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BNVince 10-29-2007 01:13 PM

Bulk Condition Or Bottle Condition
 
I just racked a big stout I did after 7 days in the primary. It had an O.G. of 1.082 and after 2 hellish days of cleaning out the airlock it had dropped to 1.020.

I was reading some other threads here and saw that some people bulk conditioned their stouts anywhere from 1-3 months. The issue for them was that they had to add more yeast when bottling since most of the yeast became inactive during the bulk conditioning.

Since I don't want to add more yeast, I was planning on bulk conditioning for 2-4 weeks and then bottling with priming sugar as usual. So basically my question is, are there any advantages to bulk conditioning over bottle conditioning?

Funkenjaeger 10-29-2007 01:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BNVince
I just racked a big stout I did after 7 days in the primary. It had an O.G. of 1.082 and after 2 hellish days of cleaning out the airlock it had dropped to 1.020.

I think it's safe to say that for a 1.082 OG beer, you should definitely have been using a blowoff tube until it calmed down enough for an airlock.

With that said, I don't have an answer for your actual question, but I've been wondering the same thing, so I'm gonna go ahead and subscribe :p

landhoney 10-29-2007 03:09 PM

I'd like to do a side by side test soon, not sure if anyone has done one. Basically, bottle half the batch, wait one month then bottle the rest, wait another month and then compare the two bottles( both same age, one in bottle 1 month and the other in bottle 2 months).

So far I have not noticed a difference, except that the bulk aged seem to carb slower(expected). I like bottle aging because it seems to carb quicker(maybe better) which makes me feel better and while carboy space is not a problem its easier for me to put bottles away and 'forget' about them for a while to age properly.

beerdad 10-29-2007 03:42 PM

I would think bulk would be better because when everything settles you can rack and leave the gunk behind. If you condition in bottles it will still be in the bottom of the bottle. Just a newb opinion I'm not sure how accurate that is.

BNVince 10-29-2007 03:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beerdad
I would think bulk would be better because when everything settles you can rack and leave the gunk behind. If you condition in bottles it will still be in the bottom of the bottle. Just a newb opinion I'm not sure how accurate that is.

I was thinking the same thing but when I made my American Pale Ale I thought differently.

After 8 days in the primary and 8 days in the secondary a lot of trub and yeast had fallen out to the bottom. The secondary had a good 1 inch of trub at the bottom. Once I bottled the beer and let it condition for 5 weeks, there was very little sediment in the bottom of the bottles.

So I think their comes a time when everything that is going to fall out of suspension has fallen out of suspension or at least the majority of it has. This is why I don't see any real value to bulk conditioning for a very long time. But of course, I could be wrong.

FlyGuy 10-29-2007 06:25 PM

I now bulk condition any high gravity brews and/or dark ales (e.g., stouts, porters) for 2 - 6 months in the secondary. I have tried it both ways, and the beer matures faster and tastes better when left on the yeast in the secondary. I suspect that when you bottle condition, the beer doesn't clean up or mature as well because you have left most of the yeast behind in the secondary. I have really noticed the improvement in beers that didn't ferment well and developed off-flavours, like phenols or fusels -- a couple/few months of bulk conditioning cleaned them right up, whereas bottle conditioning didn't do as well.

The only disadvantage to bulk conditioning is that you may need to add a bit of yeast to the bottling bucket to ensure carbonation. Cheap, neutral dry yeast works well for this (just be sure to rehydrate first).

BNVince 10-29-2007 07:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlyGuy
The only disadvantage to bulk conditioning is that you may need to add a bit of yeast to the bottling bucket to ensure carbonation. Cheap, neutral dry yeast works well for this (just be sure to rehydrate first).

Interesting. Well I was hoping to have a few of my brews around Christmas so that would give me around 2 months of conditioning. I may try and go one month bulk one month bottle. What is a good neutral yeast to use in the bottling bucket?

Also, and this may be a dumb question, what about siphoning off a tiny bit of the yeast that is left over in the secondary to go in to the bottling bucket? Isn't that what you would essentially have in the bottles if you didn't bulk condition for such a long time?

FlyGuy 10-29-2007 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BNVince
Interesting. Well I was hoping to have a few of my brews around Christmas so that would give me around 2 months of conditioning. I may try and go one month bulk one month bottle. What is a good neutral yeast to use in the bottling bucket?

I recommend Nottingham, Safale US-05, and Coopers dry yeast. But almost any dry yeast will work fine.

Quote:

Also, and this may be a dumb question, what about siphoning off a tiny bit of the yeast that is left over in the secondary to go in to the bottling bucket? Isn't that what you would essentially have in the bottles if you didn't bulk condition for such a long time?
Not a dumb question at all -- this idea has actually generated some debate in past threads. Some people swear it works, but I haven't been so lucky. It may be recipe dependent - the higher the gravity the poorer condition those yeast will be in, particularly if you have been aging for a long time. If the yeast isn't up to the task, you can transfer a considerable amount into the bottling bucket, but still not see proper carbonation. So while this may work for some, your own mileage may vary with this method.

landhoney 10-29-2007 09:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlyGuy
I now bulk condition any high gravity brews and/or dark ales (e.g., stouts, porters) for 2 - 6 months in the secondary. I have tried it both ways, and the beer matures faster and tastes better when left on the yeast in the secondary. I suspect that when you bottle condition, the beer doesn't clean up or mature as well because you have left most of the yeast behind in the secondary. I have really noticed the improvement in beers that didn't ferment well and developed off-flavours, like phenols or fusels -- a couple/few months of bulk conditioning cleaned them right up, whereas bottle conditioning didn't do as well.

I think ~2 months is my minimum for my 'robust' beers. Well, assuming its cleaned up and you don't have any flaws in the beer, do you still think it matures faster in bulk?

El_Borracho 10-29-2007 10:23 PM

Damn, I love stouts and porters... I think I'm going to need to make a **** load of Wheat/Hefe's so I can wait all that time for my beer to get good...


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