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Old 02-05-2012, 02:14 AM   #1
ipso
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Default Ale - Warm or cold conditioning best? Full or no psi while conditioning?

(Let’s go with a specific example – say a Celebration Ale Clone - 5gal - all-grain. Make all the assumptions needed.)

7 days in primary
Dry hop
7 more days in primary
Rack to keg
“Condition” 3 weeks
Force carbonate (in refrigerator) for 3 days to ~2.6 v/v

I think full attenuation is pretty much achieved after 14 days, right? - given a “quick” yeast and standard practice. But on the micro/absolute level isn’t attenuation actually a “long-tail” thing, that has “some” micro affect for the entire three weeks? Maybe not. Hence the following questions:

1.) Would there be any noticeable (or even theoretical) differences in taste if the ale was matured in the refrigerator for the three weeks (35 degrees) vs. in the brew room (70 degrees)? (Wouldn’t it just take slightly longer in the cooler temp?)

2.) Would there be any noticeable (or even theoretical) differences in taste if the ale was force carbonated immediately and held constant for the three weeks, say at ~2.6 v/v? (Would any maturation processes vary with pressure? If so is this also temperature dependent?)

3.) Finally, wouldn’t it be more technically correct to say (given the uppermost example) that we’re not “conditioning” the beer for 3 weeks, we’re “maturing” the beer for 3 weeks? We’re “conditioning” the beer in that upper most example for exactly 3 days. (It’s kind of a pedantic-ass call, but nevertheless isn’t it true?)

Ales traditionally condition a cellar temps, right?, which is probably somewhere between the temperature examples given. I wonder which way (cold or room temp) is better for the TASTE of said example.

No worries; just curious - a kind of thought experiment. Any info or clarifications are appreciated.

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Old 02-05-2012, 02:37 AM   #2
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The beer will mature faster the higher the conditioning temperature. On your second point Im not totally sure I got to carb after fermentation but I have a good pipeline build up so I like the extended conditioning time to let me get to bottling (I'm a sucker I keg THEN bottle). For the third point I use the 2 terms interchangeably for the most part though generally i consider warm temperatures to be maturation and cold temperatures to be conditioning.
Celler temperature is mid 50's to low 60's. Cold hurts the taste of beer I think somewhere in the mid 50 is ideal (for me ymmv)

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Old 02-05-2012, 04:51 AM   #3
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I'd age the beer in the brew room for 3 weeks. When you put the beer in the fridge you drop the yeast out of suspension and they go dormant. Aging at room temp will allow the yeast to continue "cleaning" up the beer. Refrigerating will slow that down dramatically.

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Old 09-04-2012, 01:03 AM   #4
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I have 5 kegs and only space for 3 on tap.

I plan to keep the new beer that I kegged today in the closet under the stairs until needed (it is a consistent 75F this time of year).

I purged and pressurized (to 30 psi). The is about 4.5 gallons in the 5 gallon keg.

#1 - was 30 psi a good choice?
#2 - how often should I check the pressure?
#3 - how long should I let it age?

It's an imperialized version of a beglian dubbel (12-13% ABV) and extra hops too.
It was brewed 9 days ago and dropped bright in the fermenter.

Ingredients:
------------
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
1 lbs Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 1 3.4 %
26 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 89.7 %
1 lbs Caramunich I (Weyermann) (51.0 SRM) Grain 3 3.4 %
1 lbs Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.4 %
1.00 oz Magnum [14.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 61.6 IBUs
2.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 15.0 Hop 6 11.7 IBUs
2.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 5.0 Hop 7 7.3 IBUs
1.0 pkg Nottingham Yeast (Lallemand #-) [23.66 m Yeast 8 -
1.0 pkg SafBrew Specialty Ale (DCL/Fermentis #T- Yeast 9 -

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tap 1 - Summer Stout 6.6%
tap 2 - Citra IIPA dry hopped in keg with Australian Summer/Galaxy after being on tap 42 days
tap 3 - air

In the fermenters: Jamil's West Coast Blaster split with T-58 and S-05

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Old 09-04-2012, 05:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
#1 - was 30 psi a good choice?
#2 - how often should I check the pressure?
#3 - how long should I let it age?
1 = Not really. You’ll have no idea what you’re going to get. You need BeerSmith(et al) to tell you how much PSI to use depending on exact grain bill, desired style v/v, and temp. It took me a while to figure this out (doh!) but the PSI calc is equilibrium – so after about 3 days it’s effectively the same as 30 – doesn’t matter. My default is 5 days.

