Bottle conditioning vs kegging?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews

    Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews Well-Known Member

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    I'm leaning toward bottle conditioning for ales and kegging for lagers. My main reasoning being, the 2 extract ales I did were both bottled and turned out pretty good. The Lagers I have done, have not been very good either way. I figure by kegging those I can go full Budvar and lager them for 3 months in the secondary after a 3 week primary ferment.

    That being said, if I go that route, it will tie up my secondary fermenters for MONTHS(I have a batch of Dirty Bohemian going in fermenter 1 now, Blonde on Blonde cream ale is in fermentor 2). I have 2 secondaries that are fairly handy for in and out of the keezer(30L Spiedel and 6.5Gal Genesis). My plan for the moment is to rack the Dirty Bohemian into the Genesis for lagering in 2 more weeks(accounting for some loss in the primary), would like to refill fermenter 1 with Bohemian Black Ops at that point(by my math that will be opening weekend of deer season, getting anything brewed will be sketchy at best).

    Meanwhile in fermenter 2, brewed Blonde on Blonde yesterday, hopefully will be able to bottle on next Sunday and reload with Manky 'lil Sally.

    Frustrating a little bit as I have put A LOT more effort into my lagers, and have much more faith in my ales being drinkable.

    Long story short, does this plan make sense, or am I missing something?
     
  2. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Lagers are all about clean, stable fermentation. If you don't like them after a few weeks in the keg, you probably won't like them much more after several months.
    Definitely keg. Kegging keeps your fermenters open. As soon as it's gone through a diacetyl rest is stable at final gravity lower temp to let the yeast drop and clear. Primary or secondary crashing shouldn't make a lot of difference. Then keg it, carb it and let it sit and clear further for another 2-4 weeks. At that point I transfer to a serving keg, the first keg having served as a bright tank and allowing the yeast to drop out and collect. By transferring, you can move the kegs around without stirring up the yeast trub in the bottom.
    Six weeks at near freezing temps should make any lager about as good as it's going to get.
     
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  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Flip side of the argument - I bottle everything. The advantage is you have live yeast in the package to scavenge oxygen so the beer has a longer shelf life. Plus I'm more interested in spending my brewing money on things that improve my beer quality - an RO filter is up next. It's ultimately a choice how to package, there are advantages and disadvantages (time, for one, and all that glass lying around) to both. Bottle conditioning lagers - you get a BIT of yeast on the bottom, not much (if you're doing it right and bottling bright beer). Ales, I like those bright, too, and get "brightness" through good brewing practice and fining. JA is correct about lagers, if they're not clean early, they'll never be. It's a choice, know the advantages and disadvantages of both sides, then choose. And it's not exclusive, you can always keg then bottle, bottle condition alongside your kegs....
     
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  4. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    Aside from what has already been mentioned above (great tips) I'm a kegger and have about zero desire to go back to bottles. I do keep several cases around just in case...That said, there is something about bottled beer and the carbonation that is tough to beat imo. The carbonation in bottles just has a bit of a different characteristic to me that i just don't get the same as kegged beer. Haha, still not worth bottling for me though!
     
  5. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    Live yeast? I have “live” yeast in my keg as well. Unless filtering prior to kegging, I’m not sure there’s a difference.

    “...spending my brewing money on things that improve my beer”. I think this is a great example of differences between brewers on what they want from their homebrew. Brewing being only one of my hobbies, I shoot for the convergence of time and effort vs reward. For the brewing hobby, once we've achieved beer the tastes better than our commercial counterparts, and our friends and family concur, I can focus on ways to maintain the quality and streamline the process. And Kegging is a great example... far less fiddling.
     
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  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Okay, gentlemen, I'm not arguing against kegging, just providing the OP with a differing opinion. You aren't wrong, nor am I. Remember the spirit of the place! Ski season is starting (another of my dollar drains) and I may wish for a short packaging day once I'm making the agonizing decision, package beer or ski. My other argument is variety: I can't keep enough kegs cold to provide the variety of beer I brew (and can't consume fast enough).
     
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  7. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    @Nosybear hope you didn't take my post wrong. It wasn't meant to come across in disagreement in anyway. In a nutshell my post was meant to imply that I think bottled beer is superior in some ways (carbonation) if you don't mind bottling. To me, bottles seem to give a finer, creamier head that I don't think is the same from kegs. Ymmv.
     
  8. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    Well, just to be different, I keg everything and using priming sugar in the keg. I can more accurately carbonate than with high pressure keg carbonation.
     
  9. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, way off topic, but that sounds like a great idea. Saves on CO2 and no additional effort. Kudos @Bubba Wade .
     
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  10. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Bulin it comes down to personal preference I find my lager brewing fermentations don't differ much form my ale fermentation schedule pretty much pitch at or below desired ferm temp leave three or four days let free rise to 20c sit there untill fermentations has finished. Cold crash to 0c a day or three then package into keg.

    My lagering period ale and lager is time it sits in keg untill it kicks:).
    But as with all things brewing find what suits you.
    Cheers;)
     
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  11. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I have never used priming sugar when kegging, but I suppose you would need to shorten you dip tube to leave the yeast cake behind, or count on a pint of same in your first pull or two
     
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  12. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    I bottle or keg depending on the beer. Hoppy beers go in kegs. Quaffing beers go in kegs. 5 litres of the imperial beers go in kegs. Everything else goes in bottles (so things like the sours, saisons and the rest of the imperials).
     
  13. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    I use the 2.5 gallon torpedo kegs. I usually get the first half pint with yeast, but the rest is clear. Since the keg is in the keezer, it doesn’t get jostled and the remainder of the flocculated yeast pretty much stays put until the keg is empty.
     
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