Is it better to age a problematic beer in the fridge or at room temperature?

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Ale-bee

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Long time listener, first time caller.

I took a three year break from brewing, but a few weeks ago got back into it and brewed a hoppy brown ale.

After week in primary I got excited and put it on tap.

It’s..uhh…very harsh. Astringent. Sharp. Bitey. Hard to choke down. It almost hurts to drink.

Is it from using three year old ingredients? Probably. Is it because the beer was only ten days old and green af when I tried it? Maybe. Both? Also maybe.

So I wonder - if I want time to round the edges of this pointy beer as a stone is worn smooth tumbled in a stream, is it best to store the keg at fridge temp or at room temp (23°c).

Thank you for your time.
 

McMullan

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I'd say store cool. Unless lagering, serving temperature works for me. You want to allow time for the beer to go bright/clear properly. This has one of the biggest beneficial impacts on beer quality. It's a natural filtering process. Yeast add a lot of undesirable qualities in 'green beer'. Of course, someone will be along soon to claim otherwise and discuss their hop soups and how they want yeast to remain in suspension for additional fogginess, but exceptions don't make rules in brewing.
 

AlexKay

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My vote is for cold storage for a week or two. If it’s hop burn, cold will make things settle out faster. If it’s polyphenols from too-hot, high-pH sparging, ditto (though your chances of an actual fix go down.)

If it’s not noticeably better in a week or two, you could pull it and see if a long time at warm temperatures does you any good, though it probably won’t.

Also, way to sling a metaphor.
 

hottpeper13

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Well caller,you're right to call Mr. Obvious. By the way,that's not a flashlight!
To the Question. What McMullan said mostly. I like to keg at 2-3 weeks and leave at ambient (54-64) for a week then into a 33* lagerator until there's room in the kegerator.
A pipeline is your greatest ally.
 

hotbeer

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I don't have an issue whether you let the temp raise some or keep it at it's current temp. I don't generally like cycling temps back and forth.

It'll probably take somewhat longer at cold temps for it to smooth out if it is going to do so. But maybe not. If the flavor is going to improve, it'll improve no matter which way you go.

I certainly wouldn't have kegged or bottle it at just one week. Though fermentation is over for the most part in just a few days, other things happen after fermentation. One of which is the yeast cleaning up some odd flavors that may better well be left as trub in the FV instead of trub in the bottle or keg.

Though maybe I'm entirely wrong. But my experience has been that the beers I left long in the FV are almost always better than the beers with little time in the FV.
 

Broken Crow

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I know the temperature makes a big difference, but currently for me; "Temperature Control" is all about where I put it in the basement, and mine stays about 68° year-round. I usually do darks, milds and ESB and I don't know if there's a science to it, but for my brews, the darker it is, the better it will be if I leave it sit longer. Totally with @hotbeer on the temp cycling and longer time undisturbed... Even when I do a recipe that 'everyone says' you can keg after 2 weeks, to my taste it's still much better if left another week or more, and then cold-crash and keep cold.
 

McMullan

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It'll probably take somewhat longer at cold temps for it to smooth out if it is going to do so.
Assumption being it's a yeast/biological process.
One of which is the yeast cleaning up some odd flavors that may better well be left as trub in the FV instead of trub in the bottle or keg.
Assumption yeast 'clean up'. Again, a biological process.

Faffing around with filtering pretty much disproves these assumptions. Yeast taste like crap and promote instability, where product changes day to day. Green beers - with high yeast counts - are 'weird'. After filtering - or two, three or four weeks later - it definitely ain't the same beer.

Conclusion: yeast clear out, they don't clean up.
 

hotbeer

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Assumption being it's a yeast/biological process.

Assumption yeast 'clean up'. Again, a biological process.

Conclusion: yeast clear out, they don't clean up.
I've wondered what the difference might be for the term clean as opposed to clear might be when describing beer quality.

Thanks, that somewhat helps, but I'm sure I'll get it wrong or confused again.
 

wsmith1625

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I've wondered what the difference might be for the term clean as opposed to clear might be when describing beer quality.

Thanks, that somewhat helps, but I'm sure I'll get it wrong or confused again.
Actually, I think both terms are correct depending on what your doing. If you're cold crashing, then you're trying to "clear out" or drop the yeast out of suspension. If you're warming the beer for a diacetyl rest, the yeast is "cleaning up" the diacetyl to remove an off flavor. Personally, I thing both are equally important for getting the best results.
 

wsmith1625

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To the OP, as others already said leave it in the fermenter for a minimum of 2 weeks, 3 or more being better. Then when you put it on tap at serving temp, you can enjoy your beer and take notes on how cold conditioning improve the flavor with time. If you have the capacity, you can start your next beer now while this one occupies your tap(s).
 
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Miraculix

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It depends. If it's yeast or hop particles in suspension that are creating the off flavours, cold works best.

