Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Bottle Conditioned

You may be familiar with the term 'bottle conditioned' but be unaware of its meaning. Well it's like this:-

Generally speaking, these days most beers are bottled after undergoing a fine filtering process which removes clouding yeast to leave it lovely and clear. This is followed by a forced carbonation to create the fizz and sometimes then a pasteurisation process to kill any organisms and flavour. The beer will have a certain shelf life dependent upon the skill with which it's been made but from the day it's bottled, it will deteriorate.

'Bottle conditioned' (BC) beer has yeast, and a little fermentable material for it to work on, left in it. Over a period of a couple of weeks this secondary fermentation produces a natural fine sparkle and the yeast settles to the bottom of the bottle. The beer is alive and the flavour will change subtly over time depending on the strength and style.

If you were to compare like with like, and assuming both are well crafted, you'd notice:

1. The BC beer would have smaller bubbles, slightly softer and finer on the pallet.
2. The flavour of the BC beer would be richer and more 'full'.
3. The BC beer would age far better.

However, BC beer takes time to condition and can appear cloudy if the server is not careful.

Hence non-BC beer.

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