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Old 11-13-2012, 04:43 PM   #1
Apr 2012
Toronto, CAN
Posts: 377
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What sort of processes are taking place during conditioning? It seems that a 4-8 week conditioning phase is adequate for a lot of brews, but what happens the longer it conditions? Are the changes as drastic as the first couple of months? Is there a sort of bell curve or chart that depicts what the average brew goes through if left over time?

I'm just trying to get a handle on what is taking place here. It's going through changes, but it doesn't seem that all of these changes are at a constant.

Any good reads online?

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Old 11-13-2012, 05:39 PM   #2
Dec 2009
Posts: 1,883
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Excellent questions! Wish I had answers.

The way I think of it, your beer is a living thing. Whether you bottle or keg, or bulk-age prior to bottling or kegging, there are millions of living yeasties in there, gradually metabolizing sugars, proteins, etc. There is a diminishing curve for this process - for example, lots of sugars early, few sugars later. More will happen during the first week than during the seventh. But if you want biochemical details - can't help you there!

I'll be watching this thread in case a PhD chimes in...

"Anything worth doing, is worth doing slowly." ~~ Mae West

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Old 11-13-2012, 05:53 PM   #3
May 2011
, Michigan
Posts: 349
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sub'd as well in case someone drops uber science bombs, lol
Primary 1: EMPTY
Primary 2: EMPTY
Bottled: super-lite
Latium Talk- A site dedicated to discussion of Latium cryptocurrency. 5 free Latium coin with sign up!

~~Updated Jul 08 ~~

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Old 11-13-2012, 09:11 PM   #4
Apr 2012
Toronto, CAN
Posts: 377
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All I've read is that hop bitterness dissipates and more malty characteristics come to the fore over time. But that's pretty general

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Old 11-13-2012, 09:37 PM   #5
TopherM's Avatar
Mar 2011
St. Petersburg, FL
Posts: 3,976
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Primary #1 - Midnight Ryeder (Midnight Wheat and Rye)
Primary #2 - Florida Weiss
Primary #3 - Kane-DOH APA (Honey Citra APA)
Secondary #1 - Downtown Flanders Brown (brewed August 2012)
Keg #1 - Raspberry Florida Weiss
Keg #2 - Cinnamon Raisin Cider
Keg #3 - NONE!
Bottled - NONE!

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Old 11-13-2012, 09:37 PM   #6
Jul 2012
Lancaster, PA
Posts: 849
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I'm not that kind of doctor...

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Old 11-16-2012, 02:47 AM   #7
Oct 2012
Posts: 2

Check this thread out, it might be of some help.

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Old 11-16-2012, 03:28 AM   #8
Oct 2011
Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 154
Liked 8 Times on 7 Posts

Here's what I found from John Palmer's How to Brew.

"The reactions that take place during the conditioning phase are primarily a function of the yeast. The vigorous primary stage is over, the majority of the wort sugars have been converted to alcohol, and a lot of the yeast cells are going dormant - but some are still active.

The Secondary Phase allows for the slow reduction of the remaining fermentables. The yeast have eaten most all of the easily fermentable sugars and now start to turn their attention elsewhere. The yeast start to work on the heavier sugars like maltotriose. Also, the yeast clean up some of the byproducts they produced during the fast-paced primary phase. But this stage has its dark side too.

Under some conditions, the yeast will also consume some of the compounds in the trub. The "fermentation" of these compounds can produce several off-flavors. In addition, the dormant yeast on the bottom of the fermentor begin excreting more amino and fatty acids. Leaving the post-primary beer on the trub and yeast cake for too long (more than about three weeks) will tend to result in soapy flavors becoming evident. Further, after very long times the yeast begin to die and break down - autolysis, which produces yeasty or rubbery/fatty/meaty flavors and aromas. For these reasons, it can be important to get the beer off of the trub and dormant yeast during the conditioning phase.

There has been a lot of controversy within the homebrewing community on the value of racking beers, particularly ales, to secondary fermentors. Many seasoned homebrewers have declared that there is no real taste benefit and that the dangers of contamination and the cost in additional time are not worth what little benefit there may be. While I will agree that for a new brewer's first, low gravity, pale beer that the risks probably outweigh the benefits; I have always argued that through careful transfer, secondary fermentation is beneficial to nearly all beer styles. But for now, I will advise new brewers to only use a single fermentor until they have gained some experience with racking and sanitation.

Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermentor for a total of 2-3 weeks (instead of just the one week most canned kits recommend), will provide time for the conditioning reactions and improve the beer. This extra time will also let more sediment settle out before bottling, resulting in a clearer beer and easier pouring. And, three weeks in the primary fermentor is usually not enough time for off-flavors to occur."

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