Bulk ageing a beer

Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:24 pm

I’m looking at making an oak aged porter for my next batch of beer. I want to age the beer (3+ months) in the carboy before I bottle condition it. The only part I’m not sure about is what temperature I should age the beer at. I know at low temperature the beer stales slower but the ageing reactions would also be slower. At warmer temperature the beer will stale much faster. What would be the proper temperature range to bulk age a beer at?
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Re: Bulk ageing a beer

Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:54 pm

Typical 'cellar' temps should work well. Normally 55 to 65 degF could be used as a guideline but a little warmer or cooler will be fine.
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Re: Bulk ageing a beer

Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:01 pm

I think it really depends on what temperature options you have? Where will you be aging this beer? Basement, garage, inside your house? What are the ranges of temperatures you have at your disposal to work with? Also, what type of oak do you plan on using in your beer - chips, cubes, staves, spirals, honeycombs? Each of those will require different times and amounts based on how much oak character you wish to impart.

I would say that barring very high temperatures (75 F or greater), that being able to purge your carboy with CO2 and then blanket the racked beer with CO2 would help it to stay fresher (minimizing oxidation) rather than the temps that it ages at. I think a happy medium for you would probably be about 60F-65F. Closer to 60F would probably produce the best results for aging time vs. extraction of oak tannins from the type of wood you use.
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Re: Bulk ageing a beer

Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:27 pm

Thank you for the reply, I was planning on using oak cubes for approximately a month. My temperature range can be anywhere from 90F to below zero. 65F would be very easy to maintain however 48-50F is also pretty convenient for me. However I can do anything in-between as well.
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Re: Bulk ageing a beer

Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:57 am

If those two temps where at my disposal I would lean to the lower 48-50. 65 is fine but kind of on the high side IMO. Don't forget to sample every two weeks, oak can take over a beer quickly. What type of oak is it?
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Re: Bulk ageing a beer

Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:14 am

I don't think the actual temp matters as much as making sure it doesn't fluctuate. IMO a constant 65 F is better than large temp swings from 50-60 F. If you have temp control, I'd set it at 50-55 F & forget it. If not, put it covered up against an inner wall or in a closet in the basement & you'll be fine.
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