Carbonation

Make grain beers with the absolute minimum of equipment. Discuss here.
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Meatymc
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Carbonation

Post by Meatymc » Wed May 11, 2016 3:36 pm

I've always bottled and will continue for the forseeable. So far I've syphoned off into a primed 2nd vessel when fermentation is done but then gone straight into bottle - less than an hour between the 2 operations. The more I read though the more it seems this is wrong and I should be transferring to cask for at least a couple of weeks (being careful about infection) and then bottle.

Graham Wheeler states in this situation you should prime the cask (50g of cane/80g extract). As all my brews so far have been at least 5.5% proof this means the brew could be in the cask for 4+ weeks before I bottle. Am I not then bottling carbonated beer and could loose carbo' in the bottling process? Do I add more 'fermentable' to the bottles to compensate? Isn't the risk of infection getting greater??

Any advice welcome - as usual.

PS - Walesales, haven't forgotten I owe you one. It will happen as soon as I've something worthy of your opinion!!

oldbloke
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Re: Carbonation

Post by oldbloke » Wed May 11, 2016 10:05 pm

I don't do a lot of ale, I'm mostly wine and cider, but I go straight from the primary to bottle, with priming sugar in each bottle - doesn't take that long really, if you zen out.
Mind you I only do one can kits + spraymalt, the exact method may matter more when you get onto all-grain.
My way you get a sizable yeast deposit in the bottle. The other way you probably don't. I just pour carefully, and yeast isn't bad for you anyway (though it may make you fart)

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Kev888
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Re: Carbonation

Post by Kev888 » Wed May 11, 2016 11:06 pm

EDIT: misunderstood the OP - waffle deleted!
Last edited by Kev888 on Thu May 12, 2016 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Kev

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PhilB
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Re: Carbonation

Post by PhilB » Thu May 12, 2016 10:21 am

Hi Kev,
Kev888 wrote:Not sure if theres a slight misunderstanding of things here.
... no, Graham does indeed recommend (insist even) that ALL beer should be bulk matured in cask before consumption or bottling :? ... Mumbler put the effort into typing out a quote over there (link) :?

Hi Meaty, personally I've always read the packaging, priming, fining and dispense sections of those books of Graham's assuming that they were (at least) heavily influenced (if not completely rewritten) by the editor(s) at the publishers (you do know they're published by CAMRA, right? :? :wink: ) ... but if you read up and down that thread that Mumbler quoted him in, that I linked to above, you'll see some of the pros and cons of bulk maturing discussed there :wink:

Cheers, PhilB

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Kev888
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Re: Carbonation

Post by Kev888 » Thu May 12, 2016 10:40 am

Ah, I see, sorry I missed the cask bit, thought we were talking about fermenters. Thanks for the correction, I shall delete the misguided waffle above!

Yep, if it is being matured in a sealed pressure vessel then priming can happen sooner if you wish, a little carbonation will be lost when transferring to bottles but not much if done carefully. Though bottling carbonated beer is more of a challenge due to the tendency to foam, chilling the cask/keg first can help and so can counterpressure bottlers. Priming at bottling (after maturation) may still be easier in that respect, though if the beer is 'really' bright by that point (somewhat unlikely perhaps) some more yeast could need introducing so that adds complexity too; pros and cons.
Kev

Meatymc
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Re: Carbonation

Post by Meatymc » Thu May 12, 2016 2:30 pm

Cheers guys and thanks for the link PhilB.

As often is the case there are a variety of opinions and no perfect solution but I suppose that should be the way - we all have different tastes and preferences.

I only bottle as it suits me - not even fussed about the extra sourcing/cleaning/steralising/priming etc it entails. Wanted an easy move from kits without costing the earth so have been restricting myself to 14 litre brews. I need to ramp that up though as we're doing a house up and brewing days are intermitent - all my old stock has now gone (had a healthy running stock of around 120 pints) and I'm breaking into my BIAB which I had hoped to keep for a minimum of 3 months. Adding yet another stage/delay to the process doesn't really appeal so i might stick to how I do things now for the time being.

Haven't been sparging due to lack of kit but am going to try and cobble something together so I can at least get a few extra litres out of the grain. Not going to be the recommended 'sprinking' action - more of a gentle dunking so won't be that efficient but given the high alcohol content I've been generating so far that might not be a bad thing to end up with a lower gravity overall.

Thanks again

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Kev888
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Re: Carbonation

Post by Kev888 » Thu May 12, 2016 4:45 pm

Yes, different people have their own preferences and must sometimes go with what is practical for them rather than what is ideal. In this case its not necessarily black and white, some people give the beer more time than others to settle before bottling, and after a while that almost intrinsically involves some maturation, whether in a fermenter or a cask/keg.

It would be worth racking to a second FV if you ever start intending to leave the beer in there for weeks on end, to avoid autolysis issues. It can also allow the use of a better sealed fermenter if your primary fermenter is a bit lacking in that respect, or even a pressure barrel. Though don't get overly paranoid and rack prematurely; I'd at least wait until some time after FG is reached, in order to let plenty of yeast settle out first, otherwise they will settle in the second vessel and partly negate the purpose.

If you get interested in maturation, at some point in the future you may wish to consider stainless kegs or casks and some sort of temperature control for them, to let you manage things more closely.
Kev

Simonh82

Re: Carbonation

Post by Simonh82 » Fri May 13, 2016 11:46 am

I like Graham Wheeler's book but have completely ignored the bit about cask conditioning before bottling. As has been noted, it is a CAMRA book and CAMRA are dedicated to the preservation of cask conditioned real ale. They did a great job of saving cask conditioned beer from the bland keg beers that the large breweries were trying to foist on people in the 1970/80s but that's not what most of us are making. Still, I guess they couldn't publish a book that didn't include cask conditioning your beer.

On a homebrew scale there may be some perceptible benefit to cask conditioning but I've not tried it and I have been very happy with the results of bottle conditioning beer.

One thing to consider when bottling from a cask is that Wheeler suggests quite low levels of carbonation, which fits with the style of British beers. This might allow for bottling without too much foaming but if you were making a different beer style and primed with a larger amount of sugar you may have difficulty.

lefkasman

Re: Carbonation

Post by lefkasman » Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:18 pm

Simonh82 wrote:I like Graham Wheeler's book but have completely ignored the bit about cask conditioning before bottling. As has been noted, it is a CAMRA book and CAMRA are dedicated to the preservation of cask conditioned real ale. They did a great job of saving cask conditioned beer from the bland keg beers that the large breweries were trying to foist on people in the 1970/80s but that's not what most of us are making. Still, I guess they couldn't publish a book that didn't include cask conditioning your beer.

On a homebrew scale there may be some perceptible benefit to cask conditioning but I've not tried it and I have been very happy with the results of bottle conditioning beer.

One thing to consider when bottling from a cask is that Wheeler suggests quite low levels of carbonation, which fits with the style of British beers. This might allow for bottling without too much foaming but if you were making a different beer style and primed with a larger amount of sugar you may have difficulty.
I always bottle my brews and usually chuck in 60 GMs of sugar per 24 ltrs. The beer is great. But I've just been drinking some that's been in the bottle for 6 months and its a bit fizzy.
I may be wrong but the longer you are going to keep it the less sugar I would put in.
I may even risk doing a brew with no sugar at all.

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