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How Do Commercial Breweries Bottle Condition?

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gmc

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Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone knows how commercial breweries bottle condition beers, for example St Austell's Proper Job.

!

The one thing that I really dislike about my home brew is the big yeast deposit at the bottom of the bottle and having to pour in a certain way, leaving beer behind, to prevent yeast getting into the glass. It would be nice if I could pour the whole thing or even drink it from the bottle. Its especially a pain when you give a home brew to a friend and you know they are not going to remember the instructions you give them!

Proper Job does not have any instructions on the label about leaving beer behind when pouring. I poured the whole thing to the bottom just to see and there was absolutely no sediment or yeast nor was there anything stuck to the bottom of the bottle. It's also plenty carbed.

Do these breweries use secondaries to separate the yeast or is it filtering? Perhaps its only the final bit of conditioning thats done in the bottle and its largely conditioned beforehand with some light carbonation added?

Would love to know, because I would like to modify my brewing technique to achieve bottling like this if it's at all possible with the usual modest home brew gear.
 

VW911

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Don't know about beer, but cider manufacturers use a machine to "inject" CO2 just before capping the bottles. I suspect the process is pretty similar for beer...
 

fury_tea

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Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone knows how commercial breweries bottle condition beers, for example St Austell's Proper Job.

!

The one thing that I really dislike about my home brew is the big yeast deposit at the bottom of the bottle and having to pour in a certain way, leaving beer behind, to prevent yeast getting into the glass. It would be nice if I could pour the whole thing or even drink it from the bottle. Its especially a pain when you give a home brew to a friend and you know they are not going to remember the instructions you give them!

Proper Job does not have any instructions on the label about leaving beer behind when pouring. I poured the whole thing to the bottom just to see and there was absolutely no sediment or yeast nor was there anything stuck to the bottom of the bottle. It's also plenty carbed.

Do these breweries use secondaries to separate the yeast or is it filtering? Perhaps its only the final bit of conditioning thats done in the bottle and its largely conditioned beforehand with some light carbonation added?

Would love to know, because I would like to modify my brewing technique to achieve bottling like this if it's at all possible with the usual modest home brew gear.
Yep research kegerators & keezers using Cornelius kegs. You use a technique called force carbonation to push co2 into the beer. You can have fine control over the carbonation levels and pour pub quality pints at home. You can also bottle using something like a "beer gun" or "counter pressure bottle filler".

The benefits are immense from cutting down time spent bottling to having multiple beers on tap in your home.

Check it out and if you have any questions there's loads of people who do it and since I started I could never go back.
 

foxy

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Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone knows how commercial breweries bottle condition beers, for example St Austell's Proper Job.

!

The one thing that I really dislike about my home brew is the big yeast deposit at the bottom of the bottle and having to pour in a certain way, leaving beer behind, to prevent yeast getting into the glass. It would be nice if I could pour the whole thing or even drink it from the bottle. Its especially a pain when you give a home brew to a friend and you know they are not going to remember the instructions you give them!

Proper Job does not have any instructions on the label about leaving beer behind when pouring. I poured the whole thing to the bottom just to see and there was absolutely no sediment or yeast nor was there anything stuck to the bottom of the bottle. It's also plenty carbed.

Do these breweries use secondaries to separate the yeast or is it filtering? Perhaps its only the final bit of conditioning thats done in the bottle and its largely conditioned beforehand with some light carbonation added?

Would love to know, because I would like to modify my brewing technique to achieve bottling like this if it's at all possible with the usual modest home brew gear.
You will never be able to drink from the bottle. Cold crash your beer to -1C or if a stronger beer -2 C no good poof arsing around at 6 or 7 C. You will still get yeast into the bottle to carbonate and you will still get a yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Commercial breweries do filter. Days gone by they would have been doing it the same way as home brewers. Coopers bottle condition and they have a sediment at the bottom of the bottle.
Get the wort as clear as possible into the fermenter you only then have hops, if you dry hop loose, yeast and maybe a little cold break to deal with.
 

RichardM

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Don't know about beer, but cider manufacturers use a machine to "inject" CO2 just before capping the bottles. I suspect the process is pretty similar for beer...
Yep research kegerators & keezers using Cornelius kegs. You use a technique called force carbonation to push co2 into the beer. You can have fine control over the carbonation levels and pour pub quality pints at home. You can also bottle using something like a "beer gun" or "counter pressure bottle filler".

The benefits are immense from cutting down time spent bottling to having multiple beers on tap in your home.

Check it out and if you have any questions there's loads of people who do it and since I started I could never go back.
Neither of those are bottle conditioning though, which is what the OP was asking about.
 

gmc

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Neither of those are bottle conditioning though, which is what the OP was asking about.
This is true.

