Quantcast

Conditioning - Definition

Help Support The HomeBrew Forum:

HeavensBrew

Active Member
Joined
May 1, 2020
Messages
99
Reaction score
14
I have the book 'Home Brew Beer' by Greg Hughes and the definition of conditioning raises questions for me about natural carbonation.

My understanding was that I add the priming sugar to the bottles/keg and then allow a couple of weeks at the same temperature as the fermentation process. Conditioning was then the phase that follows this and was when the beer was moved somewhere cooler for weeks/months to improve/condition.

In this book it seems that either those 2 phases are combined or I need to chill the fermenter. As a random example, the Vienna Lager recipe would be fermented at 12C, priming sugar added and then left to condition at 3C for 4 weeks.

My thought is that it should instead by: Phase 1 - Ferment at 12C, Phase 2 - Bottled/kegged with priming sugar and kept at 12C for 2 more weeks. Phase 3 - conditioning - store at 3C for 4 weeks.

However, does it rather mean: Phase 1 - Ferment at 12C, Phase 2 - conditioning - the fermenter is stored at 3C for 4 weeks.
Phase 3 - Bottled/kegged with priming sugar and kept at 12C for 2 more weeks. This second option would require a fermentation fridge to be added to the process (which I don't have).

Thoughts appreciated.....before I try any of the recipes in this book!
 

Cheshire Cat

Landlord.
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Messages
1,923
Reaction score
1,165
Location
Warrington
Interesting as I was thinking similarly. I've just bottled a Japanese rice Pilsner and I did the following
1. Fermented at 15C
2. Moved to 2FV and lagered for 15 days at 3C
3. Brought the 2FV into the house for 24 hours.
4. Bottled and primed.
5 Now leaving in the house to carbonate for 14 days.
 

terrym

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2015
Messages
7,328
Reaction score
4,144
Location
North Sussex
Greg Hughes book isn't very clear. But it could be argued that the lager section where it says 'fermentation' at 12*C covers both primary and secondary (alias carbing), followed by conditioning at 4*C
In my simple mind so long as the temperature is high enough for the yeast to be awake then carbonation will occur.
However the lower the temperature as it approaches the 'fall asleep' threshold, the longer the carbonation period.
So first will your yeast be asleep at 4*C, the answer is most probably, so carbing needs to done at a higher temperature.
Therefore I suggest you need to allow enough time for the yeast to work on the priming sugars, so at least 2 weeks for lager yeast at 12*C, maybe longer if you have bottled nearly clear. Then condition at 4*C.
But one question from someone who rarely brews lagers, isn't there a diacetyl rest step needed towards the end of the primary where the lager is raised to say 19*C or thereabouts for a few days?
 
Last edited:

HeavensBrew

Active Member
Joined
May 1, 2020
Messages
99
Reaction score
14
'2FV' means '2 x fermenting vessels'?

If I compare with recipes from the 'Big Book of Clone Recipes' they are typically 'Ferment at ?C, bottle or keg as normal.' They don't even mention conditioning or ideal 'waiting times'.
 

HeavensBrew

Active Member
Joined
May 1, 2020
Messages
99
Reaction score
14
I should have guessed that one!

So you must use a fermentation fridge. Will a fridge still be able to hold at 3C or is it a freezer conversion?
 

HeavensBrew

Active Member
Joined
May 1, 2020
Messages
99
Reaction score
14
But one question from someone who rarely brews lagers, isn't there a diacetyl rest step needed towards the end of the primary where the lager is raised to say 19*C or thereabouts for a few days?
I don't have a fermentation fridge (yet) so have never brewed a lager. For that reason I have never seen mention of a diacetyl stop either. sorry.
 

MickDundee

Landlord.
Joined
Jan 27, 2016
Messages
3,942
Reaction score
2,083
Lager is a different beast really. You ferment at 10-14C, but then you have to raise the temperature to 18C for a few days to get rid of the diacytil.

Then you can either cold condition (Lager) in secondary then bottle carbonate and condition as normal, or you can bottle it and carbonate as usual and then lager in the bottle. In either method you can carbonate at ale temperatures without it having an Ed verse effect on your beer.
 

Wynne

Active Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2016
Messages
91
Reaction score
41
Location
NULL
References to “conditioning” had me puzzled for some time. My understanding is that in brewspeak “conditioning” is the process of carbonating beer (as in “brewery-conditioned”, “cask-conditioned“, “bottle-conditioned”) and the “condition” of beer refers to how fizzy or “lively” it is. Storage of beer to allow flavour development (e.g. through yeast consuming compounds present in “green beer“) is, strictly speaking, “maturation” although, in practice, these processes often run into one another. As with all chemical and biochemical processes, both carbonation and maturation happen more quickly at room or cellar temperature than at 4C hence an temperature is usually increased to speed-up diacetyl removal when brewing lager and carbonation takes place at room temperature before storage at a cooler temperature to keep beer at its best.
 

Clint

Hammered.....
Joined
Jun 29, 2016
Messages
11,322
Reaction score
6,729
Location
North Wales
I understand conditioning is the cooler storage after carbonation..
Plus the condition you can get yourself into if you haven't brewed enough and are having to wait...
 

Galena

Landlord.
Joined
May 27, 2020
Messages
771
Reaction score
333
Location
Peak District
In Greg Hughes recipes he will typically suggest for example 4 weeks conditioning at 12C, the recipes don't mention carbonation however on page 64 of the latest edition under the section entitled Priming, Racking and Storing when talking of calculating priming sugar quantities he says "...It assumes a storing temperature of 20C (68F)" He doesn't mention a timescale, mine usually carb up in about 5 days but I always leave it at room temperature for a full 2 weeks before storing the bottles at a cooler temperature for conditioning around 12C if I can for about a month.
 

Latest posts

Top