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Old 05-08-2012, 01:21 PM   #1
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Default how does natural carbonation affect flavor?

When I add sugar (corn or table) to my wort, I do this to achieve a dryer beer. So, when I add sugar to the fermented beer to carbonate it, am I also drying out the beer? It sure doesn't seem like it.

I was thinking about this as I drank a delicious cream ale that I carbonated with 5 ounces of table sugar, which is about twice as much as I use for most of my other beers. It came out exactly how I wanted, but as I was drinking it, I was wondering about how and if the priming can affect flavor.

Any thoughts?

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Old 05-08-2012, 01:25 PM   #2
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There are 640 ounces in 5 gallons. You added 0.8% of this volume in corn sugar, which ferments to what - 100%? I don't think it could affect the taste at all, really.

The difference in taste with priming sugar vs. force-carbed beer would likely be from having to let the bottles sit for 3 weeks to conditon. I know that it's impossible for any human to let their beer carb in the keg for 3 weeks without drinking some of it.

Not to say that there might not be a difference, but rather it would be impossible to tell because of the other factors at play. More carbonation will affect the taste. Try drinking "fresh" coke and some flat coke. The flat stuff tastes sweeter.

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Old 05-08-2012, 01:37 PM   #3
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Natural carbonation takes longer and on an industrial scale is a logistic PITA. If it truly made no difference, if there weren't any taste difference between forced carbed and naturally carbonated beer, I think more of the technologically advanced brewers would be force carbing everything.

The fact that so many large-scale Belgian and German brewers still use natural carbonation, and so many premium Champagne makers use it, is indicative of a difference in quality.

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Old 05-08-2012, 05:52 PM   #4
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a sub question --

if bottles condition at a higher temperature compared with primary fermentation, should i worry about yeast characteristics being present because of the bottle conditioning at that higher temperature?

for example, wyeast 1056 has banana flavors at higher temperatures. so i ferment in the mid 60s. can i bottle condition at 75-80 or will this give me banana flavors?

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Old 05-08-2012, 06:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by progmac View Post
a sub question --

if bottles condition at a higher temperature compared with primary fermentation, should i worry about yeast characteristics being present because of the bottle conditioning at that higher temperature?

for example, wyeast 1056 has banana flavors at higher temperatures. so i ferment in the mid 60s. can i bottle condition at 75-80 or will this give me banana flavors?
I bottle condition at about the same temps as you, and I've never had any fruitiness show up that wasn't already there during bottling.

I think the ester production is only really a problem with vigorous initial fermentation. With priming sugar, we're talking about such a small amount of fermentables so it's no biggie.
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:47 PM   #6
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Fermentation byproducts are inhibited by high pressure. There is a lager yeast you can ferment at high temperatures if it's under pressure. During bottle conditioning the yeast is generating 2-3 volumes of CO2, and fermenting only a small amount of sugar, so I doubt you'd get any yeast character at all.

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