Kegs or Bottles: Which is ready first?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by jmcnamara, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    let me preface this by saying that i just bottle right now. I have a vague notion of how kegs work, but more from my college days with a pump nozzle. If you start talking flanges, nozzles, and flux capacitors, you've gone above my head

    obviously, from a carbonation standpoint, a keg is ready almost instantly when compared to bottle carbing.

    however, some beers aren't their best when fresh, so bottle carbing kind of forces you to wait.

    Does anyone age their kegs? Has anyone experienced a month old keg to be better than one just tapped? Or do you just keep it in the fermentation vessel longer to let the beer mature there instead of in the keg?

    And what do breweries do? I can't imagine they have the space to store a lot of kegs for an extended period of time.
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    the typical beer by me is best after 30 days from brew date, that means 7 days fermenting and 3 days at room temp, strait to keg at 34 for conditioning dropping everything loose to the bottom for up to 2 weeks while slow carbing at 12psi, transfer to finished keg after 3 1/2 weeks then serve, once served its very drinkable but taste even better after the full 30 days is up.

    the only exception to that would be dry hopping or aging a high gravity beer
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I don't keg but it would seem natural carbonation - using sugar and yeast rather than bottled CO2 - would take the same time in both. There may be a difference of a day or so because of the size of the vessels but I can't see that it would be an immense difference. As to aging, I agree on the 30-day timeframe - my beers are best in a window about 30-60 days after bottling. They're drinkable before and, depending on the beer, last a while after but that's the best time.
     
  4. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    I bottle as well, and fully agree with 30-60 days, but that is a lot different than the 30 days post-brew mentioned by OMB...or am I missing something?
    Admittedly, I ferment at the absolute coldest for the yeast I am using, which means 2-3 weeks before completion, so the difference between post-brew and bottling is quite a lot for me.
     
  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    it really depends on what type of beer actually, the hoppier the beer, the less time aged
     
  6. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    so that might explain why brewpubs and such trend towards hoppier beers?
     
  7. nflamedrash

    nflamedrash Member

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    I have been kegging for years and find that I can carbonate a keg in about 5 to 6 days at 12 PSI. I have tried the 'faster' approach(using a higher PSI) but the carbonation of the beer is never consistent. Slow and steady seems to be the best approach when carbonating kegs based on my experience.

    I agree that beer in the 30 days post fermentation period tastes best based on my process. I do not filter my beers. I have a friend that uses the same process as I do but he filters his beer before kegging and it seems to taste best at the 10 to 15 day period. I am not sure why filtering would improve flavor faster but our unscientific tests seem to support the theory. To that end I do not plan on filtering, I am happy with my process.
     
  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    personally I think thats just a yuppy fad, but yes the microbreweries can get very hoppy beers out faster
     
  9. EbonHawk

    EbonHawk New Member

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    Definitely a yuppie fad, but also with all those extra hops smacking you about the nose and tongue...you can hide some other flaws better with higher hop levels. The brewery I volunteer at from time to time (in my opinion) "rushes" some of their beers to distribution. It's much harder for me to detect any flaws in the final product if they're hopped to hell and back. But I'm not in charge, so I don't have any say in the process whatsoever.

    I think kegging is ready much faster than bottle condition, and I've done both (more bottling, but have done some kegging too) and the kegs are always carbed before the bottles. Sometimes it's only a few days; but other times it's many days or even a week if it's a beer that I cold-stored right before bottling. The pilsner I did recently took an extra week (over 2 weeks total) to get good and carbed, while the keg carbed up in just a few days. All of my latest batches have been split between bottles and kegs.
     
  10. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    some times the reason one beer carbs faster than another is its actually carbing in the fermenter, Ive went round and round trying to figure this out but finally after pulling off the lid and getting a nose of carbonation burn it hit me
     
  11. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    If I'm understanding everyone, a kegged beer can be drank sooner than a bottled beer, but they'll both be good to drink at the same time?
     
  12. OAE Iceman

    OAE Iceman Member

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    All I do is keg and for me the beer is always a heck of a lot better when I let it sit in the keg for at least 3 weeks after fermentation. Some stouts for even longer. The beer will be carbonated in a week or so but I find the flavor improves with age.
     
  13. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    yes the main issue is gravity, all particles floating in the beer will eventually drop to the bottom of any vessel, what we call aging is actually this very process, you can speed up gravity by using very cold temperatures but it still has to drop eventually, the issue with kegging is the pickup tube is on the bottom so gravity is basically drawing solids right into our glass of beer. what we call finished or better beer is actually when all solids have dropped. If we use soda kegs the tube picks up the solids as where drinking it and once its all gone the beer seems to improve, but the beer its self hasn't changed at all its really not any different, its just an illusion based on those loose particles floating around. I can drink mine faster just because I cut my tubes an inch off the bottom so it holds more particles before hitting the dip tube making it seem faster.
     

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