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bottle conditioning

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  • #16
    You would definitely have to start packaging just after dosing the yeast or agitate the tank somehow if you are doing a run. If your tanks have agitators then it is no problem to package the beer the next day.
    Steve G


    • #17
      Bottle Conditioning

      Hmmmm...Bottle Conditioning. A far superior way of packaging beer used by some of the most successful American brewers (Sierra, Deschutes, Boulevard, Mendocino, Bridgeport)

      While I believe bottle conditioning is a great way to package beer it is extremely difficult and time consuming without the proper equipment. Yes there are several ways to do it; priming sugars, high krausening wort, partial artificial carbonation plus priming sugars, etc... The common denominator is that certain parameters must be known. Often overlooked is the CO2 volume of the beer pre-packaging, usually 1.0-1.5 volumes. Unfortunately without a precise gehaltemeter you can usually only guess or carbonate (or krausen) to approx 2.0 volumes and test with a less expensive CO2 meter. If this parameter is known then you can calculate the amount of sugar needed to achieve a final target carbonation value. The yeast then must be added and the former mentioned breweries will all add yeast different ways or with a different strain (even using a lager strain) The yeast must be mixed in the BBT so a homogenous solution is acheived. It's also nice to know the vitality of the yeast to determine proper pitching rate. As you see it's getting more complex. Some trial and error can be performed to get satisfactory results but the bottle CO2 volumes need to be tested after secondary fermentation to approve product shipment.
      In my opinion (and experience) I would only want to bottle condition if I could get it absoulutely consistent every time (OK some margin of error; +-.05 volumes) Without the proper equipment ($$$) it becomes a bit nerve-racking. Trust me, it's no fun talking to irritated customers that have had bottles explode or gush on them. They may even try to sue you for ridiculous claims, like stout-stained carpet! While I would love to bottle condition I feel without the right approach (and budget) I cannot give my customers great CONSISTENT beer at the retail level. If you can convince the monetary powers it's THE way to go then go for it and do it with great precision USING CALCULATIONS. Best of luck

      P.S. --Dr. Bill Pengelly of Deschutes wrote a great article on bottle conditioning with high krausen wort. Abstract can be viewed on MBAA site @
      or purchased from MBAA-- 1997 vo 2, pgs. 80-84
      Mike Jordan
      Boxing Cat Brewery
      Shanghai, P.R. China


      • #18
        You need to add the yeast and rouse in first. If you add finings at the correct rate this will settle seriously in 12 hours. By 24 hours is will be a solid lump. If you rouse it too vigorously then, you are liable to break up the flocs on the bottom which will be harder to settle in bottle - probably not seriously though. However, finings only fines a few times - perhaps 5 or 6 before it gives up the ghost, so if you are bottling, think about the number of "drops" (stands) it will experience, e.g. bottling tank, bottle in brewery, bottle on transfer vehicle to distribution warehouse, tansfer vehicle from distribution warehouse to point of sales, point of sales stock room to sales floor, sales floor to customers fridge - that is at least six - you are close to the limit of good fining action.



        • #19
          Bottle Conditioning

          To ensure the bottles are sterile, fill with hot liquor at >82oC for a minimum of 30min. Drain and allow to cool. Fill direct from the FV with beer that has finished conitioning, and is held at 5oC using a suitable tube. To get a decent carbonation in the bottle, add 5 - 10% by volume actively fermenting wort (krausening). Cap immeadiately after filling, rinsing the crowns in 70% ethanol. Store on their sides for 24hrs to allow for complete oxygen scavenge then store upright in a cool dark place to avoid lightstruck. I would not prime as if you do not know how much of a secondary fermentation you will get, there could be excess pressure in the bottle with a risk of the bottle exploding. Filtering and adding yeast back is a alternative, with a target of no more than 10E5 cells/ml. usomers need to be aware that there will always be a sediment with this package type. The bottles will need to be chilled (3 - 5oC), stored upright and carefully poured.
          The lack of pasteurisation will create a complex and far nicer bottled product than commercially bottled beers and particularly suits ales, stouts and bitters.


          • #20
            This is an old thread I know but could do with the help...

            Would you add auxillary finings into the fv before putting onto to chill for a few days? Then presumably adding wort into the cask with chilled beer before bottling...



            • #21
              If you add aux finings then cool and store, you will settle out a fair bit more yeast and particularly protein. If you store for that length of time cold, you may well find that there is insufficient yeast left in suspension to achieve good secondary fermentation. If you simply leave overnight, then add isinglass, you will achieve cask bright beer quite easily (works well for both 5 UK brl and up to 500 UK brl batches!!)

              If there is insufficient yeast left after addition of aux finings only, you would need to add sugar primings or krausening wort and then bottle. If you use a highly sedimentary yeast, you may find that you don't need isinglass to achieve the clarity you want. I'm afraid it is a bit of trial and error to see what quality you get with the particular yeast you are using. If you add extra yeast (to achieve 0.5, possibly as high as 1.0 mill cells / ml) and finings at the same time, you may find you don't achieve the carbonation levels you require as the yeast is smothered at the bottom of the bottle.

              Personally, I would add sucrose syrup rather than krausening, for ease of control of fermentability and final CO2, but I accept that others would far prefer to use fermenting wort. Mike Jordan's comments about controlling the final, in package CO2 level accurately and consistently are spot on. I used to brew White Shield for Bass as it was then, and we had all sorts of fun getting that right.


              • #22

                Thanks for this. I think experimentation is certainly the key. I've tried bottle conditioning with sugar (standard table not invert) and wasn't satisfied as it seemed to take away too much body. I'm going to try using speise for the first time and pitch Fermentis Safbrew F2 while keeping my fingers crossed that my calculations are correct. I have heard aux finings can taint the flavour of bottle conditioned beers but guess that isn't true.

                This is a new kit I have here (5brl) and so it's a little trial and error but all good fun. I thinking of racking into casks after 24 hours (tomorrow) and then leaving some in the fv for another day or two to allow as much yeast as possible to drop. I can then try the speise and F2 when bottling, I was thinking of step chilling but should achieve better aux mixing from a cold crash and as I'm adding new yeast, shocking the old yeast won't matter so much.

                Do you think it might be worth treating the casks as the bottles (speise + F2) - or would this only be good if I allowed the beer to ferment past the target gravity?

                Thanks for the help!


                • #23
                  You could try getting hold of small quantities of VHM (very high maltose syrup) which has a similar profile to wort. Not sure who is able to supply in small quantities, but I guess Murphys will be a good starting point.

                  If you are going to add additional separate yeast, then I suggest you would do better to add aux after it has cooled and most of the yeast has settled out, and rack it off to cask and add the aux just before running in the beer, so it mixes. The problem is that if you add fresh yeast and primings in some form or another, you cannot leave if in cask, but need to bottle it more or less straight away, otherwise the CO2 will simply vent of to atmosphere. Bearing that in mind, I would try cooling in FV and settling the bulk of the yeast, drawing off the settled yeast, add aux finings and allow to settle overnight / 24 hours, then rack off into cask, so you can add yeast and primings to just the casks prior to filling with the volume of beer you are going to bottle - again to give a degree of mixing. And finally, and shortly after mixing in the finings and fresh yeast - bottle.

                  You may find you need to add isinglass finings (in spite of previous comments) to get clear beer in bottle, in which case add the isinglass when the cask is nearly full, and when full, close up and roll around for a bit to mix - then bottle.


                  • #24
                    Thanks for the advice.

                    I did some searching and in the end found Murphy's was the best - they stock a product called Cedarex which should do nicely. I'm trying it without Isinglass first and see will see how it goes. You've been a great help, thank you!