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Old 04-11-2007, 05:45 PM   #1
BrewDey
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Default cold conditioning: bottle vs. fermenter

When cold conditioning (ale or lager), how much better is it to cold store the whole fermenter as opposed to bottling 1st? For my recent lager, I never lagered the 2ndary-I primed and bottled it, and now it's being stored at ~36 degrees.

I've read how a good cold shock helps clearing-can you get the same result by staying at room temp until bottled, then cold storing the bottles? It just doesn't make intuitive sense that it would be OK to cold shock a batch-then prime, bottle, and condition at room temp. It's probably just a result of my habit of never letting a (commercial) beer get warm again once it's been chilled.



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Old 04-11-2007, 06:46 PM   #2
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A number of issues to address here, Dey:

  1. Ales differ from lagers in many ways.
  2. Conditioning time varies depending on the strength of the beer.
  3. In order for bottle carbonation to work, the bottles need to rest within the temp range of the yeast, so that bottle fermentation has a chance to take place.

First off, ales can be bottled directly from primary, but most of the time, those are wheat beers. It's better to clarify most ales in a carboy, for 2 reasons: the aging process is better done in the entire volume - there's more space and more molecules to work out; secondly, if you clarify in bottle, you end up with ALOT of sediment at the bottom of the bottles, which is a pain when pouring.

As for lagers, they can be lagered in bottle, but I suggest only doing so after they've been lagering in carboy for at least a month. The same stuff I said above for ales applies to lagers too.

Now, of course, especially with ales, the higher the gravity of a beer, the longer it needs to age. I still recommend doing alot of it in carboy.

Lastly, if you bottled your lager and immediately dropped the bottles down to 36f, you didn't give them a chance to have a bottle fermentation. They need to sit, in this case, in the mid 50's or higher, so that the lager yeast can eat the priming sugar and thus carbonate your bottles. What I'd do, in your situation, is give each of your bottles a good swirl to rouse the yeast. Put them in a place where the temps are in the 60's. Leave them there for 2 weeks, then open a bottle and see if it's carbonated. If not, swirl the bottles again, give them another week or two, and try again. Once you have carbonated bottles, then you can refrigerate them at 36f or so.


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Old 04-11-2007, 06:57 PM   #3
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Thanks for the help. Actually I did let the primed bottled lager sit at room temp for about a week-then I put them in the fridge and gradually dropped the temp a little every day. I tried one last week, and it was carbonated (but it still tasted pretty rough).
It makes sense that the bigger volume would be better. Does this process (ales), seem legit?:
primary (ferm temp)->secondary (cold stored)->brought to room temp->primed/bottled-bottle conditioned at room temp

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Old 04-11-2007, 07:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewDey
Thanks for the help. Actually I did let the primed bottled lager sit at room temp for about a week-then I put them in the fridge and gradually dropped the temp a little every day. I tried one last week, and it was carbonated (but it still tasted pretty rough).
It makes sense that the bigger volume would be better. Does this process (ales), seem legit?:
primary (ferm temp)->secondary (cold stored)->brought to room temp->primed/bottled-bottle conditioned at room temp
Seems legit, though the cold-conditioning (lagering) in carboy isn't necessary for ales. It certainly doesn't hurt, though. I had extra space in my lagerator, and cold-conditioned a smoked porter for 8 weeks, and it really turned out clean.
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MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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