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What's the real purpose of bottle-conditioning in a fridge?

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Elysium

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NOTE: THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT BOTTLE-CARBING (WHICH IS THE 2-3 WEEK PERIOD WHERE CO2 APPEARS IN THE BOTTLES DUE TO THE PRIMING SUGAR. THIS IS ABOUT BOTTLE-CONDITIONING WHICH IS THE PHASE AFTER BOTTLE-CARBING)

Is the real goal of bottleconditioning to stop yeast activity? I mean we bottle with the primary sugar....then wait till the beer gets carbonated, and after that it is a must to put the beer in the fridge, isnt it?

If we dont do so....the yeast stays active and wont go dormant. Meaning that it continues altering the taste of the beer due to the fact that it is active. Even autolysis can happen too, right? Causing off-flavours.

Any thoughts?
 

unionrdr

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I've never gotten autolysis in th ebottles that remain in the boxes at room temp after a minimum of 3 weeks at 70F or a lil better. Fridge time gets the beers colder so that the co2 between the head space & the beer can equalize. In other words,get co2 into solution easier in a cold liquid than a warm one. Besides allowing any chill haze to form & settle out. One week minimum for average gravity beers. 2 weeks gives thicker head & longer lasting carbonation. the yeast/trub also compacts more tightly on the bottom of the bottles,making the pour easier to get more beer in the glass.
 

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I understood that the room temp beer will condition, flavors will meld together more and in some cases beers that taste more "green" will come to their true taste. I also understood it had little to do with the yeast and the yeast wasn't a contributing factor to really changing the taste at that point/temp. Chilling the beer helped the yeast drop out of suspension and ensure the Co2 finishes doing whatever it does.

I could be very wrong about the yeast but letting some types of beer condition is a good idea.
 

kaconga

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I leave the majority of my beers in my basement which stays right around 60*F and they taste fine at 6 weeks and depending on the style can taste great for up to a year. Sometimes I don't even bother chilling them down and just drink them at that temp. Usually I move five or six to the fridge on Saturday and those are my beers for the week.
 

unionrdr

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I understood that the room temp beer will condition, flavors will meld together more and in some cases beers that taste more "green" will come to their true taste. I also understood it had little to do with the yeast and the yeast wasn't a contributing factor to really changing the taste at that point/temp. Chilling the beer helped the yeast drop out of suspension and ensure the Co2 finishes doing whatever it does.

I could be very wrong about the yeast but letting some types of beer condition is a good idea.
Yes,flavors do mature at room temp time. That's the conditioning part. Carbonation usually completes about a week before ime. The yeast do indeed not only make the carbonation,but finish cleaning up as much as they can in that particular brew at the same time. It's just that primary upper temp ranges no longer apply in the bottles. But the lower range does.
Fridge temps allow co2 to go into solution easier than warm temps. And at least a week fridge time allows any chill haze to form & settle out as well as the yeast/trub compressing more on the bottom of the bottles.
 

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Bottle-conditioned beer is a wonderfully stable product (assuming good brewing techniques) and although refrigeration will slow staling of beer, it is certainly not required. The yeast go dormant when the available sugar is consumed, in other words once they have eaten your pending sugar and produced carbonation. I've had beers of mine that are 3+ years old having been stored at cellar temps and although I avoid getting yeast into the glass as much as possible, there are off flavors I could perceive.

The yeast have been doing their job well for a long time, well before refrigeration. Don't sweat it.
 

unionrdr

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Well,refridgeration def gets the beer cold enough to allow any chill haze to form. It takes a few days for it to settle like a fog. It also gets carbonation into the beer,stabilizing co2 between the head space & liquid faster than a cool basement can. Basement temps of 60F or so are great for storage. I think it takes a longer time to settle any chill haze proteins down there though. for the average brewer,the fridge is a good way to get the job done after room temp carb/conditioning,imo.
 

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Chilling has it's purpose, but many brewers chill it too soon.

When I bottled, I chilled a sixer at a time and gave a sixer to my dad.

The last warm sixer always tasted the best.

The one he took and stuck in his fridge six months earlier had lost flavor.
 

unionrdr

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I think it's def a part of learning a good process. you need to know your process to better guage when to fridge them for optimum results. so you nailed it there!...:mug:
 

eltorrente

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I think the best way, by far, is to keep the beers warm after their 2-3week bottle carb time.

You are simply slowing down the conditioning process by putting it in the refrigerator. The ideal method would be to keep them all warm, then chill and sample single beers over a period of time (maybe 1 sample per week, per month, per day whatever), and once it's amazing you chill them down, and it's flavor will be kept that way for longer. If you leave beers warm after that point, they'll continue to change faster and may get better or worse depending on what type of beer they are, the temp, time in bottle, etc.
 

