I'm trying to understand what is happening when we condition our beers. We all know lagers must be lagered - that month or three just above freezing really drives off those sulphur compounds and makes the beer "come together". The yeast are not active at these temperatures.
But we also bottle-condition and store other beers at room temperature. We rely on yeast in suspension to consume off-flavors as well as carbonate the beer.
We know that cool cellaring preserves the character of big, malty beers for long periods.
So when is the right time to cold-condition (30's) cellar (50's) or warm-condition (60's)? Does it depend on the beer? Would it be better to give every beer ~2 weeks warm, then cold crash for 2-4 weeks of lagering?
What is the chemistry happening during lagering and aging, and how can we take advantage of it?