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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2003 * April 1, 2003 * What causes beer to get worse with age? < Previous Next >

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Tim Pratt (67.28.110.114)
Posted on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 11:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I keged my porter about two weeks ago. It was ok to start. Nothing to brag about but nothing to throw out. Now it has taken on a “bitter hops” kind of taste. I expected it to grow better with time not worse. What is the cause of this?
Temp has been constant 48F post carbonation.
 

Bill Pierce (208.57.122.28)
Posted on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 11:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Most beer decreases in hop presence over time as the more volatile hop oils evaporate. It is also true that the beer loses a little of the fresh, fruity quality that some would say is one of the best characteristics of an ale. On the other hand, lagers and higher alcohol beers often improve with age and develop less harsh and more mellow flavors.

Less desirable flavors that may increase over time are the result of oxidation. These are usually described as tasting like wet cardboard. Additionally, infection can set in, with a variety of accompanying off flavors.

It's difficult to know what you are experiencing in your beer without sampling it. Give it a couple of more weeks and see if and how it changes, whether for the better or for the worse.
 

Steve H. (208.59.249.9)
Posted on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 04:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi,

I'm new to kegging so I am now trying to tweak my balancing efforts. But back to this topic. Two of my brews have maintained a decent taste but a third is changing.

My Calif. Common is getting slightly more phenolic as time goes on. I did have some racking problems when putting this one in the keg. I'm guessing a slight infection but not sure where it came from. I want to make sure this keg is clean/sterile for future use. Any recommendations on the simplest way to do this effectively, especially the dip tube. Thanks.

Steve
 

Rupp (63.184.168.221)
Posted on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 04:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tim, without knowing the specifics of your beer, a determination of what has happened would only be guesswork. That said, I have always found that fresh ales are more flavorful than older ones, thus more desireable, granted they are brewed for that purpose (all-grains in particular). My opinion being that age is usually an enemy to beer, promoting oxidation, breaking down dextrines, losing key aromatic and flavor components, as well as magnifying any problems that already exist, such as infections, that is, a bad beer more often than not, won't get better with age.
Bill's point that lagers and higher gravity ales often improve by mellowing harsh flavors assumes that these beers ARE harsh and need to mellow. Again, it would depend on how you brewed that beer. I've brewed many higher gravity ales that have been very well-balanced from the initial tasting, and exibit the added benefits of grain flavor, hop aroma, and yeast esters that freshness impart to a beer, making it all the more interesting.
 

Paul McHugh (67.35.24.217)
Posted on Sunday, March 23, 2003 - 08:30 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

>I'm guessing a slight infection but not sure where it came from.

It could be from anywhere, breathing on the wort etc...

I found once I was oversparging and confusing bitterness with astringency.

RDWAIHAHB

P.S. Of course read Charlie Papazian's book.
 

Bill Pierce (12.207.82.170)
Posted on Sunday, March 23, 2003 - 08:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Rupp and I disagree more by degree than in substance, but I would ask him to try a lager when racked to secondary and again after six weeks of cold lagering. I maintain that lagering improves the flavor of those styles, promoting a crisp, smooth quality that younger beers do not have. However, I believe that low to moderate gravity ales are better when consumed relatively fresh.

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