Flat Beer, I love it!

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Hazydays

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I really enjoy a traditional cask conditioned bitter served from a hand pump. I have found that if you buy the same beer in a can or bottle they seem to be massively over carbonated, First question- why is this? In terms of my own home brew I bottle my beer in 500ml bottles, last time I made an IPA and used one carbonisation drop in each bottle. This was a little less than recommended, but turned out pretty good. A nice soft frothy head but with a light subtle fizz. However I would like to try talking this a little further. I saw a guy on YouTube who bottled a “Landlord” clone without any gas or sugar, and claimed it tasted much more like what you would drink in a pub. Second question - what are the implications of bottling with ultra low sugar and no gas? Will the beer spoil, or have a shorter life?
 

DrFish

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I'd be interested in opinions on this, as I'm not a fan of fizzy beer.
 

Nicks90

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I always under carb my English ales and bitters, as like you I don't like fizzy beer

Don't get me wrong, some styles it's suits. American ipas need high carb to get that hop profile up your nose, and saisons should be a mouthful of peppery super dry fizz... But ale? No

I would highly recommend the fizzics draught pour beer engine dispenser thing. I always use it on my ales and it 'knocks' the remaining fizz out and creates a beautiful creamy head.
 
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@Hazydays whether it's better or worse is a subjective thing but certainly I agree with you there's a big difference between hand pumped cask ale and kegged or bottled versions.

I think the risk of having little or no carbonation is you're leaving the beer exposed to oxygen so it'll quickly oxidise/go stale - feel free to search to forum for discussions on the wisdom of CAMRAs policy around this point!

I think a lot of homebrewing advice is skewed by the dominance of American content, a nation that seems to prefer their beer colder and more carbonated.

So when I was bottling beers I found myself gradually reducing the amount of priming sugar to get the level of carbonation I like in my beers - for me the actual number of volumes of CO2 is irrelevant, it's about what you like.

Now I've switched to kegs I'm doing similar:

I've raised the temperature of my kegerator from 6 to 8degC - important because CO2 dissolves more readily at lower temperatures (=> more fizzy)...

...and also backed off my regulator from 15 to 10-12psi - again, it's just a number on a dial, I prefer to go with my taste buds.

I felt 6degC was fine for American IPAs but too cold too properly taste my Bitters, Porters & Stouts. Of course it'll warm up eventually but I'm happier serving at 8degC (for the bitter I currently have on I could still go a tad warmer, but it's a good compromise for different styles).

And having dropped the pressure a bit the level of carbonation is closer to a traditional hand pumped cask beer - it's still a bit higher than that I think, but nowhere near the level of carbonation of bottled bitters you can buy in the supermarket.

Final point I'll say is I consider myself lucky to have reached a point in my brewing where I can worry about these little details. Having said that, I have a feeling that packaging and dispense, however you do it, is an important but much overlooked aspect of the hobby.
 

Nicks90

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I'm lucky that the cellar under my kitchen sits about 10-12c all year round. So my bottles get stored in there for conditioning - which happens to be a great serving temp for most English ales.


Also happens to fall in the perfect temp range for storing wines. Cellars for the win.
 

Cwrw666

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As to oxydation from headspace - it shouldn't matter how much carbonation you use as the quantity of oxygen present will be the same. So only use about 1 cm headspace in either case.
 

jof

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I also use low carbonation on my bottles.
Batch priming about 60 - 80g of sugar for a nominal 40 pint batch.
But I do get disappointed by the lack of froth, so for the currently conditioning batch I'm trying 100g - 2.5g per bottle.
 

Kit-brewer

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I think it's close to impossible to replicate the hand pulled mouth-feel of a beer from a bottle. It is easier to achieve with little or no carbonation. The best way to achieve it, in my opinion, is to always decant into a jug, this will get rid of any excess carbonation, then to pout from a reasonable height into a glass. This will aerate the beer as required and give the beer the body of a good hand pulled pint.
I am too lazy to do this often! I am normally just standing with a bottle slurping the excess foam of my glass before topping it up. But as a purely kit maker the nuances of a properly brewed UK style beer will benefit from aeration in this way.
 

Richard_H

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If I'm going for a traditional English ale I will always under prime, I will mash at a slightly higher temperature after about 30 minutes to give the beer slightly more body. Also I find they take longer when bottle conditioning, but eventually will produce a nice thick head without much carbonation (sometimes pouring from higher is needed) A small amount of wheat malt also helps.

I have had to use the above jug method with over carbonated beer and that could be a much easier solution
 

The Furnace Green Brewer

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Hi all just finishing a ESB clone made with LME pretty good head rention to the last drop, I do leave my ales for 8-12 weeks to mature.

By the way I am tinking of moving on to cornys how long does the product keep in one?
 

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