2 = The pressure should be constant for 3+ days. Just one pop will absorb into the beer in minutes.

3 = MANY people get high centered on this one. I think perhaps the universal answer is, “As long as you can.”, or, “Until it tastes good to you.” My default is 4 weeks. (But that’s only because I FINALLY have a decent backlog.)



I’m still puzzled by the question of temp though, but have made some progress. Regarding the 7mo old OP, I purchased a “cellar”: a 7cuft GE freezer off Craigslist for $70, and a $23 Chinese temp controller off eBay. I also found a 5cuft unit as a fermentation control chamber for about the same price. (Same exact models – nice! Except a more expensive Ranco for the second.) I can also use them to crash the primary before kegging. Kind of nifty.

I was influenced by HollisBrewCo and postal_penguin’s responses above and changed my process, but also, more recently, I talked to the owner/brewer of Monkish Brewing (he does all Belgians) who said after the initial day or two of strict temp control he just “let it go” – so my idyllic notion of precise temp control throughout the entire fermentation is debunked, because his beers are extremely “clean” – which is what I thought I would be getting from strict sub 70’s temp control throughout fermentation and maturation. Not so.

My most current process (all ales):
1.) I sit beer out at room temp for 4 hours to get a good start. (~77° this time of year – always in the 70s.)
2.) Then I use fermentation control to keep beer at exactly what recipe calls for, for 7 days. For example, my Celebration Ale clone (per OP) is 62° for 2 days, 64° for two days, then 66° for three days.
3.) I dry hop at day 7. At this point I’ll leave out at room temp to finish for 4 days.
4.) I cold crash at 33° for 3 days, then keg.
5.) I keep my keg backlog in the “cellar” at 38° for 20-50 days … because I can!!

So I now have the means, but one of these days I’m going to do a split batch and F’ING NAIL the Original Post question #1. It irritates me that I still don’t know the answer to that. I’ll keep one keg at 38°, and another at a fluxuating high 70s, for 30 days and see what the taste difference is. There has to be a difference. Neither good nor bad, but there has to be a difference. I’m thinkin’.





My new thing is to get a keg, a bottle, and my clone and do head to head to head of the same beer. I can get some of my clones “better” than the bottle almost all the time now, but almost never as “integrated” as a factory keg.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:48 PM   #6
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There should be a big difference in aging at 35 vs 70. At 35 you would have substantially slowed any processes that are helping in age the beer. I dont think the carbonation is going to make that much difference. You do need to hit it with 30 psi or so to seat the lid and then purge the oxygen. After kegging I like to hook mine up to 30 psi and then shake it. I repeat this 4 times. It doesnt fully carbonate the beer but it gets enough into the liquid that when I do place it in the fridge it is drinkable and only needs a couple days to be fully carbonated.

I have found a variety of homebrews in the back of the pantry I forgot about. Everything from a saison to a pale ale. The pantry is around 70 degrees. With every single one I have found they tasted better aged than when they were new. The saison was about 4 months old. The pale ale did loose a considerable amount of bitterness but there was too much when it was young so it worked out.


If you have the ability to hook up co2 to the kegs in the closet then I would do it. You need to look at a calculator but at 75 you are looking at around 25psi to get to 2 volumes. It is going to be somewhere around 1-4 weeks at this pressure to carbonate the beer. The other option is pressurize to 25-30 and then re pressurize every 3-4 days. It will take longer doing this but you dont have to leave the tank hooked up. The real answer is that you wont know for sure until you put the keg in the fridge and cool it and try it.


Based on the process you describe above it seems that you just stick to a schedule solely based on the number of days. I would really suggest using a hydrometer if you are going to try that. Different strains of yeast and higher alcohol beers can take longer to fully ferment. I personally like to leave everything in the primary for 3-4 weeks and then transfer to a keg and leave at room temp for another 3-4 weeks.