If it's a green beer flavor that will mature over time because of chemical or biological reactions that are happening, warmer would be better.
 

lumpher

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You'll get all kinds of responses, but what I would do is take it off the tap and leave it out for a week or 2 at room temp for the yeast to wake back up and clean up it's mess. After that, I'd lager it a couple weeks, then put it back on tap.
 
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Ale-bee

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You'll get all kinds of responses, but what I would do is take it off the tap and leave it out for a week or 2 at room temp for the yeast to wake back up and clean up it's mess. After that, I'd lager it a couple weeks, then put it back on tap.
This is exactly what I’ve ended up doing.
 

McMullan

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The yeast go dormant at the end of fermentation. Depending on strain, it takes hours to a few days, not weeks. Any subsequent biochemistry reducing undesirable flavour active compounds, e.g., VDKs, is most likely due to residual enzymic activity and yeast flocculation/beer going bright. The levels of some of these compounds are determined by wort composition. If a brewer under pitches yeast it takes more time to condition/mature a beer. The under-pitched biology becomes rate limiting, in terms of reducing wort derived compounds and their metabolites. I 'over' pitch and most of my beers are ready for serving by 10 days or so. More delicately flavoured lagers take a bit longer, because they're more delicately flavoured and take longer to mature/balance.
 

hotbeer

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Depending on strain, it takes hours to a few days, not weeks. Any subsequent biochemistry reducing undesirable flavour active compounds, e.g., VDKs, is most likely due to residual enzymic activity and yeast flocculation/beer going bright
I'm not quite sure how to take the hours to few days, not weeks.

You are just saying how long it takes yeast to go dormant after fermentation aren't you? Not how long it takes for beer to go bright.

Which in my case, going bright might also be in as little as 10 days from pitch or has taken quite a bit longer depending on the yeast and perhaps other things about the recipe and processes.

Bright essentially meaning all the suspended yeast and any other solids dropping out of suspension leaving a clear beer that can be seen through. Light or dark color notwithstanding.
 

McMullan

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I'm not quite sure how to take the hours to few days, not weeks.
Yes, yeast cells 'just' going dormant, i.e., with no more significant activity of interest to the brewer. Attempt to "wake up' the yeast cells to get them to 'clean up' after themselves as much as you like,  If fermentation has finished, the effort is unlikely to make any noticeable difference. If it does, fermentation wasn't finished. And the gravity probably dropped at least a few more points, too. You most likely under pitched for a number of reasons and actually have a suboptimal fermentation with yeast under more stress than usual and close to stalling.
 
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Ale-bee

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Yes, yeast cells 'just' going dormant, i.e., with no more significant activity of interest to the brewer. Attempt to "wake up' the yeast cells to get them to 'clean up' after themselves as much as you like,  If fermentation has finished, the effort is unlikely to make any noticeable difference. If it does, fermentation wasn't finished. And the gravity probably dropped at least a few more points, too. You most likely under pitched for a number of reasons and actually have a suboptimal fermentation with yeast under more stress than usual and close to stalling.
I should have mentioned what yeast I used and so on.

1.050, pitched one pack of Mangrove Jack’s Kveik, fermented around 30°C, and the yeast absolutely tore through the wort. (That yeast is a monster)

Seemed like fermentation was finished after a couple of days, leaving it for a full week felt like a safe bet.

In hindsight I should have been more patient and just left it alone for another week, for the fermentation to be done for certain, for the yeast to clean up, clear out, all that.

So I did a full 40L batch, after a week in primary, half went into a keg with some sugar solution to carbonate naturally. The other 20L went into a different keg with some gelatin solution, then straight into the fridge, on gas, at about 12PSI. After three days it was nicely carbed, but the flavor was really harsh. Wet dog funky smell and sharp, puckering bitter points all over. Basically like having a sea urchin in your mouth.

After reading the thoughtful advice here and elsewhere, I decided to just take damned beer off the gas, put it outside the fridge, and will leave it out until the beginning of November.

Then back into the fridge for a week or so, then we’ll see how sharp those flavor quills are.

I’ll be sure to report back here what happens to the spiny brew.
 
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Ale-bee

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Hey there all you cool cats and kittens, I’m back with a small update.

Both kegs of the harsh beer were left out at room temp for a few weeks, then went into the fridge for a week.

I tried the beer after a month at room temp and it was somewhat improved. Noticeably more smooth, less green and bitter, but not drastically so.

So I left it alone in the fridge, and pulled another sample a week later. This sample was drastically better. While still bitter, the harsher aspects have lessened and some of the nicer flavors (fruitiness, hops characteristics) have come forward in the mix.

So I learned a couple of things:

-Leave the beer alone in primary for a few weeks.

-Aging in the fridge seems to be more beneficial than aging outside the fridge. Perhaps the cold making yeast drop to the bottom of the keg has the biggest impact on taste.

-Probably a lot of darker home brewed beers would be better if the brewer just left them alone for like, a solid six months.

-I’m probably not patient enough to be making dark beers and aging them for six months, so I should probably stick to lighter, quick turnaround styles.


Thank you.
 
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