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To wax or not to wax....KBS experiment.

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by black13, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. black13

    black13 Member

    Location:
    Oregon
    After seeing plenty of discussion about the benefits of waxing vs wasting time, I decided to test it myself. In 2010 I got some KBS. I waxed some and left the others as is. The past 2 nights it was time to find out which, if either, aged better. Well, the waxed bottle was much better. The coffee flavor was much more prominent and the bourbon was much better. All-in-all, the waxed bottle was simply better. Granted this was only a couple bottles, but both came to me at the same time, were from the same batch, and were stored identically. This may not always be the case, but waxing is easy and if it gives me a better beer, I'm gonna do it more.
    claaark13, Lasering, brikelly and 8 others like this.
  2. bpasquini

    bpasquini Member

    Location:
    California
    Very interesting, I will have to try this
  3. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Member

    Location:
    California
    You could have just, like... drank them fresh.
  4. nc41

    nc41 Member

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Good idea to completely seal the top. My dad did this with some of his collectible JD's, the one's that didn't were noticeably reduced in volume in a few years. The wax prevented evaporation thru the cap. I'll do this on bottles destine to age for a bit. Caps can only be so tight and they oxidize.
  5. black13

    black13 Member

    Location:
    Oregon
    I did that as well. My palate doesn't have great memory, but the waxed bottle was much closer to resembling the fresh bottles. Why did I do this? Cause some beers are well (Bourbon County) and I was curious to see if waxing had an effect or not. On my book it does and I'm not just relying on theories to back this up.
    MrMcGibblets likes this.
  6. machalel

    machalel Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Did you do a blind tasting or did you know which was which?
  7. Charliechu

    Charliechu Member

    Location:
    California
    Is there a certain wax you used or can I find it at any craft store ? The idea seems solid and I think I'll try on some bcbs and other BA stout .

    Btw , reading this was pretty helpful.
  8. westcoastbeerlvr

    westcoastbeerlvr Member

    Location:
    California
    Now do it with at least 80 bottles to ensure proper sample size.
    stupac2, Ferocious, BrettHead and 5 others like this.
  9. grilledsquid

    grilledsquid Member

    Location:
    California
    deadonhisfeet likes this.
  10. jivex5k

    jivex5k Member

    Location:
    Florida
    Doesn't waxing just slow down the aging process?
    rc51sport likes this.
  11. grilledsquid

    grilledsquid Member

    Location:
    California
    According to the article, it provides a better seal, which minimizes the oxidation that'll take place.
  12. dbc5

    dbc5 Member

    Location:
    Ohio
    If you were not blind to condition (i.e., whether you were drinking a waxed it non-waxed bottle) this experiment means very little. As much as we like to think we are objective, we simply are not and my guess is you had an expectation that wax served a benefit (otherwise you wouldn't have done it).
  13. jageraholic

    jageraholic Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Yeah, I agree, i'd like to know if it was a blind tasting.
  14. BlackNote

    BlackNote Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    Going to do this for some of the bottles that I plan to age longer than a year. It might not do anything, but feel it can't hurt and a low cost to try and protect the investment.
    RyanCave likes this.
  15. Herky21

    Herky21 Member

    Location:
    Iowa
  16. kdb150

    kdb150 Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    But, oxidation is what ages the beer. So, if the idea is to keep the beer tasting fresh longer, than it's a good idea. However, if the idea is to cellar the beer in order to allow for aging to change the flavor, than waxing them is actually counter-productive.
    jhillwastaken, rc51sport and stevegoz like this.
  17. Hanzo

    Hanzo Member

    Location:
    Virginia
    So was this a blind test or not??

    If not the result means nothing.
  18. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    There redox reactions that will happen do to compounds in the beer, and the beer will age. The wax just keeps more O2 out than no wax.
    BlackNote likes this.
  19. kmello69

    kmello69 Member

    Location:
    Texas
    I wax any bottles I'm putting away for a while, and anything I'm sending out via trade. Its cheap and easy to do, and I think it looks nice too. I havent had anything waxed for over a year yet, so can't say much about overall effectiveness, but I view it as just another layer of protection.

    Some people use melted glue sticks/crayons, but actual bottle wax is inexpensive and can be found at any homebrew store or online (like HERE)

    [​IMG]
  20. black13

    black13 Member

    Location:
    Oregon
    Blinded? Yes.

    Did I need to have it blinded? No.

    There was such a marked difference between the bottles, it would be akin to comparing apple juice to hard cider. I realize there are many flaws in this highly scientific study, and I'm not sure if I have a significant P-value. But, I can assure you, there were no animals harmed in this study and the study participant (me) wasted no study materials (KBS).

