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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Kegging Aging vs. Conditioning Question
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Old 06-18-2008, 06:05 PM   #1
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Default Kegging Aging vs. Conditioning Question

I'm going to start kegging soon, but one part is not clear to me.....

When I bottle, I leave the bottles "conditioning" for 3 weeks on average, and it was my impression that this was for two reasons. 1) carbonation via the priming sugar process and 2) developing the proper beer characteristics (flavor etc).

I've seen where a lot of folks ferment their beer, then seem to force carb and begin drinking right after fermentation.

I realize the force carbing speeds up that process, but what about the development of flavor during the "aging" of the ale? Is this part really not necessary, and the 3 week bottle storage is simply for carbonation?

I'll be brewing a blonde ale and belgium white soon, but I'm not sure if this question should be beer specific or not (i.e. does it matter more for "big" beers).

Thanks!

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Old 06-18-2008, 06:12 PM   #2
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Force carbing eliminates reason 1 for conditioning, letting the beer carb, so you can start drinking it right away; however, you still need to give it time to reach its peak, kegging does not speed this part of the process. I leave my beers to be kegged in primary and secondary a little longer to bulk age, then keg, carb, and serve. The earliest I serve a beer is approximately 2 months from brew day (2 weeks primary, 3-4 weeks secondary, 2 weeks keg). If you're not as concerned about letting your beer reach it's peak, you can force carb and be drinking your beer after a month if you really want to.

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Old 06-18-2008, 06:15 PM   #3
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No the aging process is still important. Especially if your beer fridge is cold, it will arrest the aging process. The colder you go the slower it will go. But shock cooling can aid in sedimentation, etc. The approach I take is I leave them go in cold storage (55 to 60 ish) until they are ready to go on tap. Bulk aging could possibly accelerate the process, I am not sure, but there is still no rushing great beer .

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Old 06-18-2008, 06:25 PM   #4
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Yes, people do force carb & start drinking immediately. Then they complain about the way it tastes.

Carbonation is not conditioning.

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Old 06-18-2008, 07:04 PM   #5
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You can get away with fore carbing wheats early and drinking...but thats about it I'd guess.
For the Oatmeal Stout I just brewed recently I'll leave that in the primary for a month, then secondary for a month, then force carb over a week and serve.

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Old 06-18-2008, 08:55 PM   #6
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OK, thanks guys. I suppose I'll keep my 1 week in the primary, but extend my secondary time from 1 week to 4 weeks or more for aging, then keg/cool/carb, then drink. Sound like a good process?

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Old 06-18-2008, 08:57 PM   #7
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Sounds good, keep in mind that different recipes each has it's own peak of perfection.

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Old 06-18-2008, 09:02 PM   #8
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wheats and light blonde ales you can force carb and serve after as short as 10 days. Other things can sit in a keg chilled low for several weeks and benefit.

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Old 06-19-2008, 12:08 AM   #9
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See, I just try to brew enough so that I leave in primary until it is done fermenting, rack to a keg (for most beers, really cloudy ones with poorly floccing strains I secondary for a couple weeks) and purge the O2 with CO2, then age/condition in the keg until the keg reaches its turn in line when a spot opens in the keezer. Carb for a week or so, and then drink, this process works well for me.

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