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Bottle aging vs. bulk aging

I was thinking about eventually doing a beer that requires a longer aging period. I was looking through Brewing Classic Styles for some examples and I noticed that in the examples I looked at, Jamil says to bottle then age.

It got me thinking, how much of a difference is there between bulk aging versus bottle aging. Does anyone have any advice on which one is better/preferred? Any flavor differences to consider?

Differences I can think of off the top of my head:

  • Bottle aging prevents the need to repitch yeast at bottle time
  • Bulk aging requires a lot less storage space (Storing 48 bottles for 6 months might have the wife a little cranky)
  • Bulk aging will prevent the temptation to “crack one open just to see how its coming along”

Can’t say I’ve tried it side by side but every year around Christmas I make a RIS to be consumed the following holidays and I’ve done each method (bulk aged and bottle aged), I did wait at least 4 months before bottling though. The temptation to start tasting is VERY large though, last year my RIS turned out quite good and as a result only 1/2 of it has made it to this holiday season when I intended for it to be consumed. :lol: Other than that I can’t say I’ve noticed a big difference in how it matures.

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