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Old 07-13-2010, 01:34 PM   #1
alcibiades
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Default Commercial "Bottle Conditioned" Beers?

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Bell's Two Hearted are two that come to mind, they claim to be bottle conditioned, but the amount of residual yeast in the bottom is tiny...nothing compared to homebrew bottle conditioned beers. What is the deal?

Note: The belgian bottle conditioned beers are the exception, they have plenty of yeast at the bottom.

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Old 07-13-2010, 02:00 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by alcibiades View Post
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Bell's Two Hearted are two that come to mind, they claim to be bottle conditioned, but the amount of residual yeast in the bottom is tiny...nothing compared to homebrew bottle conditioned beers. What is the deal?

Note: The belgian bottle conditioned beers are the exception, they have plenty of yeast at the bottom.
They are way better at it than most of us.

Belgian beers are re-fermented in the bottles.
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by alcibiades View Post
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Bell's Two Hearted are two that come to mind, they claim to be bottle conditioned, but the amount of residual yeast in the bottom is tiny...nothing compared to homebrew bottle conditioned beers. What is the deal?

Note: The belgian bottle conditioned beers are the exception, they have plenty of yeast at the bottom.
I've heard that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is filtered and then a tiny controlled amount of yeast is added to carb it.
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:34 PM   #4
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Nearly every commercial bottle conditioned beer is filtered or centrifuged and has yeast added back, including the Belgians.

I believe that Belgian beers have more sediment because you are buying them at a year old vs 4 weeks maybe for a Sierra Nevada.

Rogue beers are not bottle conditioned and the unfiltered ones have quite a bit of sediment.

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Old 07-13-2010, 03:30 PM   #5
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Nearly every commercial bottle conditioned beer is filtered or centrifuged and has yeast added back, including the Belgians.

I believe that Belgian beers have more sediment because you are buying them at a year old vs 4 weeks maybe for a Sierra Nevada.
Most Belgians (aside from sours) aren't nearly that old when sold. They simply can't afford to warehouse beer for long periods of time or tie up the fermenters.

Rochefort, for instance, does 7 days in primary (68-73F), 3 days in a cold secondary (48F), and then is bottled and spends 10 days at 73F before being sent out the door for sale. That's 3 weeks from grain to glass if you get it fresh off the truck; obviously shipping time to America and store shelf time add to that.

Most of the other Trappist beers (including Chimay, Westmalle, and Achel) are on fairly similar schedules, maybe up to a week or so longer.

The 2 longest turnarounds for Trappists are Orval and Westvleteren, which are both about 2 months or a hair more.

Orval takes a bit longer (after 4 days in primary and 3 weeks in secondary) because they bottle condition at 58F, which takes 5 weeks or so. That's probably done in part because they use Brett in the bottle.

Westvleteren takes longer because they lager it--it's like 5 days primary, 3 weeks secondary, 4 weeks lagering, and then 10 days in the bottle before being sold.
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:19 PM   #6
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Most Belgians (aside from sours) aren't nearly that old when sold. They simply can't afford to warehouse beer for long periods of time or tie up the fermenters.
I was assuming the person I was responding to lives in North America. Where travel time and poor turnover make the amount of time between which the brewery sold the beer and the retail sale fairly long.
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:22 PM   #7
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I've thought about this and wondered if it has to do with the volume they are bottling. Say they store 7 or 10 or 100 bbls in a bright tank @ 37 degrees or something.. A vast amount of the yeast drops out of suspension, then they rack off the trub and bottle. Seems like it would be pretty darn clean, unfiltered beer.

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Old 07-13-2010, 06:43 PM   #8
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Smuttynose IPA has a healthy amount in the dregs.

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Old 07-13-2010, 07:31 PM   #9
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I've thought about this and wondered if it has to do with the volume they are bottling. Say they store 7 or 10 or 100 bbls in a bright tank @ 37 degrees or something.. A vast amount of the yeast drops out of suspension, then they rack off the trub and bottle. Seems like it would be pretty darn clean, unfiltered beer.
But it is filtered at both of the breweries listed in the OP.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:54 PM   #10
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Bells Oberon is bottle conditioned and Bells uses the same yeast for all of their beers, supposedly. A house yeast, as they say.

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