This specific commercial beer I mentioned is bottle conditioned "apparently" and has no yeast or sediment. I am aware that I can pressurise the beer with c02 without the need to condition it in the bottle, but I don't know if or how it is possible to produce a bottled beer like 'Proper Job' with the gear that normal home brewers have.
 

Sadfield

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The St. Austell website says, "All our bottled, canned (Tribute 500ml and Korev 330ml) and kegged beers are clarified by filtration, therefore they do not contain any added isinglass finings. St Austell bottled, canned and kegged beers may therefore be consumed by vegetarians and vegans". So, they then must add or leave just enough yeast to condition, which won't be very much.

Filtering at homebrew level is possible, but requires pressure transfer through the filter. You'd then need to bottle from the keg, which is easy enough with a beer gun. Easier to give the beer more time to drop bright before transferring to a bottling bucket, then re-seed with yeast and priming solution.

Practical Guide to Filtration - Brew Your Own
 
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jeg3

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I asked Wye Valley about their yeast and got a very good reply. They leave their beer a couple of degrees above their desired FG, filter out any residual yeast and add a precise amount of their primary strain to each bottle
 

RichardM

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This is true.

This specific commercial beer I mentioned is bottle conditioned "apparently" and has no yeast or sediment. I am aware that I can pressurise the beer with c02 without the need to condition it in the bottle, but I don't know if or how it is possible to produce a bottled beer like 'Proper Job' with the gear that normal home brewers have.
I don't know how they do it but Proper Job does contain yeast. I (and others on this forum) have used the dregs from a bottle of PJ to make a starter.
 

Coffin Dodger

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Bottles of Proper Job used to have a top that said ‘Pour Proper’ on it, alerting people for the need to decant it carefully. Pity they discontinued them. I’ve always found a trace of yeast in the dregs.
 

gmc

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Thanks for all this info. It looks like I won't really be able to change up my bottle conditioning technique without a large investment.

Instead, I might try using a secondary and do 2 weeks primary, 2 weeks secondary, 2 weeks in the bottle rather than 3 weeks primary and 3 weeks in the bottle. Maybe that will reduce my sediment and yeast a bit more
 

RichardM

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Do you cold crash? After primary fermentation you could transfer to another bucket, cold crash for a couple of weeks, then transfer to another bucket for batch priming and bottling. You'll be surprised at how much solid matter will drop out over two weeks at 1 centigrade.
 

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If you do some research on here, there are some yeasts that are known to be very sticky. I don't know any myself but I've seen it discussed at length in a few threads. I was really impressed with crossmyloof Cali common but I've only used it once so wouldn't say it's tried and tested.

I've also read on this forum that some breweries use a different conditioning yeast at bottling stage. I think this was mainly an old fashioned technique used to protect their brewery yeast being reproduced at another brewery. Back then the yeast was a breweries "secret sauce".

I find proper job varies from bottle to bottle with the amount of yeast in the bottle.

Personally I find cold crashing and as careful as possible syphoning the best method. I wrap a rolling pin in a tea towel to tilt the FV and use a peg to lower the syphon. I label the last few bottles as such and leave them till last and make sure I don't hand them out.

You could transfer to a secondary FV/bottling bucket with a tap and bottle from that but the general consensus on this forum is not worth the hassle and increased risk of oxidation. End of the day it's your beer and your preference.

Hope this helps.
 

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Like Scottyburto says, get a stickier yeast. S-04 sticks pretty well to the bottom of the bottle. Coopers yeast sticks better than S-04. There are some other British yeasts out there stickier still. Leaving you beer in the fridge for 4-5 days before pouring helps it compact and stick even more.

Both of these yeasts I can get most every drop out of the bottle and not disturb the yeast cake.
 

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I cold crash to 4C or below then fine in the original fermenter before transfer to serving keg/bottling bucket. This gives me clear beer with low levels of yeast sediment. It does take up refrigeration capacity unless the ambient temperature is low (like now). Lallemand Nottingham yeast is another “sticky” one.
 

gmc

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Do you cold crash? After primary fermentation you could transfer to another bucket, cold crash for a couple of weeks, then transfer to another bucket for batch priming and bottling. You'll be surprised at how much solid matter will drop out over two weeks at 1 centigrade.
I don't have facilities to cold crash unfortunately. I have a beer fridge that I use to chill the beers for 2 weeks after they are bottle conditioned at room temperature. Not big enough for my fermentor though.

I have not tried s-04 but I have done a few batches with Nottingham as suggested and I was very happy with its floculation. I will give s-04 a blast on an upcoming brew after I do another order for supplies
 

darrellm

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I asked Wye Valley about their yeast and got a very good reply. They leave their beer a couple of degrees above their desired FG, filter out any residual yeast and add a precise amount of their primary strain to each bottle
There is enough in there to salvage and grown your own, I've done it.

