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Master Brewers Association of the Americas > BREWING RESOURCES > Ask the Brewmaster > Posts > Bottle conditioning
April 04
Bottle conditioning

Question

What is the best process and technique for introducing wort and yeast back into a beer just prior to packaging? The goal is to bottle condition the ale using wort that is produced in our brewhouse and yeast we pull from our FV cones.  I am concerned about hygiene and sterility of the transfer vessel, as well as of the final product.  Perhaps injecting pasteurized wort?  If we take the wort from our brew house post heat exchanger into a sterile vessel (keg), and then stored it in a cold box/refer, how long do you think that wort would be good for?

Answer

I worked with bottle conditioning for about 15 years (BridgePort IPA), and my first quesiton back to you is why do you want to use wort?  In my experience wort for bottle conditioning has problems with inconsistency, contamination and trub solids carryover.  Wort that is not used fresh but kept refrigerated is prone to contamination and flavor issues.  Use of dextrose sugar on the other hand will give you consistent, predictable control over fermentability, sterility and there is no trub or other solids that will carry through.  A good place to start experimenting with dextrose additions is about 1 lb per bbl.  To prepare the sugar solution and yeast inoculation:

  • Dissolve the sugar in a few gallons of water and heat to a minimum of 180 deg F for a minimum of 20 minutes
  • Pump the hot sugar solution into the bright beer tank
  • Pump beer into the tank
  • During the tank transfer, inject yeast slurry to achieve 1 million cells/ml at tank full
  • Check tank gravity and cell count to confirm
  • Mixing the sugar solution and yeast into the beer can be done by pump recirculation or agitator and should be done through the packaging of the beer
 
You might find that for bottling it’s a good idea to carbonate slightly to achieve fobbing prior to crowning.  Test your results by taking daily carbonation and gravity measurements over 14 days.

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