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Old 02-09-2012, 02:49 PM   #1
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Default Bottling conditioning - does it help to swirl bottles?

So I was thinking about bottle conditioning....

I know that after carbonation the yeasties eat up the esters and other nasties that cause some of the fruity/bitter off flavors in beer.

Well, wouldn't it help the yeast do that if you were to swirl the bottles maybe once a week to rouse up that yeast layer sitting on the bottom of each bottle?

Makes sense to me but I'm just thinking out loud.

Thoughts?

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Old 02-09-2012, 02:53 PM   #2
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I swirl or shake the bottles usually a couple times a week. I think it helps

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Old 02-09-2012, 02:53 PM   #3
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I've really never needed to. And the only time I've ever recommended it is if the temp of the beer has dropped below the yeast's dormancy level, if the bottles got too cold. I've recommended folks get the beer back up to carbing temps and swirl the bottles to re-rouse the yeast.

But any yeast that has fallen during a NORMAL carbonation period, has dropped because they've done their job, not because they've collapsed prematurely or anything.

I honestly believe that yeast don't really need our help to do their jobs.....they do it just fine without us hovering over it, or "helping" them. I don't liked to be interrupted doing my job, and don't want help unless I ask for it. I kinda figure the yeast are pretty much the same way.

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Old 02-09-2012, 02:59 PM   #4
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But any yeast that has fallen during a NORMAL carbonation period, has dropped because they've done their job, not because they've collapsed prematurely or anything.
This is what confuses me. How do yeast stay in suspension during fermentation when gravity is pulling them down? I have a hard time believing that all the yeast just float around in suspension fat and happy and then when the sugar is eaten they just fall out and go dormant? I would think that if they can fall and go dormant at all that many of them fall out of suspension even during active fermentation

I've swirled my fermenter as fermentation has started to taper off and it started back up at a higher rate for awhile.

IF yeast do drop out of suspension after eating up all the sugars then how do they benefit your beer by extended bottle conditioning if they are all just sitting in a white layer on the bottom?
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Old 02-09-2012, 03:18 PM   #5
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They're swimming. It is convection. Yeast don't have flagella, they have buds. But fermentation creates quite a bit of heat so what you see are hot currents rising tothe top, cooling off and sinking back down.


Just because you can't necessarily see it, doesn't mean it's not happening both in your fermenter or in the bottle.
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Old 02-09-2012, 03:23 PM   #6
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Thanks for the explanation. Makes sense. Perhaps in bottle conditioning where there no appreciable heat being generated it takes longer for the yeast to clean up the esters because it takes longer for them to make contact in a less convection active environment. I think swirling the bottles has to help them process these chemicals faster by keeping them all in suspension longer. I just wanted to be sure it wouldn't hurt anything.

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Old 02-09-2012, 06:05 PM   #7
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It's not really helping swirling the bottles during normal conditioning temps. The yeast eat the sugar,absorb any off flavor producers,& settle to the bottom. So you're really just stiring them up after they've absorbed the bad stuff after the sugars. Just leave them be,you really don't need to help them by playing mad scientist. They honestly don't need to be helped to know what to do.
I think one of the other big things noobs need to learn is that WE make the wort,THEY make everything else. As long as we provide the right temps & environment,they need no help from us. We just have to learn to trust the process. It doesn't need constant fumbling at all. It doesn't need us to be involved.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:40 PM   #8
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Can't say I haven't wondered this, though. I have some bottles right now that are about 12 days old and have settled yeast in the bottoms, a decent bit. At least I'm guessing it's mostly yeast although I suppose it could be some trub? It's white and quite noticeable.

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Old 02-09-2012, 06:44 PM   #9
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Mostly yeast dregs after carbonation/conditioning. Maybe some small bit of stuff from chill haze settling out,if there was any from fridge time.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:46 PM   #10
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To the OP; If you swirl the yeast up you'll get cloudy beer. Try an experiment: swirl half a batch of bottles accordoing to whatever schedule makes sense to you. Leave the other half alone. put them in 6pack racks in pairs, and taste them in pairs to see if/when a difference is apparent. Good excuse to brink more beer !!!

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