Lagering an ale?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by wolfie7873, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. wolfie7873

    wolfie7873 Member

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    Here's the sitch:

    I brewed an amber ale on New Years. 2 weeks in Primary, no secondary, 4 weeks bottle conditioned. Place a handful of bottles in the fridge. Tasted one a few hours later and it was meh. Fast forward to the other day (about another 4 weeks) grabbed another from the fridge and the taste had markedly improved. That's not unexpected. What was different to me was how much cleaner looking the beer was. It poured with the clarity of a commercial beer. When I put a few more beers from this batch into the fridge and chilled them, I still got the taste improvement, but not the clarity improvement. The questions are:

    1) will cold conditioning always improve clarity even in ales? (I know this is a step in lager-style beers)
    2) can I still achieve the clarity with the ambient stock if I lager it in the fridge?
    3) How long to achieve the clarity improvement in the fridge? (hopefully not a full four weeks?)
     
  2. social_misfit

    social_misfit New Member

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    do you cold crash before you bottle ? cold crashing will help to make a clearer beer

    I cold crash in the primary for 48 to 72 hours before I keg, I do 11.5 gallon batches so I get two kegs

    the first keg will be clear but the second kegs sits in the cold for a much longer time is clear like glass

    so cold conditioning does appear to give you a much clearer ale

    all the best

    S_M
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I'm assuming you're bottle conditioning and not bottling kegged beer? If so, no surprise. Bottle conditioned beer improves over time (to a certain point, then it begins to decline). That point varies from beer to beer and yeast to yeast but I generally see improvement up to about six months' shelf life. After that, the inevitable bacterium or three reproduce to the point where their off flavors become noticeable, then it's time to dump. The yeast in a bottle-conditioned, unfiltered beer continue to work, cleaning out off-flavors and sucking up oxygen, the true enemy of stored beer. Cold, too, helps by precipitating out yeast and tannins (harsh, astringent flavors). The fluid column of a bottle is not as tall as a keg so that process works faster in bottles. I've heard keggers say the best pint is always the last - that's where the most settling has happened. There are advantages to both processes but I still bottle and, even if I do someday decide to keg, my best beers will always be stored in glass.
     
  4. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    unless your carbonating in a bottle always store your beer cold, test have been made by huge corporations extensively proving flavor will diminish greatly the warmer beer is stored, doesn't matter what container.

    as for the clarity, all particles get excited the warmer they are and rise to the top, the colder it is particles will drop into suspension and fall to the bottom (gravity). so yes if enough time is given
     
  5. KingPaul

    KingPaul New Member

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    Opening this one again.

    My plan is to do this. I've got a American Pale Ale in fermenter. I only do primary fermentation, and usually leave it in the FV for up to 3 weeks. Can I after 3 weeks move it to a fridge for another week to help clear the beer? And what if I also want to dry-hop? Or add finings? I was hoping to ad 1oz of Amarillo for the last 4-5 days before bottling? Do I dry-hop while FV is in the fridge for last 4 days? Or should I just forget about having clear beer and concentrate on having good tasting beer? I'm fine with hazy beer, after all, we all have livers to deal with haze :lol: but some of my commercial lager drinking friends frown upon hazy beer.
     
  6. wolfie7873

    wolfie7873 Member

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    I wouldn't worry about adding any finings. They're just not necessary. My question would be are you going to keg or bottle? If you're going to bottle, you need *some* of the yeast left in suspension while you condition for carbonation. I've found that about 2 weeks undisturbed (i.e., not in the door that swings open several times a day) in the fridge will clear a beer right up. If you're going to keg, then yes, a week or two in the fridge before you rack to the keg should do the trick.
     

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