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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Aging my homebrew
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Old 01-24-2010, 07:05 PM   #1
Dan2539
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Default Aging my homebrew

I just brewed a NB bourbon barrel porter kit and I am looking to age it since I have heard this one especially gets better with age. I never really aged any of my beers since they were lighter and more what you would consider a session beer. I just had a few questions related to the aging process of the beer. I have read the post by YURI about aging but still had a few questions about the technique.

I am under the impression that the yeast that were responsible for fermenting the beer are also responsible for cleaning it up further and producing the desirable results of an aged beer. Am I wrong in this assumption? Is it more that it takes time for the flavors of a beer to develop and meld together in a way that doesn't involve the presence of the yeast?

I am going to age this beer in a keg for a little while and then use a beer gun to fill bottles for extended aging. When I get ready to bottle, I was going to cold crash the keg to let the yeast and sediment drop out. Is this what I want to do? Will cold crashing kill the yeast in my beer that are responsible for further developing my beer with time? Will cold crashing also result in yeast that were desirable for conditioning further being left behind?

When I allow the beer to age in the keg, is there a certain pressure I should avoid reaching that will kill the yeast inside my beer? Should my beer remain on gas or just be on gas to achieve the carbonation desired and then disconnected and set aside for aging?

Sorry for all the questions, just not sure if my understanding of aging is correct.

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A word of warning though, unlike Star-San or Idophor, Dijon Mustard is NOT a no-rinse sanitizer. I learned this the hard way, though I have to say the resulting Mustard Porter was pretty snappy. The hops juxtaposed against the horseradish was very nice, though possibly a touch out of the style guidelines.
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Old 01-24-2010, 07:43 PM   #2
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I'm sure you are going to get a lot of absolutely
positive responses on this, but consider these
facts:

1) Budweiser makes its beer in 28 days.
2) BMC filters out the yeast, so there can't
be any big advantage to having the yeast in there
for a long time, at least for their style of beer.
3) Those breweries that don't filter the yeast
at least add a fining agent to get rid of most of
it.
4) Genuine cask conditioned ales are intended to
be served 10 days to 2 weeks after pitching. After
that air gets in the cask and stales them.

The truth is, for every original gravity, combination
of ingredients and yeast, there is going to be some
optimum time for aging after which the beer does not
improve. Think of several forces acting to improve
flavor over time: the graph of flavor goodness goes
up. But simultaneously, there are forces deteriorating
your beer, and the graph of flavor goodness goes down.
At some point at the intersection of the two curves
there is a sweet spot, and what that spot is you
are going to have to determine for your particular
brew. And if you change *anything*, *everything*
changes!
Jim

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Old 01-24-2010, 08:02 PM   #3
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for one, budweiser is a watery lager, not a 1.065 bourbon porter with complex flavors that need to mellow. BMC filters out yeast for perfect clarity and extremely long (years) stability. cask-conditioned ales are not the same as barrel-aging.

BMC can make Bud in 28 days. Honda assembles 34k motorcycles a day worldwide. I don't think you could do 1 / day.

OP, I think you're correct on your assumptions. I'd hit the keg with enough PSI to seal and let it warm age for a few months at 60F

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Old 01-24-2010, 08:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motobrewer View Post
for one, budweiser is a watery lager, not a 1.065 bourbon porter with complex flavors that need to mellow. BMC filters out yeast for perfect clarity and extremely long (years) stability. cask-conditioned ales are not the same as barrel-aging.

BMC can make Bud in 28 days. Honda assembles 34k motorcycles a day worldwide. I don't think you could do 1 / day.

OP, I think you're correct on your assumptions. I'd hit the keg with enough PSI to seal and let it warm age for a few months at 60F
Beers don't have 10,000 small moving parts that have to be
assembled, so what does motorcyle manufacture have to do
with homebrewing? My point was that there is no a-priori
reason for aging, you just have to find out what works
for a particular beer on your own. And even with the same
recipe, it can change if you change the yeast.
Jim
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:04 PM   #5
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Since the last few guys sort of got off track I will also.

you are correct but when cleaning up we're talking about like an extra week or so after the primary fermentation. this is why you should not put your wort into a secondary right after the big fermentation. relax and let the yeast clean up for a week.

Are you going to naturally carb your beer in the keg? Not sure on the reasoning of cold crashing though as I have only seen this with lagars.

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Old 01-25-2010, 02:23 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input guys. Anymore insight from others? What are your aging methods?

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A word of warning though, unlike Star-San or Idophor, Dijon Mustard is NOT a no-rinse sanitizer. I learned this the hard way, though I have to say the resulting Mustard Porter was pretty snappy. The hops juxtaposed against the horseradish was very nice, though possibly a touch out of the style guidelines.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:47 AM   #7
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I would age for a month in a 60 degree + keg, then cold crash for a week, then use the beer gun to fill bottles. Make sure yoiu are using the O2 absorbing bottle caps, not the cheapo's. I used the standard ones on one of my aged ales, and after about 10 months, I started noticing bubbles coming out from under the caps, they had dried out and let all the CO2 out. Flat aged beer sucks! As for everyone else responding to this post, the OP asked for advise, not opinions.

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Old 01-25-2010, 02:48 AM   #8
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When I make a beer that requires aging, like an IPA, this is my process:

1. Primary fermentation for 2 to 3 weeks.

2. Rack from primary to a keg that's been well purged of air/oxygen. No secondary necessary.

3. After racking, close and carb up to say, 15 psi. I do this by shaking and carbing at 30 psi for 10 -20 minutes. The beer is still at basement temperature. I also like to ensure the lid has sealed by giving it that blast of 30 psi gas. Once sealed, it will hold at lower pressures just fine.

4. Age at basement temps, in winter here in MN that's 60 F, up to 68 or so in summer. Aging cold may do good things for lagers but I'm not sure a robust style like IPA or porter in your case benefit from the slow cold aging process.

5. Keep in the keg for as long as you want to age it. I believe aging in bulk is better than aging in the bottle. I suspect but can't defend, that it has something to do with the surface area/volume ratio of the container.

6. With a long enough aging time, you don't need to cold crash the beer to clarify, time will do that for you.

7. Bottle the beer a week or two before you want to drink it. I counterpressure bottle, but there's no reason not to prime and carb if that's what you do. You probably have enough yeast still in suspension even if the beer has cleared to carb it up. Leave the primed and bottle beer in a warm place (70 F or so) to carb for a couple weeks.

8. Once carbed up, chill to serving temperature and enjoy the beer.

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Old 01-25-2010, 02:52 AM   #9
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I've always been told aging an IPA is wasting your flavor/aroma hops. The hops flavor/aroma will deteriorate with time, thus, drinking them sooner rather than later is better.

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Old 01-25-2010, 03:01 AM   #10
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That depends on the IPA style. You're absolutely right for an American IPA that's all about hop character and aroma, but as I didn't make clear and should have, I was thinking of the British style IPA that I make. That style is less about hops and more about malt and bitterness, and aging really helps. After all, these beers were made in the UK and shipped by sailing ship to India, a voyage of a couple months I think.

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