Equipment Glossary Acknowledgements


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Chapter 8 - Fermentation

8.5 Priming and Bottling vs. Kegging

When you add the priming sugar and bottle your beer, the yeast go through the same stages of fermentation as the main batch, including the production of byproducts. If the beer is bottled early, i.e. 1 week old, then that small amount of yeast in the bottle has to do the double task of conditioning the priming byproducts as well as those from the main ferment. You could very well end up with an off-flavored batch.

Do not be confused, I am not saying that bottle conditioning is bad, but it is different than kegging or cask conditioning. Studies have shown that priming and bottle conditioning is a very unique form of fermentation due to the oxygen present in the head space of the bottle. Additional fermentables have been added to the beer to produce the carbonation, and this results in different ester profiles than those from the main fermentation. In some styles, like Belgian Strong Ale, bottle conditioning and the resultant flavors are the hallmark of the style. The flavors and aromas of the bottle-condition beer cannot be produced when the beer is kegged and force-carbonated.

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