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Old 10-30-2013, 06:20 AM   #1
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No, not the people who say kegging is SOOO much easier than bottling. I have encountered a new form of elitist. In the last sixth months I have had two seperate people knock my beers as tasting bottle conditioned. One was a blonde ale with an off flavor (something with the fermenter I believe) that a guy said was cidery from priming with corn sugar.

The second was last weekend. I took some Oktoberfest to the new lhbs because I know the owner. It was my first all grain batch and it was a little light on the maltiness. So 4 people are tasting it and one asks me how old it is. I inform him it has only been in the bottle 3 weeks so it might be a tad green (I don't think it was) and he says "ah, that's what I am tasting, this is a bottle conditioned beer!" It was not a flattering tone either.

So I throw myself onto the wisdom of hbt. Is there actually a taste one could pick up on bottled beer that is not desirable and isn't found in kegged beer? Or are these guys taking keg snob to new levels?

Disclaimer: I totally want to start kegging and don't want to sound like I am against it.

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Old 10-30-2013, 07:38 AM   #2
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Some of the most expensive beers in the world are bottle condition. Such as Chimay

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Old 10-30-2013, 07:43 AM   #3
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Not just most expensive but best beers in the world, st bernadus abt 12. It does get kegged as well but I've only ever had from a bottle and its damn delicious.
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:05 AM   #4
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I thought corn sugar didnt impart any flavors. Isn't it table sugar that is supposed to leave the cider taste?
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:52 AM   #5
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I, personally, can taste a difference. Or maybe not taste it so much as feel it. I find it highly unlikely that all the sugar you use to prime gets eaten by the yeast, so there has to be some change to the profile of the beer, no matter how slight. Of course, I think it is more pronounced with lighter and/or hop-forward beer.

I bottle and keg, my malt-forward beers always taste best out of a bottle, like stouts and porters, etc. I prefer my IPA's to be kegged.

YMMV, everyone is different, this is just my opinion.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:03 AM   #6
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I've been thinking about this and sorry for slight thread derail, but is there yeast sediment when you keg? What about when bottling from a keg? Do you have to cold crash to not get sediment, or does that only come when you bottle condition, from the activity of yeast eating the priming sugar?
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:10 AM   #7
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I suspect the people criticizing your beers were idiots. Bottle conditioning itself wouldn't cause cider-like flavors; you just aren't using enough corn sugar in priming to do that. It may be that the bottle had a mild infection, but that isn't an indictment of bottle conditioning itself. As for your Oktoberfest, it sounds like the guy just wanted to say something critical, but wasn't educated enough about the style or subtle, malt-forward beers in general to make a constructive criticism. He wasn't tasting anything; he just wanted to hear his own voice.

As some commenters above have noted, some of the world's best beer is bottle conditioned. I prefer to keg simply because I don't have the patience for bottling, and my wife doesn't like having all the bottles around. Plus I use a nitrogen-CO2 blend to serve my beer, which does impact the product in a way that I really like. It is simply a personal preference.

To bzwyatt: yes, there is sediment when you keg. Cold crashing will reduce that, of course. You shouldn't get much sediment if you bottle from the keg, but over time there will be a little. The only way to completely eliminate that is to filter your beer.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:12 PM   #8
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I have never noticed cidery flavors from bottling. The < 5 oz of sugar is not enough to be noticeable in a batch. The only flavors I have noticed that are contributed by bottling would be due to stirring up more yeast due to transporting.

As for kegs, you can get off flavors from them as well.

I keg for convenience. It is far easier for me to clean and sanitize one keg and the autosiphon than it is to do 2 cases of bottles, a bottling bucket, the bottling wand, autosiphon, tubing, caps...
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:23 PM   #9
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Sound like to me that you have faults in your beer and people are incorrectly attributing them to style.

I would take the LHBS owner's opinion with a grain of salt; what makes him an expert on beer? He may be, but the qualification of him being a LHBS owner doesn't necessarily do so.

This is like going to an owner of a appliance store and asking their opinion on your souffle.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:29 PM   #10
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Until you get really good at either method, I'm sure there will be imperfections that would be noticed. They might be used to imperfections in bottling due to their own experiences.

I was an amateur at bottling before switching to kegging. Now I'm an amateur at that, but I can tell you that my beer is much better now.
As long as you are half-way decent at kegging, the process is pretty forgiving (at least in my experience). When bottling, I would use use the wrong amounts of sugar and other mistakes that made my beer too carbed or too flat, there was always residue in the bottles, and lots of other issues. My kegged beer has been clear and tasty and carbed exactly the way I want it or I could adjust it.
I am so glad to be done with bottling.

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