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Old 01-14-2013, 02:01 PM   #1
George7
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Default How cold is too cold for storing beer for conditioning?

I've recently finished a batch of homebrew (bottled 2 weeks ago) and it said that once bottled, to store in in a warm place for a few days, then a cool place. It didn't specify a temperature, but I remember a previous kit I'd done defined a cool place as 8-10 degrees C. My house has a conservatory built on, which at this time of year is ideal, as it's rather cool inside, and recently, when the weather has been around 5-10 degrees, it holds fairly steady at around 10-14C in there which is ideal. However, recently there's been a fair drop in temperature to below freezing, and consequently the temperature in the conservatory has dropped (not to below freezing, mind. I'd estimate it's around 5-7C in there at the moment). I'm just wondering if this will effect the beer negatively, as I'm not sure what actually happens during the conditioning period, whether the temperature being too cold hinders it. I've already had a few bottles, all have been pleasant, but I'm still slightly concerned.

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Old 01-14-2013, 02:07 PM   #2
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In order for your beer to carb it needs to be above 70 degrees f for a minimum of three weeks in order for the yeast to consume the priming sugar, once a beer is carbed, it really doesn't matter what temp you store the beer at, as long as it is above freezing. You can cold store it, you can warm store it, or room temp store it, and it really won't matter overall, though it's always a good idea if storing a beer for an extending period of time, like with wine, to store it as cool as possible.

But you don't want to do anything until you know the beer is fully carbed, AND conditioned, because if you store it below the temp where the yeast goes dormant, then it WON'T carb or condition the beer, because the yeast won't be awake.

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Old 01-14-2013, 02:29 PM   #3
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Where does this 70 degrees # come from for bottle conditioning. If the beer fermented at say 64 degrees would in not also condition at the same temp? same yeast, why bring up to 70? Will it not carb up at 64 or will it just take a bit longer?

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Old 01-14-2013, 02:37 PM   #4
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It's carbonated fairly well at the moment as I've had a few small bottles to test. The instructions are below; I actually had to refer to a previous set of instructions for the temperature of a 'cool place', as to be honest, cool could vary from 5-15C quite easily in my own definition, I'd say anything below 5C is 'cold' rather than 'cool'. I wish they'd at least given a rough estimate of temperature for me to work with.

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Old 01-14-2013, 02:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weizenheimer View Post
Where does this 70 degrees # come from for bottle conditioning. If the beer fermented at say 64 degrees would in not also condition at the same temp? same yeast, why bring up to 70? Will it not carb up at 64 or will it just take a bit longer?
It will just take longer. The Three Weeks at 70 just seems to have come from years of observing this phenomenon. BUT it is worth noting that the calculation of 4.5-5 ounces of priming sugar that comes with most kits is based on the carbing calculation of producing between 2 and 2.5 volumes of Co2 (within the average carb range of MOST beer styles if you consult a carbing by style chart) for a beer bottled at 70 degrees. So 70 is considered the base...

If you look at some engineering sources, 70 degrees IS considered the perfect "room temp," for people, regardless of whether we choose to heat or cool our spaces to that level, that's what it is looked at as being. So that's probably why it's considered the baseline for us as well.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weizenheimer View Post
Where does this 70 degrees # come from for bottle conditioning. If the beer fermented at say 64 degrees would in not also condition at the same temp? same yeast, why bring up to 70? Will it not carb up at 64 or will it just take a bit longer?
Original/primary fermentation temperature control will affect taste (phenols and ethers). But the majority of that work by the yeast is done when you go to bottle after 2-3 weeks. Taste profile from the yeast is no longer a major variable. 70F is a good compromise temperature. It's warm enough for the yeast to work quickly and does not affect phenol/esther character because that is already done. But if you condition/prime over 70, you quickly run into the temperature zone which will degrade your beer more rapidly. Less than 70, it's a slower process and may never finish if the yeasties fall asleep from the cold.
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