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Occasional shaking/turning over bottles

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by foobula, Mar 5, 2013.

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  1. foobula

    foobula Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2009 Illinois

    I had a 2012 Black Note tonight and left the last ounce in the (12 oz.) bottle. It had some little floaties in it and to my delight, was the sweetest tastiest part of the bottle. I had a similar experience with a King Henry and have heard the same about CBS (so-called "flavor crystals"). So what I'm wondering is whether there might be a benefit to gently shaking/turning over bottles of big complex barrel-aged beers -- say once a month -- in order to keep the solution/suspension mixed, or if this settling of sugars is unavoidable and not worth trying to prevent.

    For that matter, is there any argument for or against occasionally disturbing a normally capped beer during a 3-6 year slumber?
  2. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,188) Mar 18, 2010 California

    I recently opened a bottle of The Bruery Grand Funk Ale Road and another BA flipped the bottle upside down for a few minutes before we opened it. Apparently other bottles had settled so that the aroma and flavor from each pour was different as you got towards the bottom of the bottle.
  3. foobula

    foobula Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2009 Illinois

    What a great name for a beer! It appears that isn't a particularly old beer (a little over a year.) I'm going to attempt to draw some conclusions:
    1. It doesn't hurt a beer to shake it or turn it, as long as it's got an air-tight seal. You probably don't want to shake a beer and immediately open it, but shaking it does no harm to it, long-term.
    2. Generally, a beer that is made from fewer ingredients should be less prone to settling/separation than a beer made with more ingredients. I'm guessing that a quad like Westevleteren is made from just malt, yeast, water, hops, and the worst that will happen is yeast sediment. For that matter I guess any unfiltered beer is prone to settling. However a beer that involved a highly complex brewing/aging process, say CBS or Cherry BCS, would be more likely to settle/separate/crystallize and alter the flavor of each pour.
    3. It's always a better idea to shake a big beer, say 15 mins before pouring, than to let gravity have its way with it over time. Whatever's in the bottle is meant to be consumed, and if there are lees that get distributed, that's probably not going to hurt the taste.
    Disclaimer: IANAB (I Am Not A Brewer)
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