Is it just me or are bottled conditioned Homebrew better than kegged?

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Sammy86

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I've recently started making 12 gallon split batches and bottling a 6 pack of each to save.

I've noticed all anecdotally of course that I'm enjoying the bottle conditioned beers more. I feel the flavor is deeper and richer, the aroma is more prominent and I'm really enjoying them more than off the tap.

Anyone else digging their bottled beers more than off the tap?
 
Your post will generate 45,252,489 different responses.
Kegging is fine. I've consumed tons of it. You're free from being bombarded with over-ripe vegetables and/or fruit since you said "anecdotally."
I bottle because it's easy and cheap and I'm great with the product. Once I learned how to process the flip-tops before, during and after use, I became less and less interested in kegging. I do have a brother though who would benefit from kegging. I fancy that I would make the beer, he would pay cost for it and then he could do the rest. He'd like four-five types on hand at once and he has a wet bar.
I'm 100% satisfied with the bottled and I wish all those who keg the "bestest" best of the best.
 
This should turn into a fun thread. ;)

I bottle, but have never had an opportunity to taste-test any of my bottled beers side-by-side with a kegged version, so I can't say one way or the other. I suspect that kegging would up my game (mainly, lower O2 ingress), but there are a number of logistical reasons why I don't keg.

I'm generally satisfied with my beers, and use ingredient selection and brewing process to refine my brewing skills. Kegging just isn't in my future.
 
Responding to title of thread;

Might be you, or whoever is kegging the beers you tasted might not employ best practices with O2 exclusion etc, . in kegging as well, or better in their bottling. Once you crack a keg or bottle, got to keep the O2 out either way. Cumulative affects do add up more in a 5 gallon keg consumed over weeks than in a 12-16 oz bottle enjoyed upon opening.

I've split batches between kegged and bottled, when beer is good they are both good, but they do often vary a little bit.

After a certain volume level, kegging has distinct time, effort and sanitation advantages.
 
This should turn into a fun thread
There was a whiff of the gauntlet being thrown at the kegger's feet but, like I said, OP said "anecdotally" so there's nothing to do but politely converse--someone's perception is their perception.
I could spice it up a bit but I won't, at least not until I've had another beer.
 
I've recently started making 12 gallon split batches and bottling a 6 pack of each to save.

I've noticed all anecdotally of course that I'm enjoying the bottle conditioned beers more. I feel the flavor is deeper and richer, the aroma is more prominent and I'm really enjoying them more than off the tap.

Anyone else digging their bottled beers more than off the tap?

Interesting! Are you storing them the same? If you keep the keg refrigerated, are you also keeping the bottles chilled as well once they are carbonated?
 
Interesting! Are you storing them the same? If you keep the keg refrigerated, are you also keeping the bottles chilled as well once they are carbonated?

Yes, 2-3 weeks in the washroom next to the dryer and then everyone goes in the keezer where the kegs have been.

Like I said this is all anecdotal and wanted to know if others had similar experiences. Both the keg and bottled beers are good so im not complaining but the past two batches I have enjoyed the bottled conditioned beers more.
 
Yes, 2-3 weeks in the washroom next to the dryer and then everyone goes in the keezer where the kegs have been.

Like I said this is all anecdotal and wanted to know if others had similar experiences. Both the keg and bottled beers are good so im not complaining but the past two batches I have enjoyed the bottled conditioned beers more.

I haven't bottled for a long time, and I never did them side by side.

Now that I'm thinking this through, it's not surprising.

It's certainly believable (likely even?) that bottle conditioning and kegging the same beer will yield slightly different results. Having a preference for one over the other is going to be personal taste (and may end up being style/recipe-dependent), so... are you going to start bottling more? :)
 
I'm wondering if just the bottle conditioning is making a difference - OP - when you keg, are you force carbonating or priming?
I've mostly primed, since I have nothing better to do with my time and I;m generally in no rush to get something tapped. I don't see a huge difference in the two, it;s mostly in how carbonated it is overall. Priming seems to be more steady, forcing for me seems to be overcarbed to start and undercarbed towards the end of the keg, even adjusting the pressure.
 
I haven't bottled for a long time, and I never did them side by side.

Now that I'm thinking this through, it's not surprising.

It's certainly believable (likely even?) that bottle conditioning and kegging the same beer will yield slightly different results. Having a preference for one over the other is going to be personal taste (and may end up being style/recipe-dependent), so... are you going to start bottling more? :)

Nah, funny enough I only started doing the bottling of 2 gallons after seeing some old Don O videos on YouTube. My main motivation was to be able to send some to the family up north where all they would have to do is chill and serve themselves (pandemic made sharing alot more difficult).
 
I'm wondering if just the bottle conditioning is making a difference - OP - when you keg, are you force carbonating or priming?
I've mostly primed, since I have nothing better to do with my time and I;m generally in no rush to get something tapped. I don't see a huge difference in the two, it;s mostly in how carbonated it is overall. Priming seems to be more steady, forcing for me seems to be overcarbed to start and undercarbed towards the end of the keg, even adjusting the pressure.

