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Old 05-26-2009, 01:31 PM   #1
dtbritt
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Default Question regarding cold crashing and storage

Hello all,

When I brew, I usually prime a keg with CO2, rack to the keg, pressurize it, and throw it in my fridge to cold crash. I just leave it in there for a few weeks to condition it, occasionally re-pressurize it, and this seems to work well.

However, a friend of mine (ajwillys on homebrewtalk) and I just brewed a batch of barley wine. We're at the point of kegging it as described above, but after crashing it we were intending to bottle it for storage (as a barley wine on tap is a dangerous thing). Our plan was simply to hook it up to the kegarator, and fill the bottles using BierMuncher's suggested bottling approach. Again, we've done this with other beers in the past with no problem.

My concern, however, is how we store the bottles. Because the beer will be cold, our assumption is that we need to keep the bottles chilled for the months or so that we let them sit and age. So my questions for anyone in the know are:

  1. Is this the case? Because the beer is unpasteurized and already cold, do we need to leave it cold for however many months we let the bottles age?
  2. If this IS the case, will keeping the beer chilled keep it from conditioning/aging properly?
  3. Since we're priming the bottles with CO2 prior to filling and capping them, will they be adversely affected by allowing them to warm up some?
  4. Are we going about this in completely the wrong manner? If so, what's a better approach?

Thanks in advance!

Dave (Rex Brews) and Andrew (Simmering Brews)
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Old 05-26-2009, 01:53 PM   #2
Budzu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtbritt View Post
  1. Is this the case? Because the beer is unpasteurized and already cold, do we need to leave it cold for however many months we let the bottles age?
  2. If this IS the case, will keeping the beer chilled keep it from conditioning/aging properly?
  3. Since we're priming the bottles with CO2 prior to filling and capping them, will they be adversely affected by allowing them to warm up some?
  4. Are we going about this in completely the wrong manner? If so, what's a better approach?
1 You don't need to keep it at the chilled temperature. As a matter of fact, the aging process will accelerate at warmer temperatures. The best bet is around 50-55 I'd say. Your carbonation isn't going to be affected once you cap the bottles.

2 It won't keep it from aging properly, but like I said in 1, colder temps make things slow down.

3 Whatever carbonation you have in the beer when you bottle it will stay. Its got nowhere else to go .. Just make sure its super cold when you cap the bottles so that you keep as much carbonation in the solution as is possible.

4 I would consider bottle conditioning your barley wine and letting it age a good bit at cellar temperature. You will probably get more character in the aged beer... I can't say this with confidence though, I've never done any testing of this.

Anyway good luck and cheers!
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Old 05-26-2009, 02:44 PM   #3
ajwillys
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So, the recommendation is to cold crash, keg, carb, bottle, and then warm for bottle conditioning as planned?

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Old 05-26-2009, 08:49 PM   #4
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So, the recommendation is to cold crash, keg, carb, bottle, and then warm for bottle conditioning as planned?
That would be my recommendation IF not carbing in the bottle.

A better plan for that beer would be to cold crash (without CO2), then rack to bottling bucket and carb with corn sugar. Then just age the bottles maybe 2 weeks at room temp, then cellar temps for however many months after that. Make sure you get SOME yeast in the bottling bucket. Cold crashing sometimes packs down quite a bit of yeast. I had one ale that I crashed so hard that it took over a month to carb. But it eventually did.

Cheers!
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