Cold conditioning

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furlow008

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I was reading the thread yesterday about the Scottish ale and cold conditioning it for 6 wks to 3 months, so here is my question: I just made a batch of scottish ale 2 weeks ago. I hadn't planned on racking to a secondary, I was just gonna let it sit in the primary until bottling time (4 weeks or so). Would it be beneficial to drop the temp down to cold crash it for the rest of the time? Would it make a difference? Or should I rack to secondary if I want to do it?
 

cheezydemon

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Wow! I was coming on to ask if storing beer in the fridge would halt "conditioning".

I know it will lager (sort of) but will it mature?

Not meaning to jack the thread, I think the questions are closely related.
 
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My habit as of late has been to do the primary fermentation on the ground floor, 70 degrees or so, then move the secondary downstairs so the wife has one less thing to complain about (stupid buckets are ugly!).
The basement is 55-60 depending on the season, and I've noticed that the brews take longer (if ever) to clear.
I'm all ale here, no lagers, so working with fully modified grain I'm confident that I'm looking at yeast instead of protein haze.

To answer the original question I'd say go to the secondary as soon as fermentation has appeared to stop, keep it at a yeast happy temperature to allow what's left to eat what's left to eat what's left, and then when it has reached an acceptable clarity consider aging.

Lager is aged because of protein haze, ale is traditionally a fresh product.
 

newell456

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In general, an ale that has finished fermenting can benefit from cold conditioning. For one, it helps the drop suspended particles and yeast to make a clearer beer. IMHO, it helps to clear a beer much better than adding finings like gelatin or anything else. This might not be beneficial if you are making a wheat beer that benefits from some yeast suspension. It also improves the taste and quality. I'm not sure how, but a keg or bottles that have been in the fridge longer improve significantly. Cold conditioning may help with esters, but it won't help remove diacetyl.
 
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furlow008

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"Wow! I was coming on to ask if storing beer in the fridge would halt "conditioning".

I had the same wonders, but never asked. Thanks for reminding me.
 

newell456

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"Wow! I was coming on to ask if storing beer in the fridge would halt "conditioning".

I had the same wonders, but never asked. Thanks for reminding me.
If you're bottle conditioning, you'll need some time near ale fermenting temperatures, or it will take longer to carbonate. Once they are carbonated, the cold conditioning will help.
 

cheezydemon

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My current example is a fairly strong, roasty stout. I wanted to age it for a while, and I would just as soon do so in my beer fridge ( I have plenty of space) No off flavors to get rid of at this point, I just wouldn't mind if the roastyness mellowed a little.

It would be interesting to know what difference cold/warm conditioning makes. I guess it is up to me to 1/2 one way and 1/2 the other.
 

jay075j

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I would say that the best way to answer this question is to say that as long as they yeast has done all of their work you can cold crash it. Give the yeast time to finish fermentation, clean-up after themselves, and bottle condition if needed. And for as long as you want the yeast to work, you have to keep them at the appropriate temperature for their strain.

Once the yeast is finished, you can chill anything.
 

WBC

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jay075j,
That was a very good answer to this question. I could not have said it better myself.:mug:
 
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jay075j,
So I'm guessing that my problem is that when I move the stuff to the basement after racking (so the wife will quit bitching about it taking up space), that there is still some work to be done by the yeast.
But since I'm moving it to below optimal temperatures that I should not be surprised that the stuff stays cloudy with yeast.
We're moving anyway, just another reason to get a larger home with a dedicated "brew-room" in addition to a full basement, so I can put the stuff out of her sight, out of her mind, and in the proper environment to do the entire job properly.

Thinking about it I've never had a draw from a keg that was as clear as pouring from a bottle of homebrew unless it was from the last gallon or so.

Should I shorten my draw tube?
 

jay075j

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jay075j,
So I'm guessing that my problem is that when I move the stuff to the basement after racking (so the wife will quit bitching about it taking up space), that there is still some work to be done by the yeast.
But since I'm moving it to below optimal temperatures that I should not be surprised that the stuff stays cloudy with yeast.
We're moving anyway, just another reason to get a larger home with a dedicated "brew-room" in addition to a full basement, so I can put the stuff out of her sight, out of her mind, and in the proper environment to do the entire job properly.

Thinking about it I've never had a draw from a keg that was as clear as pouring from a bottle of homebrew unless it was from the last gallon or so.

Should I shorten my draw tube?
Exactley! Every strain of yeast has an optimal temperature range that it works best at. Once you change that temperature, you are risking off flavors and incomplete fermentation. The single best step any brewer can take to improve their brews is to control your fermentation temperature.

As far as shortening your draw tube, I know that is a common practice by some, but I for one have never really seen a need for it myself because I try to let everything age in my carboys. By the time I get them into my keg, I really do not have a lot more drop to the bottom. At most, my first draw off of the keg has some yeast in it, but after that, clear.
 
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Thanks Jay, that basically confirms what common sense is telling me.
I need a room where I can control the climate and keep the unsightly equipment out of the wife's sight.
She doesn't mind my hobby, as long as she just doesn't have to see it.
 

jay075j

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You can always try a blindfold!

Seriously though, you say that your basement is around 55-60? Is that ambient temp? Do you have a ferm stip (stick on thermometer) on it? The reason why I ask is because the act of fermentation actually generates heat. So just because you have an ambient temp of high 50's, you may actually have fermentation temps of mid to high 60's. Then as fermentation subsides, the temp will naturaly lower.

Another thing that is good too, is just go to the websites for the yeast manufacturer, and see what they recomend for temps for their specific strain of yeast. You may find that there are strains that work best with those temps.
 

Proofman

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...
But since I'm moving it to below optimal temperatures that I should not be surprised that the stuff stays cloudy with yeast.
If anything, cold condition will improve clarity. It will cause the yeast (ale) to flocculate and some of the protiens to settle out. A week and a half to two weeks in a fridge will make most beers crystal clear (with exception to wheats).
 
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I'm thinking that putting it in a cold environment before the yeast is totally finished might be the root of my cloudiness.
I do have a fermometer on all my fermentation vessels, and on the ground floor they do run two to four degrees warmer than the room.
But after 7-10 days that stops, as does the bubbles off the airlock.
So I stick it downstairs where it is not ale friendly, but not lager friendly either, like a homebrewer's Twilight Zone.
I think the lesson learned is that whatever you brew you need to stay with the yeast's happy place over the entire cycle.

The one in question was intended to be an IPA, but I started mashing out for the first time. So my intended SG was 50 and I got 72...
Things just went from there, but I'm using a lot less grain than I used to.
 
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