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Old 01-18-2014, 12:56 AM   #1
StLouBrew
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Default Keg Conditioning.. and I don't mean carbonation

I've read some threads here that touch on this, but not really dwell on it, so here goes.

I'm a brand new kegger. Kegged my first batch last weekend. It had been 4 weeks since it was brewed and FG was in range. I kegged it, chilled it overnight, and force/burst carbed it. Waited a couple of days and sampled it.

Carbonation level was spot on. Taste.. not so much. I'm sure it just needs time. And now that it's in the fridge is the time to "condition" going to take longer?

I've got a another batch (SNPA clone) that should be done dry hopping and ready to keg this weekend. I'm debating whether I'll get to a drinkable beer sooner if I just add priming sugar to the keg, fill the head space with CO2 and let it carb and condition at room temp, vs. putting it in the fridge and either doing a "set it and forget it" or force carb?

I know you can't rush these things, but what's likely to get me a drinkable product sooner?

Cheers



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Old 01-18-2014, 02:18 AM   #2
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After discussing this issue with a member of my homebrew club who now a pro-brewer, I condition all of my beers for at least 15 days. At his brewery, which is major craft brewery, they condition almost everything for 16 to 20 days. You will definitely notice as you start making you way through the keg that flavors change significantly.

I drop my kegerator down to about 33 degrees while I am conditioning. Having said all of that, my conditioning time is arbitrary. Conditioning shorter, longer and at different temps my be better or worse.



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Old 01-18-2014, 08:29 PM   #3
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Is it the first time you made that recipe?

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Old 01-19-2014, 04:28 AM   #4
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A 2-3 weeks of sitting in the keezer after it's kegged has made a noticeable improvement in most of my brews. That's why I don't normally bother burst carbing.

Just leave it hooked up to service pressure (10-12psi) a couple of weeks. The beer will then be nicely carbed and conditioned too.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:46 AM   #5
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Not that my way is right, but this is how I do it.
I add priming sugar to my kegs and leave them to naturally carb for 3 weeks.
Then I move them into my kegerator and connect to Co2 for another 1 to 2 weeks at 12PSI. My pipeline is large though (my kegerator holds 100 -125 gallons and currently has 6 taps) so once I got past the first few batches I didn't have to be as patient.
The beer is usually awesome for flavor and carbonation.
I also serve at 40* though. This temperature is what I believe adds so much more to the flavor than 33*-34*.

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Old 01-19-2014, 06:51 PM   #6
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I let kegs sit at cellar temps (50-60) as long as I can stand it. Anywhere from 2 weeks to months. Then I put them in the keezer and let them carb for 2-3 weeks. I still try not to touch them for a couple weeks (never really happens). At this point they've been kegged for a month minimum. I find this really helps with flavor. We don't make any hop bombs, so we have no reason to drink them young. Let those babies mature.

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Old 01-19-2014, 08:34 PM   #7
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I agree serving around 40 degrees is best. However, I think conditioning as close to freezing as possible gives a better end product.

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Old 01-20-2014, 04:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeBrew2 View Post
Is it the first time you made that recipe?
For the SNPA I referred to, this is the first time I've made it. I kegged it this weekend and tasted a sample just before kegging and I was very pleased. Right now I just have the keg stored at 68F. Gonna keep it there a week or two and then get it on tap and see how it really turns out. Recipe for it is:

1/2# Crystal 30L
1/2# Carapils

Drop the grains into pot at room temp. Bring to 150deg. and hold for 20min. Then bring to 170deg. and remove the grains. Liberal "dunking" throughout the process.

Remove from heat and add/stir:

6# Light LME

Bring to boil. 60min boil time.

Hop Schedule:
1oz Perle at 50min remaining
1oz Cascade at 15min remaining
1oz Cascade at flame-out, steeped for 3min

Pitch Wyeast 1056.

Rack to secondary and dry-hop with:
1oz Cascade


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