Bulk Aging? --
I was Curious, about this
In wine making, instead of bottling right away, some people rack it one last(extra) time, and let it sit in the secondary for an extended period of time.
Is there any benefit to doing this with beer? obviously i know it wont carbonate in the secondary like it does in a bottle
if you let it age, say 2 or 3 months
--> Does it hinder/prevent it from carbonating after its bottled? i don't see how it could
--> Does it effect the flavor/freshness in any serious way? Better or Worse?
--> Is there anything else to consider prior to "bulk aging"
I know this might seem like a n00b question for most of you ;) .. but im just starting to brew beer instead of wine(or in addition to) :D
Thanks in advance
bulk aging is often done with bigger beers (like barley wines and imperial stouts and such) and with beers with a lot going on (e.g. an oaked, smoked, chocolate coffee stout). THe aging process allows the beer to "mellow" a bit and have all the flavors and aromas meld a bit better. A little oxidation is also sometimes desired to add some sherry-like flavors.
If you bulk age for a while, especially with a big beer, you might consider adding yeast back in at bottling. I've done this with my barley wines to good success. It is possible (likely?) that you won't have enough healthy yeast remaining in solution if you let it sit for long.
JLem is correct. It's usually more complex or higher alcohol beers. And, of course, lagers....thus the term lagering. Simple ales at average gravities really don't benefit much from aging or conditioning unless you are using a technique like cold crashing or adding finings, at which point you aren't really conditioning the beer anymore. You actually could be doing more harm than good if you let the beer sit too long (for instance 6 months, like you might do with a wine).
As said, certain styles of beers lend themselves to bulk aging. But, other styles definitely do NOT. A hefeweizen, for instance, shouldn't be aged much at all. Hop bitterness and flavors also fade rather quickly so you may not want to age an IPA for a long time. But, according to my reading, that may depend on the hops used.
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