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Bottles improving with age

Hi everyone,

I’ve read in many user reviews on recipe kits that bottled homebrew tends to improve with age. My question is… does it have to be at room temperature the whole time in order to improve? Or can the flavor still improve if you refrigerate it once it’s carbonated?

Thanks

Probably somewhere in between… but it kind of depends on what you mean by “age.”

The first kind of aging is just to really bottle condition well. I’ve never had a homebrew carb up and be very good after two weeks in bottles. Three to four weeks minimum tends to be better. That kind of aging can be done at “room temperature.” I would call this maybe a three week to two month aging period.

Certain beers, generally big beers, can benefit for extended aging (think months, not weeks). This is usually best done at “cellar” temperatures, which run a bit cooler than “room” temperature. This aging period could be anywhere from a few months to a few years (I’ve never been patient enough to try this on my own, but I have bought “cellared” craft beers from a liquor store that have been a couple of years old).

Recipe kit beers of the 4-6% abv taste best at a period of about 4 weeks after bottling. That is when all of the flavors marry together (similar to how meatloaf tastes better as a leftover). Prior to the 4 weeks, the beers tend to be more one dimensional where you can taste each of the flavors individually.

Also, cold aging has amazing benefits too…namely the clarity.

I’ve found that a day or so in the fridge leaves the beer with some bready flavors…but 3 or more days really make for a solid flavor, and great clarity after the yeasy fully settles. Even better after a couple weeks in the fridge.

My first batch ever was a five gallon caribou slobber extract kit from NB. After bottle conditioning for two weeks at room temp, the beer was carbed nicely and pretty good for a first try. Stuck it all in the fridge after the two weeks and drank it over the next month or so, sharing a few with friends and family. About 3 months later discovered a couple of bottles in the back of the fridge that I had missed. Tasted like a different beer. Flavor was deeper and smoother, I was really amazed. So yes, in my experience, at least this beer did some changing for the better as it aged in the cold.

Ron

Awesome! Thanks for all the info, guys. It’s all very helpful. I think I’ll aim for 3-4 weeks bottle conditioning at room temperature (preferably 4 weeks) and then at least a few days in the fridge before I crack open the first one. Also sounds like I shouldn’t rush to drink them if they continue to improve when cold. That’ll be a true test of my patience :slight_smile:

Ron - my very first kit was also the 5 gal. Caribou Slobber extract kit. Next Tuesday will be exactly 4 weeks in bottles for it. I think I’ll purposely leave a couple in the back of the fridge for a few months and revisit them to see how the flavor changes. Thanks!

The key is to brew more often so that the batch has time to age and you are not always drinking up what you just brewed.

I need to get you my wife’s cell phone number so you can help me convince her of this important truth!!LOL

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