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Old 01-22-2010, 04:37 PM   #1
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Default A case against force carbing a keg - Bottling is better - EDITORIAL COMMENTS

IF YOU ARE READING THIS FOR THE FIRST TIME - IT'S AN EDITORIAL - NOT A "FACT" piece. I have already been whipped and beaten!

All kegging is not inferior and it is not what I an inferring. Force carbing FOR HOME BREWERS - I personally feel is inferior.


First I want to say I am NOT trying to diss keggers in anyway. There are many good reason to keg beer but it always seems I hear people passively putting down brewers that bottle their beer because kegging is SO EASY!!

Yea - it IS easy, but at what cost.

So a while back I made some comments about how I have seen very very few, GOOD, all grain (AG) brewers. I was not saying there were not ANY good AGers but it seemed to me that when I tasted a very good homebrew - it was normally from a mini masher (note - I mini mash).

My thought process at the time was that it seemed the goal of most brewers were to go AG and to do it as fast as they can because you somehow get anointed as a better brewer BECAUSE you brew ALL GRAIN. If you brew AG you must know what you are doing which is not really true. SO - my feeling was most people did not know how to brew all grain.

I was wrong.

Now I have another through process.

Flashback to last summer - A friend of mine and I attend a local homebrew fest. We come away thinking - WOW, I can brew so much better then 90% of those guys and they were mostly All Grain people. Their beers all lacked . . something that we could not put our fingers on . . .a certain . . . complexity.

Our thought at the time was lack of talent with All Grain brewers because the best beers were from mini mashers.

BUT WAIT! Perhaps it was NOT the fact that they were brewing AG. It's the kegging!!!

Because AG brewers "normally" make 10 gallon batches they keg. While many mini mashers bottle their 5 gallons.

Flash forward to The Great Taste of the Midwest. What was the hottest beers with the longest lines? The Cask ale's . People were tripping over themselves saying how GREAT naturally carbonated ale is.

So here is my thought. Kegging, where you force carbonate, while fast and easy takes away that fantastic flavor that you get bottling. Bottling is basically like a cask ale, naturally carbonated. Bottling, which some say is a pain in the butt just makes a better tasting beer.

So if you want the best tasting portable beer - you should bottle, if you want convenience and speed, go with kegging. In this respect - more work = better tasting beer.


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Old 01-22-2010, 04:40 PM   #2
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If its just the carbonation, why not just prime the keg like you do a bottle?


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Old 01-22-2010, 04:45 PM   #3
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I have to say that the bottle conditioned ales do have a bit of a leg up. Naturally carbed and changing with age, true bottled conditioned beer, especially homebrew is tough to beat.
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:51 PM   #4
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First, I'll summarize by saying Bu!!sh!t, on many counts.

AG brewers usually keg - unfounded correlation. I know many extract brewers that keg and even more all grain brewers that bottle.


What I THINK you're actually trying to make a case for is beer that is allowed to condition warm. To suggest that this can't be achieved in a keg is pure nonsense.

The truth is, kegged beer is just as good as bottled beer if it is handled the same way. Unfortunately it is often not. Many brewers that keg make the mistake of thinking of it as a shortcut to serving it quicker. This does NOT, however suggest that bottled beer is better.

Force carbonating beer doesn't "take away" any great flavor. What it can do is temporarily introduce a higher level of carbonic acid initially for a few days after it's carbed. Of course this happens in the bottle too but since you're programmed to let it completely carb over a few weeks, you'd never taste it.

The required time for a bottled beer to carbonate also forces a warm conditioning process to occur which you MIGHT skip if you're kegger (though I wouldn't recommend it for many beers).

I've hypothesized that it may be possible that large containers like kegs may have some detriment to beers that depend on aromatics (like smoke beers especially) but I admit having no proof to back it up.

Bottling and kegging both have their place but in my humble opinion, you've made a case for neither of them.
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:51 PM   #5
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I'm confused, your title said "A case against kegging", but you made no case. All you have is observations (and faulty assumptions, as in all grain brewers usually doing 10 gallon batches, and that mini mashers don't keg). Can you give ANY reasons at all to back up your claim?
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:51 PM   #6
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I am with rmullins here. You don't HAVE to force carb when you keg. I do sometimes, and I don't others. A naturally carbonated keg that is put through a beer machine is much closer to a true "Cask Ale" than a bottle. Why? Because that is exactly what a cask is...

So I guess I don't get it. A keg is really just a big bottle. Are you saying that an 8 ox bottle would taste even better? Or similarly, a 32 oz bottle wouldn't be nearly as good? My keg is just a 640 oz bottle. There is nothing that can be done in a bottle that can't be done in a keg.
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
If its just the carbonation, why not just prime the keg like you do a bottle?
Good question. Not being a kegger I don't know, my gut feeling is that because kegging is easier AND faster you can drink faster. maybe a kegger (who is now pissed at me LOL) can answer this. . . . .can you?
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:55 PM   #8
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Bobby_M - I agree with you. ALL kegging is not bad if you can naturally carbonate it. HOWEVER - I would love to see real stats on how often a keg is naturally carbonated.

NOW REMEMBER - people that read this forum are for the most part MUCH better then your average home brewer.

all kegging is not bad but how often does you average home brewer that kegs naturally carb. From my personal experience a kegger will force carb.

Scimmia - stop looking for a fight - I did not say ALL did this and ALL did that - I said many and usually and other vague terms. I go to a home brew fest and 10 all grain people have kegs and 7 mini mashers have bottles so I make an assumption.
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:55 PM   #9
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I need to step away from the interweb before I go all, today.

I think this OP is ridiculous. First, anecdotal evidence that AG as a group are worse brewers is maybe the silliest comment I have ever heard. The majority of very experienced homebrewers IME brew all-grain. The majority of brewers who know a lot about brewing, brew AG. This group makes the best beer I have tasted in the HB world. YMMV, who cares.

If you like conditioned beer, prime you kegs. Whatever floats your boat. Cask ale is different than bottled beer with different carbonation levels and a character all its own. Also, the wow factor of casks is definitely a large part of how popular the exhibit was.

Anyway, the majority of craft brewers force carbonate, and they make some unbelievably complex and remarkably dynamic beers. Sure bottle conditioning or cask conditioning are great, but to say that beers not brewed that way are in some way inferior is ludicrous.

Now I am done and will log off HBT for the day. ciao
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
What I THINK you're actually trying to make a case for is beer that is allowed to condition warm.
I think there is a real point here. I made the same recipe twice. One I forced carbed and started drinking at 2 weeks. The other I added 4 oz of brown sugar and let warm condition and carb for another 3 weeks. The warm conditioned ale was slightly more complex.

But to the original poster, I did both of these in a keg.

Warm conditioning a little bit longer is something I am going to experiment with though.


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