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IMO both the time carbonating AND after are completely part of the same process.

The amount of time required for both are dependent upon the beer. Big beers take more time to carbonate AND condition once in the bottle.

You can also bulk condition big complex beers in a secondary vessel for weeks or months and then bottle to carbonate, really depends on what you are trying to achieve and the beer.

I find most if my beers really round out nicely at around a month of package time whether in the keg or bottle, it seems to be the "magic" amount of time:)
 

eltorrente

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I find most if my beers really round out nicely at around a month of package time whether in the keg or bottle, it seems to be the "magic" amount of time:)
Yeah I feel that way, too.

I generally keg after 3 weeks in the carboy - including cold-crash time. I sample the beer right away and while they might taste good, I know it will get better within the next couple weeks.

I also bottle from my keg with a counter-pressure filler, and put a 12-pack or two in warm storage, then I chill them when I feel they are perfect.
 

unionrdr

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IMO both the time carbonating AND after are completely part of the same process.

The amount of time required for both are dependent upon the beer. Big beers take more time to carbonate AND condition once in the bottle.

You can also bulk condition big complex beers in a secondary vessel for weeks or months and then bottle to carbonate, really depends on what you are trying to achieve and the beer.

I find most if my beers really round out nicely at around a month of package time whether in the keg or bottle, it seems to be the "magic" amount of time:)
That's basically what I said. Conditioning just happens to take about a week longer than carbing for average gravity beers,in my experience. Gotta comprehend the grammer.
 

beefysal

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What chemically is happening to the beer once refrigerated? Does the temp make the yeast go dormant? Are other things affecting the taste?
Curious
Thanks
 

duboman

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What chemically is happening to the beer once refrigerated? Does the temp make the yeast go dormant? Are other things affecting the taste?
Curious
Thanks
Chemically? Nothing really. The yeast flocculate out and pack into a cake at the bottom producing a nice clear beer. In addition the flavors of the beer will basically come together as when they were at room temp. Most beers benefit from some cold condition time once they are fully carbonated
 

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What chemically is happening to the beer once refrigerated? Does the temp make the yeast go dormant? Are other things affecting the taste?
Curious
Thanks
The same thing happens when the beer is cold as when it's at cellar temps, it just happens a lot slower. The chemistry approximation is that the rate of chemical reactions doubles with every 10 degrees Celsius that you increase the temperature. As someone else said, after the yeast consume all of the sugar they start going dormant, and the conditioning phase isn't really driven by yeast. It's more about chemical reactions that happen in the beer itself and things dropping out of solution. Though chilling it will cause the yeast to flocculate out faster.

So by putting the beer in the fridge you are greatly reducing the rate at which it will condition. Storing at cellar temperature (55-60F) is ideal because it's a good balance between conditioning slowly enough that it won't go stale too quickly but still warm enough to get good conditioning in a reasonable amount of time.
 

unionrdr

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I basically try to get them properly carbed & conditioned before fridge time. fridge time of at least a week on average will help clear the beer more,cmpact the yeast/trub on tthe botom of the bottle,& give time for any chill haze time to form & settle out. That amount of time gives decent carbonation & head. Two weeks fridge time,I've noticed,gives thicker head & longer lasting carbonation.
 

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Is there an end to conditioning? Does the taste continue to change? Are you shooting for a specific time or the actual end of the conditioning cycle?
 

unionrdr

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Their isn't any specific time,nor permanent end result. It'll continue to condition or change,including eventual degredation. Cellar & fridge temps just slow this down so it tastes/smells good longer. Beer is,after all,a living beverage.
 

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I looked through and didn't see that anyone had mentioned this yet, but aside from allowing yeast and other sediments to settle out which produces a clearer beer to pour, the chilling also makes the beer more solvent. This will allow more of the produced CO2 to dissolve in the beer and result in a beer that will stay carbed and crisp for a longer period out of the bottle.

My Sodastream taught me this one. The colder the liquid is, the more CO2 it will accept in solution.
 

unionrdr

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We understand this. That's the biggest reason FOR fridge time,is getting co2 into solution in a cold liquid vs a warm one.
 

cheezydemon3

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The problem with KEGGING IMHO, is that it ALL goes in the fridge or not.

The OP is WAY too worried about it. Chill what you need and let the rest sit warm.

Even after I refined my processes (especially proper wort chilling) I found that the last sixer of a batch tasted the best because it had sat warm for 2 months or however long.

