Home brewing
June 29, 2004 9:05 PM   Subscribe

HomeBrewFilter. 7 days after bottling, I tapped one of the minikegs, just to see what it would taste like (I also tasted after the boil, and again at bottling time). I know the beer needs to be in the bottles for at least 2 weeks, preferably 3 or 4. But have I endangered it at all by opening it, tapping it, and putting it under forced CO2? Secondarily, how much is the flavor going to improve over the next 7 days? It's heady as hell, sweet, and actually not very beer-like right now.

oops - following on this thread:

posted by scarabic to Food & Drink (13 answers total)
Damn, another wet behind the ears brewer. What is so hard about following directions?!

Anyway, it could go either way. Probably not, but possible. BTW, it's supposed to be sweet and not very beer like right now.
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:13 PM on June 29, 2004

Back off dude! Let the magic yeasties work.

It's not beer-like right now because it's not beer.
posted by vito90 at 9:14 PM on June 29, 2004

Geez, go easy. I sampled it out of curiosity. Since it's in a keg, I will continue taking small samples as it progresses so I can get a sense of what's ripe and unripe. I am not incredibly experienced, and didn't know what it would be like. Now I know!
posted by scarabic at 9:22 PM on June 29, 2004

You think these guys are bad? I had a friend unable to join a brewing club because his first homebrew was with Mr. Beer. Homebrewers, like all hardcore hobbyists, are snobs.

You may have lost (emphasis on may) this batch, as CO2 on living lifeforms is almost never good. I'm not that into homebrew make a definitive judgement but I think you may have just killed your yeast. Do not despair, as you will still be able to get drunk off your product. Though if the yeasts died early it won't be as strong.

Again this is from my limited knowledge of biology, listening to people talk about homebrewing, and know-it-all-ism.
posted by geoff. at 9:30 PM on June 29, 2004

No offense to anyone, but no way I would let someone in my brewing club if they only had Mr. Beer experience. It's not about being a snob, it's about being an artist.
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:35 PM on June 29, 2004

oh god, you did not just say that.
posted by Hackworth at 10:13 PM on June 29, 2004

Yeah, um Keyser: chill out.

CO2 on living lifeforms is almost never good.

But CO2 is one of the main products of the bottling phase! The beer is naturally producing and dissolving lots of CO2. It's hardly poison. It is possible that by saturating the solution with it, I'm going to slow down the natural processes that need to keep on happening, though. I don't know.

Any word on that from the Artist-Formerly-Known-As-Keyser Soze?
posted by scarabic at 11:04 PM on June 29, 2004

I'd be a bit nebbish about leaving the proto-beer under pressure. As the yeast continues to produce CO2, it needs to vent lest it get all 'splodey.

But then again, I come from the Chaos Method of homebrewing where random elements get tossed in at random moments, no notes are taken, and my last two brews have been PBR clones.

When tasting, tho, you don't really need to put it under pressure. Just stick in your sterile sampler, swipe some beer, and re-apply the airlock.

Strange flavors could also be a "house flavor" or bug that lurks about your brewing area. You have to just come to expect them and adjust you methods accordingly. Example: Beer in my old apartment would be a bit bitterer than a similar batch made at a friend's house. I just had to learn to adjust my beertools.com recipies and all was good!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:10 AM on June 30, 2004

It is now beer as the fermentation phase is complete and the bottling has already occured. To generate the carbonation some sugar or other fermentable is added at bottling and the yeast ferments that to produce CO2 for carbonation. Until that process is complete it will taste sweet from the sugar. I am not sure whether adding CO2 will affect this fermentation. I doubt it (although you could get an overpressure so you might want to vent a little of the CO2). You might want to ask this question over at rec.arts.brewing. If you don't have a usenet account you can access it through Google Newsgroups.
posted by caddis at 7:04 AM on June 30, 2004

I looked it up and it appears I forgot all about how anaerobic respiration works. It's taking pyruvic acid and changing it to alcohol and CO2. I'm sure you could figure out the efficiency in the production of pyruvic acid to alcohol and CO2, what ratios they occur in and somehow derive the pressure amount of CO2. Or you can let a little CO2 out just to be safe. I have seen a few kegs in my day, and they all look pretty solidly built. My guess is that if the CO2 production was a lot, kegs wouldn't need to be pressurized with a huge CO2 tank. But, then again, as you can tell I make a lot of wrong guesses. I'm sure you're generally fine.

For clarification only, my friend doesn't use Mr. Beer now, he did for his first batch. He now uses custom brewing stuff, with you know imported hops and all kinds of shit.
posted by geoff. at 8:51 AM on June 30, 2004

After you've fermeted the wort, it is beer. Flat and warm, but beer. Some people swear by "bottle conditioning" (adding sucrose to the beer in the bottling stage to restart yeast CO2 production and carbonate the beer in the bottle). I personally don't like it, as the sugar is never completely digested by the half-dead yeast and it leaves you with that heady, sweet funk taste. I prefer to force carbonate in corn kegs, but the CO2 regulators and tanks are fairly expensive. If you do ever choose to go this route, note that CO2 absorption depends greatly on temp. and pressure. I have found that 30psi at room temp. for a couple of days provides the desired head and carbonation to my beer. There are complicated tables and calculators if you need a different CO2 volume (per the style of beer you're brewing).
posted by maniactown at 9:52 AM on June 30, 2004

Oh, and to actually answer your questions:
a) Force carbonation is the way to go! Good job.
b) The flavor of the beer will improve greatly for about 2 weeks (I call this "curing" but I don't know if that's the right term) after bottling/kegging.

posted by maniactown at 9:56 AM on June 30, 2004

I'm not really sure the kegging system I use provides enough pressure to actually force carbonate. I think it's just enough to keep the stuff from going flat as it empties. I did add sugar at bottling time, so I think I will vent it a little and hope for the best in another week. The boy in question might be a little flat at the end, but thankfully it's only 1 of 6, and I did learn a thing or two here, thanks to you all.

posted by scarabic at 11:55 AM on June 30, 2004

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