Conditioning beer in primary or keg?
To date most of my brews (mostly various ales) follow this fermentation/carbonation schedule: primary for 4 weeks, transfer to keg, set and forget carb to desired level @44F in my keezer for 3 weeks, drink and enjoy. I have no major complaints about this method, but I'm moving to 10 gallon batches from 5g, and I want make sure I am being as efficient as possible with my time.
My questions are:
1) Where does "conditioning" best take place, in the keg or in the primary. The boogie monster of old was leaving the beer on the primary trub too long, but this myth seems to have been dispelled in favor of longer primaries that "clean up" after themselves. Is this "clean up" conditioning? If so, then it seems that leaving the beer on the trub as long as possible (without dying yeast) is the simplest method to clean and condition (assuming clean up and conditioning aren one in the same).
2) If "conditioning" is something that happens off the trub, then I have 2 further questions:
2a) What is happening in the longer primary clean up, and how does this differ from conditioning?
2b) Can conditioning occur during my 3 week set and forget keg carbonation at 44f, or should it occur before carbonation and at a different temp
Great questions. I have been wondering this myself and look forward to replies from others.
let's hope we get some hits:)
To answer your question 2b: it will condition but it will take a lot longer than say at 70*F. I could be wrong but I remember reading somewhere on here that for every 10*C lower your temperature is, yeast activity is halved during the conditioning phase.
1. Conditioning = carbonation. Therefore it cannot take place unless it is in a sealed container. The other part of the question is what is the yeast cake doing. During fermentation, there are basically three steps - yeast propagation, converting sugar to alcohol, and a sort of "cleanup" where the yeast take care of some unwanted by products that may cause off flavors.
2a. Step 3 above.
2b. Yes. That is where it will occur (assuming you add something fermentable). If you force carb, there is no conditioning.
Keen mind that aging is another process. Some beers with complex flavors need time to sort of mellow. Sort of like when several strange ingredients taste fantastic after being baked together...
Someone please correct me if I am wrong above. Something tells me I screwed up somewhere.
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