With a dubbel at 12-13 ABV I would want to age it at least 10 weeks. If you try it and it tastes good its ready to go.

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Old 09-07-2012, 02:43 AM   #7
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Thanks for the responses! But I have a confession.... I couldn't stick to the program.
I weighed the keg with a Harbor Freight hanging scale and found that I only had about a gallons left.
I filled a growler, drank a few and put the dubble on tap.

It was in the closet for a week at 75F. I looked at the over pressure graph in How to Brew and it seemed that
30psi was ok. The closet is pretty far from the keezer in the garage so constant CO2 is not a option.
It had dropped from 30 to 20 after a day or two so I carried it out and topped it up again to 30psi.

Now I have two empty kegs again!

One good thing about this was since this tap last had Jamil's Smoked Porter, I felt this was a good time to change the
beer line. Even though it was glass lined tubing I figured that 4-5 months of smoked malt flavor would haunt me.

I try aging a stout soon. Thanks.

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tap 1 - Summer Stout 6.6%
tap 2 - Citra IIPA dry hopped in keg with Australian Summer/Galaxy after being on tap 42 days
tap 3 - air

In the fermenters: Jamil's West Coast Blaster split with T-58 and S-05

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Old 09-07-2012, 08:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silvery37 View Post
There should be a big difference in aging at 35 vs 70. At 35 you would have substantially slowed any processes that are helping in age the beer.
I should qualify what I’m thinking on this; to one and all (per OP.) I’m thinking more along the lines of this:
- Keg A, held at 38° (for however many days it takes to “mature” – let’s say 6 weeks) vs.
- Keg B, held at a fluxuating ~72-79° room temp (for however many days it takes to “mature” – say 3 weeks) – both are the same and have already been in primary for 2 weeks and cold crashed before kegging.

(Note – also – room temp may be 85° one day this time of year – is there any kind of upper limit working against Keg B? – like 172° and mashing – that for chemical/biological reasons you should not exceed? Lots of hunches, but we need specifics on why – like we have now for mashing.)

They are going to take different amounts of time – that’s about the only thing I do “know” from research – but assuming they are both “done” – if there even is such a thing as “done” with maturation – and have both been processed the same and cold crashed, so both have minimal yeast - what other flavor attributes are added or subtracted based on these varying maturation temp scenarios?

I think it is common knowledge that temp is super critical for the first week of fermentation – and you can alter your beer dramatically in this by adding esters and fusel alcohol and such to your beer at this stage that cannot be “reabsorbed” with any amount of aging. But there is little talk about how temp affects beer in the maturation period – other than the simplistic single dimension of “speed”.

----

Then of course the second part of the OP was the same A/B keg comparison but about pressure while maturing. Everyone seems to think that is insignificant to taste – and thus presumably biologically nothing different is going on.
- Keg A, held at 38° (for however many days it takes to “mature” – let’s say 6 weeks) held at 11psi vs.
- Keg B, held at a fluxuating ~72-79° room temp (for however many days it takes to “mature” – say 3 weeks held at 33psi)


(And this post is not to m1k3 or silvery37 specifically, but furthering the OP.) I apologize for being so wordy. I don’t know how else to explain this. Again – I’m not worried at all - just seeking further knowledge Masters Po.

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Old 09-08-2012, 02:34 AM   #9
m1k3
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Maybe what people believe about conditioning has been formed from experience priming bottles.

Many people condition kegs with corn sugar, which must be kept warm.

Then you grow more yeast, and the yeast conditions the beer further.

I have bottled and kegged the same beer and the kegged beer does in fact taste green (stored cold) as compared to the bottled beer. So, I am sure that it did in fact mature faster. But how much is yeast activity vs. temperature?

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tap 1 - Summer Stout 6.6%
tap 2 - Citra IIPA dry hopped in keg with Australian Summer/Galaxy after being on tap 42 days
tap 3 - air

In the fermenters: Jamil's West Coast Blaster split with T-58 and S-05

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