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Aging question

If doing a big beer where aging might be months, is possible to bottle age with positive results, or always best to age in secondary or a cask?

Is there an agreed upon cut-off where past that point bottle-aging becomes a bad idea?

Mr. Octabird
American Made!

I’ve aged big beers in bulk and in the bottle. The advantage you have with bulk aging is that all of it ages/changes consistently and you can bottle when it’s ready. Once you bottle, it’s not easy to sneak a taste without opening one. With that said, it’s really your call based on what you have available for extra casks/carboys etc.

Thanks for the info. I may have to mix and match due to space.

Mr. Octabird
American Made!

I’ve always gotten the best results by bulk aging my big beers at cellar temperature (sometimes for as long as a year, but more typically for 6- months), dry hopping towards the end if appropriate, and then force carbing to the desired level followed by bottling. I always set aside at least some of the resulting bottles for further cellaring and have had very good results with that, sometimes enjoying them years down the road.

I have found that larger bottles age a bit differently than smaller bottles and I’m not sure why. Either way, aging a big beer is almost always a good idea. My 17% barleywine from 2010 keeps getting better every year and it started out very good from the beginning.

Interesting. Can you elaborate on your observations?

I’ve noticed that Boulevard Tank 7 is better out of a 750ml bottle compared to a 12 oz bottle. I can’t think of many beers that I’ve been able to taste in both formats, so don’t have enough data to make any sweeping claims myself.

Interesting. Can you elaborate on your observations?

I’ve noticed that Boulevard Tank 7 is better out of a 750ml bottle compared to a 12 oz bottle. I can’t think of many beers that I’ve been able to taste in both formats, so don’t have enough data to make any sweeping claims myself.[/quote]I’m not sure why it would matter but it does seem to hold true. I can’t even describe or pinpoint the difference as it has been a while since I have done both. My big beers in my Bierkeller are available in both formats so perhaps I can try it out again soon. I keg my big beers to get the appropriate carbonation and then bottle them so its not like it is a bottle conditioning thing.

I was wondering if it has to do with the possible larger amount of yeast in the larger bottle, which can help in the aging process. Just a guess though.

Could it also have something to do with the head space-to-volume ratio being so much smaller in a larger bottle?

[quote=“Ken in MN”]Could it also have something to do with the head space-to-volume ratio being so much smaller in a larger bottle?[/quote]Good thought. I use O2 absorbing caps as an added safety precaution.

I keg my big beers to get the appropriate carbonation and then bottle them so its not like it is a bottle conditioning thing.[/quote]

You ever bottle big beers straight from the keg tap (ie. without using a growler filler or cobra-in-picnic-tap setup). Just put a bottle under the tap and let it slowly fill up under reduced pressure? I’d prefer to bottle my big beers this way, but am a little hesitant of oxidation. Did an experiment where just bottled a six pack of barleywine that way, and four months later I tried one and there’s no oxidation, but not sure how they’d hold up long term. Any experience?

You ever bottle big beers straight from the keg tap (ie. without using a growler filler or cobra-in-picnic-tap setup). Just put a bottle under the tap and let it slowly fill up under reduced pressure? I’d prefer to bottle my big beers this way, but am a little hesitant of oxidation. Did an experiment where just bottled a six pack of barleywine that way, and four months later I tried one and there’s no oxidation, but not sure how they’d hold up long term. Any experience?[/quote]Yes, I have done this with Barleywine and RIS from 2010 and still no oxidation.

Agreed. I did this with a barley wine and an RIS with great success. I’ve since purchased a beer gun for those specific reasons.

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