid to the intake. That's how I get the last bits, assuming the yeast is tightly packed.

I've also heard that if you play with your hose too much, it can curve in one direction.  Just sayin'  :o

Seriously, people should use whatever works for them. This method always worked for me, and I mentioned it because some people seemed to have problems with syphons and were throwing equipment at the problem that could have been causing other undesirable side-effects.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Online majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *****
  • Posts: 6309
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2010, 05:36:48 AM »
I'm just going to add that I absolutely LOVE my auto-siphon and they work great. I used to use Gordon's method, however. I also want to say it is awesome to see Gordon Strong posting here!  8)
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Offline tygo

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2622
  • Sterling, VA
    • View Profile
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #27 on: August 09, 2010, 06:23:51 AM »
I'm just going to add that I absolutely LOVE my auto-siphon and they work great.

Have you noted what Fred was mentioning with the micro-bubble right at the top of the hose?  After reading that I paid closer attention the last time and noticed the same thing.
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Online majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *****
  • Posts: 6309
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #28 on: August 09, 2010, 06:39:15 AM »
Yeah, and I have seen this debate before. I don't get a micro bubble. I fasten the hose with a gear clamp. I have no problems with beer staling prematurely.

Another thing that works forr me, if you are siphoning off into kegs, is to attach a racking cane on the base of the hose so that you minimize splashing and siphon directly onto the bottom of the keg. Otherwise you will have possible issues with the hose curling. Of course, you could just purge the keg with Co2.
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8683
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2010, 06:54:38 AM »
I'm just going to add that I absolutely LOVE my auto-siphon and they work great. I used to use Gordon's method, however. I also want to say it is awesome to see Gordon Strong posting here!  8)

I also use an auto-siphon and really like the ease of use. I have used Gordon's method for years and switched to the auto-siphon. I also keg and use a Blichmann Beer Gun for bottling which mitigates the potential for beer staling plus it saves alot of time.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Gordon here too.  Welcome to the forum Gordon.  Glad to see you here!
Ron Price