Im a force carb guy...30 PSI for 24 hours, 20 PSI for 48 hours, then to serving pressure for another 4-5 days before tapping, unless its a lager then I let it lager for 2-3 weeks before tapping.
 
Are you bottle priming or bottling keg carbed beer? The former is more difficult to get right but not necessarily better than the latter and can certainly produce a different result.

It's similar to the, "Bud Light in bottles is better than draft.", style arguments which are probably valid for the taster but hard for them to pinpoint exactly why.
 
Anecdotally *he says to avoid tomatoes in the face* my best beers were after after I started kegging. I bottled for 3+ years before moving to a kegerator. But I attribute this more to overall experience as a brewer than to the method of priming/serving.

Speaking of unpopular opinions... In my experience kegging doesn't save me any time (at least in labor). My kegerator doubles as my Ferm Chamber and I need to disassembled and reassemble everytime. Not to mention cleaning the kegs and the taps etc. Upkeep of the hoses fittings gaskets etc. It's all about the same.

Nevertheless I'm sticking with kegging because I'm impatient for my beer to be ready. I can't have a pipeline as my kegerator is also my fermentation chamber so I only brew once a keg is kicked. And then I only have more homebrew once the beer is ready to drink. I can carb beer in a keg in 2-3 days (though admittedly it's better after a week or two).

Understand I could avoid this bottleneck with bottling (see what I did there?). But for various reasons I did this same practice with bottling. But another thing I like about kegging is pulling small or big portions depending on the mood/situation I'm in...
 
Your post will generate 45,252,489 different responses.
Kegging is fine. I've consumed tons of it. You're free from being bombarded with over-ripe vegetables and/or fruit since you said "anecdotally."
I bottle because it's easy and cheap and I'm great with the product. Once I learned how to process the flip-tops before, during and after use, I became less and less interested in kegging. I do have a brother though who would benefit from kegging. I fancy that I would make the beer, he would pay cost for it and then he could do the rest. He'd like four-five types on hand at once and he has a wet bar.
I'm 100% satisfied with the bottled and I wish all those who keg the "bestest" best of the best.

I vehemently disagree.

Without going into the anecdotally empirical results I have personally read about, I think it's closer to 45,252,496.

Unless someone starts mentioning the "L" word.
 
A few years ago my wife mentioned that she thought my beers were better when I bottled rather than kegged ... might have been yeast scavenging O2 or something. Have much better control of that now. Besides, she was the one who opened the door to kegging by complaining about the rat maze of bottle cases in the basement. I keg most of my beer but do bottle prime some of my Belgians. To paraphrase the guide at La Trappe, "At three weeks our kegs are as good as they'll ever be ... the bottles are alive and will keep maturing."
 
Are you bottle priming or bottling keg carbed beer? The former is more difficult to get right but not necessarily better than the latter and can certainly produce a different result.

Bottle priming...2 of those carbonation tabs in a 16 ounce bottle and i'm good to go!
 
This should turn into a fun thread. ;)
It would be fun to do a side by side taste test of a bottled (low hopped style) beer and the same recipe kegged but also where all the LODO brewing techniques were used. How many drinkers would be able to notice a difference?
I've noticed my hoppy beers are much better kegged and using closed transfer from the fermenter (also a keg).
I always bottle all my high ABV beers and am happy with the results.
The big difference when I switched to kegging was that I could very easily achieve consistency in the finished beer. Some batches that I bottled had some issues that were hard to figure out where the problem came from.
:cask:
 
I've recently started making 12 gallon split batches and bottling a 6 pack of each to save.

I did side by side for probably the first 5 years I brewed the same as you are doing now. Bottling the left over beer that wouldn't fit in the keg as I also always brew plenty as to not end up short in the keg. I've tried everything from corn sugar, table sugar, multiple types of drops and tablets, and honey as a priming source. I never once had a bottle that I considered better than keg beer. The bottles were ok but definitely different than the keg and to me they were just not the quality I was looking for. I have now switched to force carbonating my left overs in 2 liter pop bottles. Maybe just my taste buds don't like the natural carbonation, I've had probably a dozen other people's home brew bottles over the years and never really liked those bottled beers much either. Just my 2 cents.
 
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And we have an Imperial Stout, plus a Barleywine, both in kegs…aging for 9 months now. There is no way putting these beers in bottles will improve anything. Quite the opposite.
 
While my experience in force carbonation and kegging is extremely limited, I have generally preferred my bottle conditioned. The only real exceptions were pale lagers/pseudo lagers and anything overly hoppy. Those were noticeably better I'm not sure I will ever really bottle those two styles anymore now that I have two small kegs (plus a ukeg, I guess). I haven't split a batch in awhile though, so perhaps that preference has changed as I've tightened up some loose ends on brewing. At some point I will most likely give keg priming a shot and just use the CO2 for dispensing, but I'm not sure how much a yeasty mess thats going to create on the bottom of the keg.
 
