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Old 02-11-2013, 07:39 PM   #1
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Default Cold Conditioning Belgians

Does anybody cold crash their Belgian ales. I was thinking about leaving a tripel in the primary for a month then racking to a secondary and cold condition at 40 degrees for a couple weeks then keg. Should I have an intermediate step like secondary at room temp for two months then cold crash a couple of days to settle the yeast out? And would cold crashing reduce the yeast flavor?

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Old 02-11-2013, 07:44 PM   #2
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With ales there really is not such thing as "cold conditioning." Conditioning relies on yeast activity to a great extent. Ale yeast operates in a pretty warm temp range from the low 50's to the 90's (for some yeasts like Saison.) When you get cooler than a yeasts lowest temps, the yeast, quite frankly, goes to sleep.....if you're asleep do you accomplish anything? Neither do the yeasts. They go dormant, and the beer doesn't "condition." In fact it just sits there, and ages with little or no change.

All cooling off ale yeast does is let it fall out of suspension...we cold crash to CLEAR our beers. But the flavors don't get altered...just that the beer gets less yeasty tasting...

Lagering is cold conditioning, and that obviously is with a lager yeast....that is active in cold conditions.

What are you trying to accomplish with your beer? If you want the flavors to come together, then leave the beer at room temps til you're happy with the flavor.

If you're just looking to cold crash, then once it's crashed then there's no "conditioning" being done. The yeast will be dormant and nothing will be hapenning. Just crash it for a couple days and keg it. or leave it warm for a few weeks the crash it, or rack it to a keg, leave it at room for a couple weeks, then drop it in the keezer and leave it to crash while it's carbing.

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Old 02-11-2013, 07:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtp137 View Post
Does anybody cold crash their Belgian ales. I was thinking about leaving a tripel in the primary for a month then racking to a secondary and cold condition at 40 degrees for a couple weeks then keg. Should I have an intermediate step like secondary at room temp for two months then cold crash a couple of days to settle the yeast out? And would cold crashing reduce the yeast flavor?
I have had good luck doing what you described. I don't see any utility to leaving it warm in secondary. If fermentation is done, transfer it to lager for a while. This seems to facilitate clearing the beer. I think that's due to the agitation of the yeast more than anything, banging them together like velcro.

The cold seems to help improve rather than degrade the flavor, but to a point. At some point, the beer is no longer aging or lagering. Its just old.

For something big, with good fermentation, I think you could finish primary in 2-3 weeks, lager for a 2-4 weeks, bottle condition for 2 weeks.
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:01 PM   #4
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Beers will change at temperatures too low for yeast activity, so I'd assume the process isn't yeast dependant. Lots of bigger beers and belgian style ales need a period of cool conditioning after bottle conditioning before they are ready to serve.

Lagering takes place near freezing or at least below temps at which any yeast is active. Some beers, like Duvel are fermented fairly warm, then lagered, then bottle conditioned warm, and then finally cellared at a cool temp before leaving the brewery.

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Old 02-11-2013, 10:33 PM   #5
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Beers will change at temperatures too low for yeast activity, so I'd assume the process isn't yeast dependant. Lots of bigger beers and belgian style ales need a period of cool conditioning after bottle conditioning before they are ready to serve.

Lagering takes place near freezing or at least below temps at which any yeast is active. Some beers, like Duvel are fermented fairly warm, then lagered, then bottle conditioned warm, and then finally cellared at a cool temp before leaving the brewery.
The Duvel example is rather interesting. Because of the decreased turn around time, I have a hard time believing that a modern brewery would engage in such a time intensive process if it didn't materially affect the outcome positively.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:46 AM   #6
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The Duvel example is rather interesting. Because of the decreased turn around time, I have a hard time believing that a modern brewery would engage in such a time intensive process if it didn't materially affect the outcome positively.
If them big words mean cellaring makes the beer better, the you is right.
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