Enjoy it while you can, once you keg, if you want to taste it, it ALL goes in the fridge.
 

GuldTuborg

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While temperature affects carbonation levels when you're talking regulated pressure between two pressurized vessels (as in kegging and Sodastreaming), I've always understood carbonation levels in a closed system (e.g., a bottle) are the same regardless of temperature.

Who here knows more about gas systems, or do I need to look into this?
 

unionrdr

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The point is,in bottle carbed/conditioned beers,at warm temps it doesn't absorb as much of the co2 produced by priming into solution at warm room temps. Chilling in the fridge aids this function. Cold liquids can hold more co2 than warm ones. So when you pour it into a glass,less fridge time allows the carbonation to die down quicker than one given more fridge time or priming solution gravity.
 

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I looked through and didn't see that anyone had mentioned this yet, but aside from allowing yeast and other sediments to settle out which produces a clearer beer to pour, the chilling also makes the beer more solvent. This will allow more of the produced CO2 to dissolve in the beer and result in a beer that will stay carbed and crisp for a longer period out of the bottle.

My Sodastream taught me this one. The colder the liquid is, the more CO2 it will accept in solution.
Ha! This is really funny to me because unionrdr said this in almost EVERY post he has made in this thread! I went back and counted and he literally said this same thing 4 different times. I just got a kick out of that so I thought I would point it out.

The OP is WAY too worried about it. Chill what you need and let the rest sit warm.
+1 to this. It's really not that big of a deal unless you're storing beers for many years or if you're storing them at like 90F.
 

GuldTuborg

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The point is,in bottle carbed/conditioned beers,at warm temps it doesn't absorb as much of the co2 produced by priming into solution at warm room temps
That's exactly the claim that I'm calling into question. Restating it won't help. I believe this statement is false, but I will look into it more and get back with actual numbers and better reasoning than "I think this is right."
 

unionrdr

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Yeah,well...some things bare repeating...;) Def not false or just my own superstition. I've proven it many times over the years. And so have many on here,including authors. But check it out anyway....
 

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BEAR repeating.......;)

It is pretty obvious. I have opened bottles that hadn't properly chilled yet that gushed. Same batch 12 hours later (better chilled) were fine.
 

unionrdr

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I've gotten that before as well. Includinthe latest batch of Wernesgruner pils I bought. It was a little cool from store temp (Aldi's),but foamed over till it got a few hours fridge time. Then it was fine. Some of mine in question took a couple days to a week to slow down or prevent foam-overs. So fridge time def has it's positive effects. It's simple chemistry.
 

GuldTuborg

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It is pretty obvious. I have opened bottles that hadn't properly chilled yet that gushed. Same batch 12 hours later (better chilled) were fine.
But once you open the bottles, the vital difference between the two is the temp of the liquid at atmospheric pressures, not when it was capped. They gushed because (like you said) they were warm, not because they hadn't absorbed CO2 while they were in the bottle.

Maybe this will help. Take two warm beers, same process and assume they are identical. Chill one in the fridge for a week while the other sits warm. Then, chill the other one in one of those water bath chillers, so it gets to the same temp as the other beer in say 30 sec or whatever.

What I'm claiming is twofold from this setup:
-Both beers will have the same level of carbonation, and
-They will behave the same when you open them.
 

unionrdr

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In my experience,that doesn't really work. for example,two bottles of the same beer,one in the fridge,one in the freezer. Give the fridged beer say 5 days,then put one in the freezer till it gets to about the same temp. The freezer one will be flatter. Did that one a couple times myself. Getting carbonation into solution is a slow process,& not just temp driven. Everything about brewing takes time to one degree or another.
 

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But once you open the bottles, the vital difference between the two is the temp of the liquid at atmospheric pressures, not when it was capped. They gushed because (like you said) they were warm, not because they hadn't absorbed CO2 while they were in the bottle.

Maybe this will help. Take two warm beers, same process and assume they are identical. Chill one in the fridge for a week while the other sits warm. Then, chill the other one in one of those water bath chillers, so it gets to the same temp as the other beer in say 30 sec or whatever.

What I'm claiming is twofold from this setup:
-Both beers will have the same level of carbonation, and
-They will behave the same when you open them.
By your logic, if 2 beers were properly chilled and one then allowed to warm up, the warm one would gush?
 

GuldTuborg

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Check the last post in this thread for someone else's take on the matter from the Brew Science section. Here's the highlight. I'll track down someone who knows the science behind this better.

