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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Conditioning Question
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:34 PM   #1
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Default Conditioning Question

Ok.. so, I just bottled and kegged a batch of an APA. Moved everything from the crashed fermenter to the bottling bucket and stirred in the corn sugar.

Transferred 3 G to my 3 G corny keg and bottled the rest in 12 oz bottles.

So, the question comes up.......

Why do you have to condition bottles and not condition the kegs? The comments I always see are that the flavor improves during the conditioning process.. as well as developing the carbonation.

Had I NOT added sugar to the beer in the keg.. would it have turned out worse than if I had added it?

So, the question, I think, boils down to the purpose of conditioning. Is it only for carbonation... or is it for both carbonation and flavor? If for both.. why would we all not want to naturally carbonate the beers vs just hitting the the keg with 'store bought' CO2???

Hope the question makes sense.

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Old 12-01-2012, 09:55 PM   #2
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Ok,as is common on here,terminology gets lost in translation. Carbonation is the act of getting the bubbles into the beer that change hoe we percieve aroma & flavor. Conditioning is different. It's the act of getting the flavors & aromas in the beer to mellow & differentiate each other. Hop flavors change into the aromas & flavors associated with the particulat variety at the # of minutes of their asddition to the boil or dry hop. The malts associated flavors they're noted for become fuller. Furthermore,conditioning takes an average of a week longer than carbonation from my observations thus far. Hope this clarifies things.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:07 PM   #3
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Good question, so do you "keggers" then leave your beers undrunk for a week or two to "condition"?

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Old 12-02-2012, 01:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Rider
Good question, so do you "keggers" then leave your beers undrunk for a week or two to "condition"?
I typically taste a pint every other day until I'm happy with the flavor. On average, I'd say it takes my beers about 2 weeks in the keg before the malt flavors really show through like I prefer. But I go straight from fermenter at 66-68 to a keg, then cold crash it. So 2 weeks from date I put the keg in the fridge. I've even had hop flavor die off half way through week 1 but come back strong as ever during week 3.... It's always a mystery to me, but usually ends up as a pleasant surprise.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:22 AM   #5
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I take a lot of care to make sure my beers are ready to drink when they come out of the fermentor so I don't need to let perfectly drinkable beer sit so it could be better. That means proper pitching rates, pure O2 oxygenation, and tight fermentation temperature control. That means I can package my beer 3-5 days after it hits final gravity, and carbonate it however I want (bottle conditioning or force carbonation in a keg) and drink it as soon as I want. Kegs usually sit for a week if I don't use gelatin just to make 100% sure that the beer is clear, but that's a presentation thing, not for any flavor development since I typically fine my beers.

There are definitely styles I brew that need some age to get great, but that is all done in bulk, typically. My hybrid beers and pseudo-lagers usually get lagered in the keg for a couple months, and big beers and very roasty/dark ones may sit in primary or secondary for a few extra weeks for flavors to meld, but most of what I make are not beers I want to age, APAs, IPAs, ambers, lower gravity dark beers etc etc. Stuff I want to have on tap all the time, basically.

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Old 12-02-2012, 06:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daksin
I take a lot of care to make sure my beers are ready to drink when they come out of the fermentor so I don't need to let perfectly drinkable beer sit so it could be better. That means proper pitching rates, pure O2 oxygenation, and tight fermentation temperature control. That means I can package my beer 3-5 days after it hits final gravity, and carbonate it however I want (bottle conditioning or force carbonation in a keg) and drink it as soon as I want. Kegs usually sit for a week if I don't use gelatin just to make 100% sure that the beer is clear, but that's a presentation thing, not for any flavor development since I typically fine my beers.

There are definitely styles I brew that need some age to get great, but that is all done in bulk, typically. My hybrid beers and pseudo-lagers usually get lagered in the keg for a couple months, and big beers and very roasty/dark ones may sit in primary or secondary for a few extra weeks for flavors to meld, but most of what I make are not beers I want to age, APAs, IPAs, ambers, lower gravity dark beers etc etc. Stuff I want to have on tap all the time, basically.
This is a good point. A good process will yield a better beer, faster. My first fermentation temperature controlled beer is still in the primary, so I'm hoping to have the same results as daksin. Daksin, did you ever have to wait on beers? Or have you maintained the same process from the beginning?
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:57 PM   #7
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Well, the first batch I ever made was an AG wheat that fermented between 85 and 95F. That's a mistake you don't make twice. I had fermentation temperature totally locked down on batch 2. Before I started making starters, my beers were definitely better after a long primary, though. The addition of pure O2 this year hasn't really improved the flavor of my beer (it was great once I started making starters) but it has sped up my fermentations quite a bit.

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Old 12-03-2012, 02:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daksin
Well, the first batch I ever made was an AG wheat that fermented between 85 and 95F. That's a mistake you don't make twice. I had fermentation temperature totally locked down on batch 2. Before I started making starters, my beers were definitely better after a long primary, though. The addition of pure O2 this year hasn't really improved the flavor of my beer (it was great once I started making starters) but it has sped up my fermentations quite a bit.
That's good to know. On the past couple beers I've made starters and am pitching the correct amount of yeast, according to a happy medium of mr malty and beersmiths yeast calculations. I'm about to keg the first beer that went thru primary fermentation in my temp controlled freezer, and I also used pure o2 on that beer. So I'm hoping those 3 recent changes will start to improve the quality of my beers.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:43 PM   #9
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We are certainly getting off topic.. I don't have my question answered.

When we add priming sugar to a bottling bucket and bottle we have to wait for the beer to "condition". Does that simply mean carbonation? I would think that all the "clean-up" would have taken place in the primary/secondary and it is just carbonation.

I've also read about brewers commonly transferring directly from the FV to the keg with no sugar. Some "condition" and most don't... just pressurize long enough to get the proper amount of CO2 and drink.

I've seen the word "condition" used in enough different ways that I'm now truly confused.

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Old 12-03-2012, 05:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HbgBill View Post
We are certainly getting off topic.. I don't have my question answered.

When we add priming sugar to a bottling bucket and bottle we have to wait for the beer to "condition". Does that simply mean carbonation? I would think that all the "clean-up" would have taken place in the primary/secondary and it is just carbonation.

I've also read about brewers commonly transferring directly from the FV to the keg with no sugar. Some "condition" and most don't... just pressurize long enough to get the proper amount of CO2 and drink.

I've seen the word "condition" used in enough different ways that I'm now truly confused.
See my post #2 above...
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