S-04, Gervin/Nottingham and MJ Liberty Bell are my go-to yeasts which compact well in bottles. I normally leave the brew in the FV well beyond finishing so that I bottle clear, with minimal priming sugar, less than half a teaspoon. This works for me, I don't get much sedement these days.
 

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Shops don't like bottle conditioning as customers complain about sediment and in some cases they can get a bit lively at ambient temperatures, particularly when it gets warm (which is the reason why eg Adnams are picky about where their minicasks go). So it's the kind of thing that brewers will do for one "premium" beer in their range as a sop to CAMRA, but not for most of their beers. To maximise control they will typically filter or centrifuge the beer and then reseed with either the production or a bottling yeast. You really don't need much for conditioning - Fuller's use 0.5 million cells per ml, which for a 20-litre batch is about 1g of dry yeast, a tenth of a pack of liquid yeast, or about 1% of a yeast cake from fermentation. You might want to double that to allow for poorer viability etc under homebrew conditions, but you really don't need much yeast.

+1 to the suggestions above - getting it as cool as you can to help crash out the yeast and protein. If you're only worried about yeast you don't need to get it as cold as you do to remove protein haze, obviously at the moment one option is to just leave it outside overnight, if you have somewhere like a shed or carport where it's out of the weather (and putting it in a binbag will help keep it clean). Doesn't work so well in summer though...

Cold-side finings will help - gelatine or whatever.

One thing that's not been mentioned is the importance of calcium in flocculation, which is one reason British brewers tend to have more calcium in their water than our cousins across the pond. If you're not adding gypsum etc then that's something to think about, you want at least 100ppm calcium in your water, it also helps the mash enzymes.

Something else that's not been mentioned is the fact that you can use a good-flocculating yeast to co-flocculate a bad flocculator. The classic example is starting a fermentation with Windsor and then adding Nottingham at high krausen (say 48 hours) to benefit from Notty's better attenuation and flocculation, but if you're just interested in the flocculation then you could add the Notty later. Or say the Wilko ale yeast or Munton Gold which are essentially the same as Notty but cheaper. Only catch is that you can't then repitch the yeast- or at least, you have to be aware that you're now pitching an (unstable) blend of strains.

Or there's specialist bottling strains like CBC-1 and F2 which are probably wine yeast chosen to have minimal flavour impact and stick like glue - I've seen it suggested that CBC-1 is D21 based on how it ferments mead, although a Lallemand advertorial has refered to it as a champagne yeast.
 

gmc

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Shops don't like bottle conditioning as customers complain about sediment and in some cases they can get a bit lively at ambient temperatures, particularly when it gets warm (which is the reason why eg Adnams are picky about where their minicasks go). So it's the kind of thing that brewers will do for one "premium" beer in their range as a sop to CAMRA, but not for most of their beers. To maximise control they will typically filter or centrifuge the beer and then reseed with either the production or a bottling yeast. You really don't need much for conditioning - Fuller's use 0.5 million cells per ml, which for a 20-litre batch is about 1g of dry yeast, a tenth of a pack of liquid yeast, or about 1% of a yeast cake from fermentation. You might want to double that to allow for poorer viability etc under homebrew conditions, but you really don't need much yeast.

+1 to the suggestions above - getting it as cool as you can to help crash out the yeast and protein. If you're only worried about yeast you don't need to get it as cold as you do to remove protein haze, obviously at the moment one option is to just leave it outside overnight, if you have somewhere like a shed or carport where it's out of the weather (and putting it in a binbag will help keep it clean). Doesn't work so well in summer though...

Cold-side finings will help - gelatine or whatever.

One thing that's not been mentioned is the importance of calcium in flocculation, which is one reason British brewers tend to have more calcium in their water than our cousins across the pond. If you're not adding gypsum etc then that's something to think about, you want at least 100ppm calcium in your water, it also helps the mash enzymes.

Something else that's not been mentioned is the fact that you can use a good-flocculating yeast to co-flocculate a bad flocculator. The classic example is starting a fermentation with Windsor and then adding Nottingham at high krausen (say 48 hours) to benefit from Notty's better attenuation and flocculation, but if you're just interested in the flocculation then you could add the Notty later. Or say the Wilko ale yeast or Munton Gold which are essentially the same as Notty but cheaper. Only catch is that you can't then repitch the yeast- or at least, you have to be aware that you're now pitching an (unstable) blend of strains.

Or there's specialist bottling strains like CBC-1 and F2 which are probably wine yeast chosen to have minimal flavour impact and stick like glue - I've seen it suggested that CBC-1 is D21 based on how it ferments mead, although a Lallemand advertorial has refered to it as a champagne yeast.
This is all super information. Thanks for taking the time to post this
 

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