Flavour stability

Physics, chemistry and biology of brewing. The causes and the effects.

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Flavour stability

Postby jayhawk » Thu Dec 26, 2002 3:24 pm

What various techniques can a homebrewer employ to increase the flavour stability of a beer? With bottle conditioning, I find that I prefer my fairly "regular" beers (ie pale ales, red ales)within the first three weeks after bottling. I love the fresh taste and there is still a lot of distinction among the various malt flavours. As well, the hop aroma, flavour and bitterness is, in my opinion, at its peak during this time frame as well.

Obviously, with some styles, extended bottle conditioning is desired to mellow out certain flavours. But with my more standard brews, I would like to preserve the fresh malty taste.

I am thinking the likely canidates in preserving flavours/halting yeast activity are filtering and/or cold conditioning. Am I on the right track with these guesses?
Chris
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I think so

Postby Gravity Thrills » Fri Dec 27, 2002 8:51 pm

I find that my standard beers are decidedly green for the first week in the keg, they lose their rough edges during the second week, and are at a happy balance of balanced yet "brewery-fresh" at 2-3 weeks. The flavo(u)r - complete with Canuk-friendly spelling insert :-) - in the kegged/force carb'd beer is a lot more stable than the same beer when I prime and bottle. So I'd say yes, crash the temp or fine/filter out the yeast and artificially carbonate and cold-condition if you want the most stable beer you can make. Then again, that adds so much more necessary gear and complexity, maybe you and your buds just need to rise to the challenge and drink each batch in the first three weeks? I know, life is tough sometimes.

Oh yeah, what the heck is Boxing Day all about? The Great White North transplants down here couldn't enlighten me, and only knew that was when the stores had their big sales....

Cheers,
Jim
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You are on the right track.

Postby Brewer2001 » Sun Dec 29, 2002 12:56 am

Chris,

I agree with Jim, that force carbonation over the 'short haul' tends to be more 'stable' if you keep the O2 out. That being said, (read the article in BYO by Steve Parks) if you filter before packaging you have to mature the green beer first. This is how the majors get more consistancy in their packaged products.

Something I observed first hand was the affect of filtering on the 'real ale flavor' that went to bottling. We filtered a batch of ale, for bottling, through a series of filters (1 micron and 0.5 micron)to produce a 'shelf stable' product. Being the students, we wanted to taste samples from all three points in the system, so we drew off three pitchers. One unfiltered, one partially filtered and one polished. The first sample tasted great, craft ale at its best (slight taste of yeast and good malt character). Second sample was disappointing at best all the good attributes were gone and very harsh unfinished flavors remained. The third sample was much better, the harshness was reduced and some of the malt flavor was retained, but it was far less than the original. The brewer and the owner hated to subject this fine ale to this abuse, but they needed the stability. I can't name names, but a rather large 'retailer' had stored a pallet of this same ale on a top storage shelf in an unairconditioned 'warehouse' for about a month. The brewery had to replace the entire shipment, pay for the returnsof the retail customers and try to salvage the account (AARH!)

The point is that the yeast will help mature and protect your beer, if you can keep it cool for the longer storage. Cask conditioned ales were tapped and served 'fresh' (within a week or two after being shipped from the brewery).

If you are going to filter, do it completely and package the ale in the condition you wish to drink it. Again keep it at least cool during storage.

Good brewing,

Tom
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Digestion

Postby jayhawk » Sun Dec 29, 2002 3:19 pm

I don't know the true origin of boxing day. The sales are incredible, it is the biggest shopping day of the year. All I know is that for most folks it's another day off after Christmas.
Chris
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Tough it out for now

Postby jayhawk » Sun Dec 29, 2002 3:22 pm

In my brewing glass I can forsee kegs and a beer fridge in the next year. Until then, I will just have to enjoy the home brewed nature of the beer, which is great. It could be that I am trying to cater too much to the tastes of friends and family, some of whom love the homebrew, and some of who can't get enough Bud Lite. Happy Holidays.
Chris
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Get the oxygen out

Postby fitz » Mon Dec 30, 2002 3:51 am

If you want to save the flavor of the new beer, they sell oxygen absorbing caps the keep the beer tasting "new" longer. Also, make sure you use a secondary fermenter. The more dead yeasts you get out of the beer, the better it will taste for a longer period. Since you said you were bottle conditioning, the yeasts, after they have eaten all the fermentables, go a little cannabalistic. In an effort to stay alive, they start eating the dead yeast cells. That and the oxygen iswhat gives your beer the off flavors after they have set for a while.
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