Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > warm vs. cold conditioning/aging ales in kegs
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:12 AM   #1
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Default warm vs. cold conditioning/aging ales in kegs

I recently switched from bottling to kegging and I am wondering about conditioning/aging. When bottling, I would mix in the bottling sugar, cap and allow the bottles to carb and condition. I usually let bottles sit for at least 2-4 weeks at room temperature before chilling to serve. With kegging, I am now transferring to a keg after 3 weeks in the primary, putting the keg into the kegerator and force carbing for a week or so before serving.
First, let me mention that I brew low to medium gravity ales such as blondes, ambers, and the occassional porter. I have not yet moved to the world of lagers.

Some posts recommended racking to the keg, pressurizing to seal and purge oxygen, and then allowing the beer to sit at fermentation temp. for another couple of weeks for aging (sounds almost like using the keg as a secondary). Then put into fridge, force carb, and serve when carbed.

Others have recommended racking to keg, moving keg to fridge, force carbing and then allowing beer to sit for 3 to 4 weeks before serving (presumably because it takes longer to condition in the cold).

So, what is the best way to go? Do rough/green flavors clear up better with cold or warm conditioning?

Any and all thoughts are greatly appreciated!

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Old 02-16-2009, 02:02 PM   #2
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I'm only in my 3rd beer to keg. I'm trying the CO2 10 psi to seal and store at Ferm temps for 2-3 weeks then carbonate theory. I seem to think this should work faster than ageing at chilled temps.

But I'll probably try the other process on the next batch as summer will be along and aging in house temps would be a disaster as the temps can reach 90+ .

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Old 02-16-2009, 03:03 PM   #3
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A week of cold (OR warm) conditioning isn't anywhere enough for most beers.
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:20 PM   #4
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I too am new to kegging. Just bought 3 kegs. I have them cleaned and rebuilt , basically ready to go. (Cherry not busted yet) As it stands right now. I primary about 3 weeks and 2ndary about the same. Then bottle.

I am planning to 2ndary just to remove the extra yeast sediment. The thought being is to keep yeast sediment out of my kegs.

I have considered doing the old priming thing just so I can have beer carbed at room temp and ready to go. Since I only have three kegs capacity isn't an issue to make me go down that route. (don't like the thought of sediment either)

I know a few people who primary about 3 weeks. Then rack to a keg that has gelatin mixture. It mixes during racking, as it gets chilled and carbed it creates a firm sediment layer in the bottom of the keg.

I plan to just wing it unless somebody presents a good argument for any particular method.
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:50 PM   #5
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I use my cornies as secondary vessels all the time. I also naturally carb the beer in the corny (about half the priming sugar) - hit it with a little CO2 to purge and store it for at least 3-4 weeks. Then I just have to pop it in the kegerator at 10-12psi and get it cool.

Basically, I look at the corny as one GIANT bottle
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Old 02-16-2009, 07:00 PM   #6
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I naturally carb with priming sugar I find that it aleviates the temptation to drink too early, also you use less CO2 this way.
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:33 PM   #7
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so if I am going to leave my brew in the primary for say 4 weeks, as sometimes with ales I don't do a secondary, I just bottle condition/carb 3 t 4 weeks after. With my kegging setup I still need to give the beer the "conditioning" phase after the primary?
Or on pale ales/ambers/ non lagers can you realistically go 4 weeks in primary, force carb in say 3 days and drink,,or would it be way way too green??

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Old 02-16-2009, 09:41 PM   #8
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Don't be a beer pedophile; I don't want to have to report you! JK; you can easily do that, but I would recommend building up your pipe line so you can age a little more.

I primary in keg with a sure screen from northern brewer on the tube, force over to secondary/serving keg which gets rid of a LOT of the sediment, age, chill and carb. First half glass to glass I pull out almost all of the sediment. (Search on fermenting in keg for some related post if interested). Hope this helps!
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:01 PM   #9
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For most of my beers:

3-4 weeks in carboy (may or may not include secondary)

3-4 weeks in keg (basement temperature purged and charged @ 35lbs, but not connected to gas)

1 week (chilled in kegerator and connected @ serving pressure)

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Old 02-16-2009, 10:25 PM   #10
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I don't believe there is any standard answer.

Too many variables come in to play:
  • Starting gravity.
  • IBU's and hop varieties.
  • Specialty grains used.
  • The beer style itself.

I can take a 1040 or less beer from grain to glass inside of 3 weeks. Now...that's generally a light blonde or cream ale with low IBU's and a light grain bill.

I'll also sit on a 1045 pale ale with 15, 10, 5 and 1 minute hop additions along with dry hopping for 3-4 weeks post primary.

I have an IIPA in a keg in the brewshop corner that's been calling my name for nearly 3 months now.

Chilling a beer essentially suspends the conditioning process. Keeping it at room temp allows for continued, albeit minuscule, fermentation to take place.

It all depends on your recipe and your personal preference. However...if your going to err, err on the side of longer-is-better.

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