Author Topic: Needs to Breathe?  (Read 885 times)

Offline theoman

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Needs to Breathe?
« on: July 31, 2011, 11:51:49 AM »
I cracked my latest homebrew today after being in the bottle for 2 weeks. The aroma was fantastic (cascade dry-hopped), but the flavor was disappointing. I expected a light-bodied beer, but if finished short and watery. After a few minutes, the aroma mellowed and the beer tasted fantastic, with the flavors I originally expected from start to a rather long finish. I know beers change a bit after being opened with exposure to oxygen and temperature changes and all, but this was significant change. I've noticed this before with other homebrews and not just my own. I've also noticed that the need to breathe diminishes as the beer ages in the bottle. Anybody know what's going on?

Offline tom

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Re: Needs to Breathe?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2011, 01:04:38 PM »
The flavors are more noticeable as it warms up.
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Offline Wheat_Brewer

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Re: Needs to Breathe?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2011, 04:09:25 PM »
I would also throw out there that being in the bottle for two weeks is definitely enough for most beers to carbonate, but maybe not integrate the flavors.  While you might lose some of the hop aroma, compare the beer in say a month, 2 months, 3 months, etc.  I bet you'll find the flavors integrate a little more and you get the flavors right up front rather than after it warms up...just a suggestion. 
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Needs to Breathe?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2011, 05:01:12 AM »
+1 ... most of the problems I've had with body/flavor have been to do with insufficient carbonation. Try it in another four weeks.
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Offline theoman

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Re: Needs to Breathe?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2011, 06:34:08 AM »
It's not really insufficient carbonation if the flavors come together after being exposed to air for a few minutes, is it? I don't consider it a problem. I'm just wondering if somebody can explain what's going on technically and why it seems to be only homebrews. Thinking back, it might even be more prevalent with high pilsner malt beers, but that could also be my imagination.

Offline 1vertical

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Re: Needs to Breathe?
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2011, 07:07:28 AM »
IMO, this may be as good for cognac as it is for beer....IMO...
http://www.1stcru.com/singlevineyardcognac/CognacTasting.htm
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Offline richardt

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Re: Needs to Breathe?
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2011, 07:35:14 AM »
cold temps and CO2 scrubbing (carbonic acid bite) can really hide or mask flavors.

Let the beer warm and de-gas a little--it should let the flavors shine better.

Offline Kit B

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Re: Needs to Breathe?
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2011, 10:28:01 AM »
You are pouring into a glass, right?
What's the serving temperature?
A very cold beer doesn't act the same as a 'cool' beer, from the same batch.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2011, 10:29:32 AM by Kit B »
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Offline theoman

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Re: Needs to Breathe?
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2011, 11:24:35 AM »
cold temps and CO2 scrubbing (carbonic acid bite) can really hide or mask flavors.

Let the beer warm and de-gas a little--it should let the flavors shine better.

Thank you! That's more like the answer I was looking for. Still I wonder, why does it seem to affect homebrews more? Is that just my imagination? I supposed I can test this. Also, what happens to this carbonic acid over time while still in the bottle, since the flavors seem to come together with a bit more aging? Again, is it my imagination?

Offline theoman

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Re: Needs to Breathe?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2011, 11:31:58 AM »
You are pouring into a glass, right?

Jeez, what do you think I am?  ;)
What's the serving temperature?
A very cold beer doesn't act the same as a 'cool' beer, from the same batch.

Hm, I'm not exactly sure, but it's not overly cold. Our fridge would definitely not be considered very cold.

Offline richardt

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Re: Needs to Breathe?
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2011, 12:35:55 PM »
cold temps and CO2 scrubbing (carbonic acid bite) can really hide or mask flavors.

Let the beer warm and de-gas a little--it should let the flavors shine better.

Thank you! That's more like the answer I was looking for. Still I wonder, why does it seem to affect homebrews more? Is that just my imagination? I supposed I can test this. Also, what happens to this carbonic acid over time while still in the bottle, since the flavors seem to come together with a bit more aging? Again, is it my imagination?

From Wiki:  Carbon dioxide is soluble in water, in which it spontaneously interconverts between CO2 and H2CO3 (carbonic acid). The relative concentrations of CO2, H2CO3, and the deprotonated forms HCO−3 (bicarbonate) and CO2−3(carbonate) depend on the pH. In neutral or slightly alkaline water (pH > 6.5), the bicarbonate form predominates (>50%) becoming the most prevalent (>95%) at the pH of seawater, while in very alkaline water (pH > 10.4) the predominant (>50%) form is carbonate. The bicarbonate and carbonate forms are very soluble, such that air-equilibrated ocean water (mildly alkaline with typical pH = 8.2 – 8.5) contains about 120 mg of bicarbonate per liter.

Beer is acidic, so as the CO2 de-gases from your opened beer, the carbonic acid levels will decrease.  There is practically no bicarbonate or carbonate at that pH, either.  If you're drinking a cold, just opened over-carbonated beer, then your mouth and tounge serve as nucleation sites--practically scrubbing any flavor or aroma molecules off of your tongue and the CO2 gas has its own "acidic" aroma--sort of blocks your ability to sense delicate aromas.