    I did this just for fun as I do wax a lot of my bottles and was curious to see if it really did anything. It doesn't take much time and does make the bottles look nice. Although the results of this 2 bottle experiment leads me to believe waxing does help a beer age better, there are many other variables at play and I'm sure they'll show up in this thread later.
    swoopdog, machalel and ThirstyFace like this.
  21. HawkeyeNation

    HawkeyeNation Member

    Location:
    Iowa
    Looks like you have the technique down! They look great. Does one just use an old pot that they don't mind ruining and do this on the stove?
  22. OddNotion

    OddNotion Member

    Location:
    New Jersey
    You can double boil in an aluminum can (like a cleaned out old soup can).
    jhillwastaken and inchrisin like this.
  23. inchrisin

    inchrisin Member

    Location:
    Indiana

    I like this idea a lot. It also lets you get a good depth of wax without having to melt an entire bag of wax beads.
    OddNotion likes this.
  24. kmello69

    kmello69 Member

    Location:
    Texas

    First time I tried it, I did double boiler, but that took a long time. Now I just put the wax beads into a cleaned out metal can (like from canned vegetables, etc.) and put directly over low gas flame on the stove. Takes 5-10 minutes for wax to be completely melted and ready.

    Check out this Vine I made on it

    swoopdog, jarrgal, claaark13 and 15 others like this.
  25. HawkeyeNation

    HawkeyeNation Member

    Location:
    Iowa
    Thanks guys! That's very helpful. So you don't even dip when it's on the burner? I assume with the direct method with the can, you can just let the excess cool and heat it back up when you have more to dip?
  26. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Member

    Location:
    California
    Sounds like it helps prevent aging, with more pronounced coffee and bourbon notes.

    Aging, is intentional degradation of the beer, sometimes for better, most times for worse. Sounds like the waxing helped prevent that degradation from happening as rapidly.

    Which brings me back to my original post in this thread...
    "You could have just, like... drank them fresh."
    johnnyboy41783 and jmw like this.
  27. black13

    black13 Member

    Location:
    Oregon
    Since I received several 4-packs, I chose to drink some when I got them, then age the others so I could enjoy other beers. Also, KBS isn't exactly a shelf beer (this can be debated I know) so to keep shipping costs down by not having to trade for the newest release every year, I chose to age what I had. I had nothing to lose so I waxed some and kept a couple without wax. In this case, the waxing helped age the beer (or as you pointed out, helped the beer retain it's original flavors). Some may not want to age bottles with wax as they don't like a beer that is hot. I prefer a beer with a good kick to it, so aging with wax works for me. It sounds like you have no need to wax as you're a "consume it as soon as I get it" kinda guy o_O. Different strokes for different folks.
  28. Hanzo

    Hanzo Member

    Location:
    Virginia
    I guess in 2010 getting several four packs was possible....how times have changed.
    kristougher likes this.
  29. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Member

    Location:
    California

    It's a worthy experiment, and the first i've seen of waxed vs. non-waxed.
    I now know if I were to happen upon a beer I'd want to save for a really special occasion, like a bottle of Rare for a wedding or something, I'd wax it, so I'd retain as much of the original flavor as possible.

    But you're right, I am mostly a drink as soon as i get it kinda guy. Normally the only special occasion I need to open a great beer, is the occasion of opening that beer!
  30. grilledsquid

    grilledsquid Member

    Location:
    California

    I don't think it prevents oxidation. It just slows it down, so the logic, according to the article is wax dipping is good for long term aging, but may not necessarily be ideal for short term (ie, ~1 year) aging.
  31. kmello69

    kmello69 Member

    Location:
    Texas

    No, I dont dip on the burner. I take it off, let it cool about 3 minutes, and go to work. And yes, you can just let it get cold and harden, then use it again next time by topping off and re-heating again.
  32. youradhere

    youradhere Member

    Location:
    Arkansas

    A) I bought KBS off the shelf in NC

    2) was anyone else a part of this experiment, or is this just your palate?
  33. black13

    black13 Member

    Location:
    Oregon
    d) just my palate, so I trust the results 1000% :D
  34. BrettHead

    BrettHead Member

    Location:
    Nebraska
    What I wondered. If it wasn't blind then I'm sure any perceived differences were all mental.
  35. youradhere

    youradhere Member

    Location:
    Arkansas
    Alright, this guy checks out. Something about his eyes and body posture that tells me he operates on the level
  36. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Member

    Location:
    New York
    people just want to exhibit their beer prowess, as evident to the number of people saying the same thing, knowing full well that someone before then said it already.

    i appreciate your sharing and see the validity in it.
    swoopdog likes this.
  37. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    These findings could also be proving the insane inconsistency of KBS. I would've used something more stable.
    BrettHead likes this.
  38. lovethebelgians

    lovethebelgians Member

    Location:
    Iowa
    Yeah and make sure you do a total statistical analysis with minitab I expect tables and charts
    black13 and BrettHead like this.
  39. stupac2

    stupac2 Member

    Location:
    California
    This seems odd to me, I've always read that wax is so oxygen permeable that it does basically nothing to prevent oxygen ingress. And just thinking about what wax is that makes sense, it's really not going to make a gas-tight seal, the seal around the cap (or cork) is going to be way, way better. It just shouldn't make that big of a difference...

    But at least someone actually tried to test something involved with aging, kudos for that.
    swoopdog likes this.
  40. bramsdell

    bramsdell Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts

    I love Mean Old Tom, but I had a 9 month old bottle the other day and it was pretty garbage. Definitely drink as fresh as possible.

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