Here in the UK CAMRA has been banging on about the value of natural carbonation for the last 50 years. I myself am a fan of naturally carbonated cask and bottled ales, but not a CAMRA member. I like kegged beers too. You get good and bad versions of both. Most bottled beer is not naturally carbonated and much bottle conditioned beer is not entirely straight and honest, I believe. I do think bottle conditioned beers tend to be better than force carbonated bottled beers. I rarely buy force carbonated English ale in bottles because it is nearly always disappointing, in comparison with the cask ales I buy and the home brew I bottle myself.

So it may well depend on style to some extent - as well as how good your bottling/kegging technique is. And personal preference of course. I had a spell of loving heavily hopped American pales and IPAs but I find myself heading towards the hand pulls looking for English cask ales these days - but I'm a 60 year old English undude who grew up on cask bitters. There's much more choice now, I love the choice, and I still like American pales and IPAs, in moderation.

In a home set up without a cask system I think my English styles work better in bottles, American styles in kegs, mostly. But I do put APAs in bottles and am happy with the results. I rarely brew IPAs, prefer to buy them when I fancy one off a list in a bar.
 
Bottle priming...2 of those carbonation tabs in a 16 ounce bottle and i'm good to go!

What is your process for transferring to kegs? What styles of beers are you brewing? I would not be surprised if it had to do with differences in oxidation between the two.

These days I keg most of my beers. I have noticed oxidation issues with bottling hoppy beers, but I tend to bottle my Saisons and Trappist styles so I can push up the carbonation level. That makes me wonder if the carbonation level between your kegs and bottles could be different.
 
What is your process for transferring to kegs? What styles of beers are you brewing? I would not be surprised if it had to do with differences in oxidation between the two.

I do a closed transfer as possible with my Big Mouth bubbler as seen here:

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Like I said in the OP I have just been enjoying the bottled brews more than kegged.
 
If you keg, and give your beer as much time to condition in the keg as you have to give it to condition in the bottle, you probably won’t see much difference. Patience. Even for experienced brewers it can be the missing ingredient. :cool:
Exactly what I was gonna reply. My hefes young really has a yeast bite or a tingyness i dont know how to describe, fter 2 weeks on gas, its so mellow and perfect.
 
Exactly what I was gonna reply. My hefes young really has a yeast bite or a tingyness i dont know how to describe, fter 2 weeks on gas, its so mellow and perfect.
+1 on that. I keg, force carbonate in keg, then sometimes bottle from that. Insert that elusive patience factor and some of those bottled ones have improved with age.
 
It would be nice to get that last 1/2 oz out of the bottle…

It would be extremely interesting to do a series of side by side comparisons to see how they age with time. My ales change pretty dramatically over the course of 12-16 weeks. Flavors, aromas, body, head, - everything but color.

Do kegs have a similar ageing process?
 
My brewing partner and I| brewed 10 gallons of an imperial stout, 12% abv roughly. We bottled his 5 gallons, kegged mine. 2 months later we both realized there was no discernable difference in them except that he tended to drink more from my keg than from his bottles.
Lol and there you have it. Anecdotally speaking the bottled beer fans are really fans of others kegged beers. I'm starting to put two and two together here.
 
I'm lazy. I prefer kegging. But I also like having 6 to 10 bottles of certain styles so sometimes I will keg the whole batch and sometimes I will bottle a gallon or so of the batch. I treat them differently. Bottles are naturally carbed and conditioned in the bottle. The draft beer is artificially carbed and (I feel) has less chance of being oxidized. My palate isn't sophisticated enough to tell an enormous difference .. small differences maybe.
 
I do a closed transfer as possible with my Big Mouth bubbler as seen here:

That tends to support my initial thoughts that it was likely that your bottled beers are oxidized more than your kegged beers. Your comments "the flavor is deeper and richer" it was people often tie to minor oxidation character. There is this thread on using a secondary (What does a secondary fermenter do?) where in a side by side tasting, often the beer transferred to a secondary was preferred, even when it visually showed typical signs of oxidation.

Oxidation has a lot of negative connotation associated with it, but it is not always a negative and can also be a preference. Barrel aged beers likely have significant oxidation, and aged bottled beers do as well. My opinion is generally that there are a few styles that minor oxidation ruins, a lot of styles where minor oxidation is very hard to detect, and some styles were minor oxidation lends an often expected character.
 
Can't say with authority because in 10 years of brewing, and approaching my 200th batch, I've never kegged. Yes, everything is in bottles. Store those bottles in styrofoam lined boxes in my garage- maybe 25 boxes that contain up to 72 bottles each.. I probably still have a stray bottle from 2011. Just cracked open a Winter Spiced Wee Heavy from 2018 which was surprisingly good. Yeah, I'm odd.
 

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