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Author Topic: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age  (Read 2502 times)

Offline Hawoh

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Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« on: December 08, 2011, 08:54:46 PM »
Although the speed to glass is really fascinating, wouldn't a beer in the 9% ABV range still benefit from some aging?

Offline Richard

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Re: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2011, 09:15:57 PM »
I think this depends on what you are trying to achieve.

Quoting Michael Jackson: ""If you see a beer, do it a favour, and drink it. Beer was not meant to age."

I've not got any hard data to hand, but I know that many craft breweries get similar speed from grain to glass... the whole spunding valve idea is supposed to emulate the hydrostatic pressures involved with larger-scale brewing for the home brewer. Many of the attributes that you might associate with "green" beer are either reduced or avoided entirely.

Some things, like spicing, take time to mellow out. Ditto hopping (although I like my IPA so bitter it feels like it's dissolving my tongue, and more than six weeks past brew day seems to ruin this sensation). I've also noticed that spunding does not in any way accelerate clarifying, so the time you would normally be allowing maturation does not exist to help precipitate proteins and other crud out of the brew.

I think the only way to settle this would be a blind tasting. Would you (or anyone else for that matter) be down for that, if we could arrange suitable parameters?

note: post was split due to major OT creep on here lately.
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Offline Richard

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Re: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2011, 09:34:43 PM »
I would suggest two brews, a month apart, of high gravity (~1.090). Take spices out of the equation altogether, use spunding in both, take good care to note and maintain parameters (mash temps/volumes, procedure, OG/FG), use dry yeast to ensure near-identical pitching rates, and cold crash both for at least a week to clarify.
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Offline Richard

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Re: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2011, 09:50:31 PM »
Someone should find out how long DFH take G-G on their 60/90/120
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Offline Hawoh

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Re: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2011, 10:25:06 PM »
Quote from: "Richard"
Someone should find out how long DFH take G-G on their 60/90/120


I guess my original statement was far to broad in scope. This wouldn't apply to all high ABV beers, particularly hoppy brews like the 60/90/120 PAs and IPAs where fresher is better. There is context where this conversation applies.

Offline Richard

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Re: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2011, 10:50:14 PM »
That wasn't really rhetorical.. My half-assed googling didn't turn anything up.

Would be curious to see what recipes really need maturation... the only ones that come to mind involve bacteria.
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Offline fakr

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Re: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2011, 11:24:42 PM »
Interesting this topic came up, I'm performing this very test.

I've taken Richard's black ipa recipe, changed the grain bill slightly (will post shortly) and made a 11GAL batch.  OG is 1.071

OG is a little high perhaps, as Hawoh mentioned, as higher gravity brews typically taste better with aging(perhaps according to individual taste)....but at the same time, I'm with Richard on the real bitter hop taste of younger beers.

I've put 19L in a keg to be fermented under pressure, and 24L in a fermentation bucket.  Both were pitched last saturday on brew day, with equal amounts of dry yeast per volume of wort.

Today is Day 5, and the spunding valve has been turned up to allow pressure to hit 24-26psi.  I will leave it in the primary keg for 9 days total, cold crash and transfer into serving keg and let sit for an additional 3 days. Total 12 days.

I'm going to leave the fermentation bucket alone for 10 days, then transfer to a secondary and cold crash for 24 hours, then tranfer into a keg and carbonate for 2 days @ 30psi.  total 13 days.

Should be interesting.  I'm predicting that the pressure fermented beer, like previous batches, will have a very "quality" taste, with a strong "fresh" hop profile, and a very smooth, almost aged mouth feel.  Thick head too.

I find dry hopping a lot easier in the bucket, and clarity will be much better than the keg fermented brew, but I'm not so sure the mouth feel will be as good...but we'll see.

Too bad I didn't make this batch the weekend before last as I'd have a sample of each to bring up this weekend.
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Offline fakr

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Re: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2011, 11:35:47 PM »
well crap, just read through the post again and realized that I'm not performing exactly the same test as discussed.  my test is more around taste and mouthfeel difference between the two techniques.  Perhaps I should stick to my guns on grain to glass in 6-7 days with the pressure fermented batch, and let the bucket fermented batch sit for 18 days or so before kegging and carbonating...

only problem I see with this test is it will be hard to compare 6-7 day old beer with 18-20 day old beer if they were made on the same day...
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Offline Richard

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Re: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 11:38:57 PM »
Still provides a good reference for the two techniques, which hasn't been done (by us at least) yet. I'd be interested to try them both whenever the spunding batch is ready :)
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Offline fakr

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Re: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2011, 09:05:30 AM »
Here's the black ipa recipe I'm using for the experiment:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1012
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Offline Kyle

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Re: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2011, 09:10:37 AM »
My winter warmer type beer, while it is very good right now at about a week and a half from brew day, at 9%+ abv, is something that I will be brewing in the future for sure, and pull out a saved bottle to compare fresh vs aged.

I expect that the beer will improve with age, but it certainly is nice to have the hops kick so fresh.
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Offline Shawn

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Re: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2011, 03:10:55 PM »
Quote from: "Richard"
Quoting Michael Jackson: ""If you see a beer, do it a favour, and drink it. Beer was not meant to age."


That must be one of the most arguable sentences on the topic of beer. I like Michael Jackson's writings as much as the next beer geek (and I've read that quote before), but wow!

I would agree that a lot of beers aren't meant to age (and by age I mean months to years, not 8 weeks to let the flavors blend, alcohol mellow, etc.), but some are particularly excellent when aged for years... Lambics, Gueuze, RIS, Baltic Porter...

Offline Richard

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Re: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2011, 03:17:27 PM »
Arguable, I'd say, as it's largely a matter of taste...

RIS / BP would probably be good choices for an aging experiment, although I'm well aware that a large portion of the club are quite opposed to the taste of either in examples we've sampled. The others you mentioned involve bacteria, so are somewhat outside the context here.
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Offline Shawn

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Re: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2011, 03:20:39 PM »
Definitely, and taste is more subjective than most anything out there... except pain, of course.

But in this case, he's not really so much mentioning a preference of his, as he is telling his readers NOT to age beer at all, that it wasn't meant to be aged. But obviously some brewers DO mean for their beer to be aged.

Anyway, didn't mean for this to get to the nitty gritty of MJ's teachings. Although, who better to analyze, really...

Offline Richard

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Re: Grain To Glass: Speed Versus Age
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2011, 03:33:16 PM »
Yeah I suspect that he was either under the influence, or talking about aging instead of maturation. He might argue (if he were still around) that maturity varies massively, whereas ageing is the time past maturity. By that measure RIS/BP would require a long maturation period.

But now I'm just into bullshit semantics.

Mostly, the OP was talking about 9% beers - that's perhaps too general in itself. If we are to compare say Kyle's Winter Spiced Ale to something like RIS (likely the best candidate for "needs longer maturation than a couple of weeks"), my guess would be that we'd see quite a difference in the amount and way the two change.

Then as I said already, the spunding valves aren't meant to replace maturation, but instead emulate the hydrostatic pressures of larger scale brewing to reduce, not eliminate, maturation time. Mostly this is limited to green-beer flavours, and an overall reduction in ester and fusel production - i.e. the products of the yeast. The blending of ingredients such as a massive quantity of roasted malt aren't really affected by that, as that's a non-yeast issue. I guess that answers my own question.

I figure: if you drink the beer at day 9 and it tastes great, keep drinking it, but maybe consider that it's not going to be as clear as it could be, and might still improve with maturity ;)
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