The point is, yes, liquids require more pressure to absorb gasses at higher temperatures, but when the system as a whole moves to a higher temp, the gas portion of that system provides higher pressure as well. Thus, the difference in the ration of CO2 between the liquid and gas portion of the system is minimal.

Anyway, here's the quote that matters, but read the last post.

Once the bottle conditioning has been done, and the CO2 has been created and absorbed into the beer, the carbonation in the beer really won't change significantly no matter what the storage temperature is. What will change significantly is the pressure in the headspace. If you think about the correct assumption you made in your first question it makes sense. If carbonation is simply the ratio of CO2 to beer, and the bottle is sealed, that ratio is going to stay the same regardless of temperature. Technically at warmer temps some of the CO2 will move from the beer to the headspace, decreasing the carbonation in the beer some, but the difference is minimal. The carbonation of the "bottle" will still stay the same.
 

GuldTuborg

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By your logic, if 2 beers were properly chilled and one then allowed to warm up, the warm one would gush?
I would claim that it would have roughly the same chance of gushing as one that had never been chilled in the first place. Assuming the two warm beers were at the same temp...yes.
 

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NOTE: THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT BOTTLE-CARBING (WHICH IS THE 2-3 WEEK PERIOD WHERE CO2 APPEARS IN THE BOTTLES DUE TO THE PRIMING SUGAR. THIS IS ABOUT BOTTLE-CONDITIONING WHICH IS THE PHASE AFTER BOTTLE-CARBING)

Is the real goal of bottleconditioning to stop yeast activity? I mean we bottle with the primary sugar....then wait till the beer gets carbonated, and after that it is a must to put the beer in the fridge, isnt it?

If we dont do so....the yeast stays active and wont go dormant. Meaning that it continues altering the taste of the beer due to the fact that it is active. Even autolysis can happen too, right? Causing off-flavours.

Any thoughts?
My reason for cold storage is to slow the staling process. Beer goes bad over time, and storage temperature makes a huge impact. Charlie Bamforth suggests that for every 10C you go up, it cuts the life in half.
 

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That's exactly the claim that I'm calling into question. Restating it won't help. I believe this statement is false, but I will look into it more and get back with actual numbers and better reasoning than "I think this is right."
I've gotten that before as well. Includinthe latest batch of Wernesgruner pils I bought. It was a little cool from store temp (Aldi's),but foamed over till it got a few hours fridge time. Then it was fine. Some of mine in question took a couple days to a week to slow down or prevent foam-overs. So fridge time def has it's positive effects. It's simple chemistry.
Indeed, this is Le Chatelier's principle, related to the solubility of gases based on temperature. The solubility of gases increases as temperature decreases, this is well established, although it does not involve time. It does, however, take time to chill the entire volume of beer to the same temperature.

But once you open the bottles, the vital difference between the two is the temp of the liquid at atmospheric pressures, not when it was capped. They gushed because (like you said) they were warm, not because they hadn't absorbed CO2 while they were in the bottle.
They gushed because they were warm, which resulted in less solubility of the CO2, not just because they were warm. All factors have to be accounted for.

Maybe this will help. Take two warm beers, same process and assume they are identical. Chill one in the fridge for a week while the other sits warm. Then, chill the other one in one of those water bath chillers, so it gets to the same temp as the other beer in say 30 sec or whatever.

What I'm claiming is twofold from this setup:
-Both beers will have the same level of carbonation, and
-They will behave the same when you open them.
Exactly. It is not a function of time, it is a function of temperature. If everyone could flash chill their beer, it would be less of a concern. But, it takes some time to chill beer down so it can abosorb the CO2.
 

GuldTuborg

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They gushed because they were warm, which resulted in less solubility of the CO2, not just because they were warm. All factors have to be accounted for.
This is what I was trying to say. Sorry if it got muddled.

Anyway, thanks as well for the general support as well. Do you have a background in this kind of material?
 

unionrdr

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But in brewing,not the lab,time is relavent. Putting a beer in the freezer for an hour or a bit less will not give the same carbonation in a bottle of beer as it would during a week in the fridge. That's what I was talking about before regarding time vs sheer temp.
 

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I appreciate the discussion on carbonation and temp, but in this thread, it is actually, specifically OT.
 

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Ha! This is really funny to me because unionrdr said this in almost EVERY post he has made in this thread! I went back and counted and he literally said this same thing 4 different times. I just got a kick out of that so I thought I would point it out.
You're right. Sorry, guys. I was skimming through on one computer while doing some work on another computer and somehow missed every single one of Uniondr's posts. I really don't understand how I did that because there are a few members whose posts I usually pay particular attention to, and he is one of them.

I'm out.
 
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