Refermentation inside the bottle or bottle conditioning is the traditional method for giving the beer its fizzy character.
The majority of beers today are carbonated by injecting external carbon dioxide under tension. If done correctly bottle conditioning can produce beers that are force carbonated.
The bottle-fermented beer has a silkier texture of carbonation, superior foam retention, complex flavours, and longer shelf lives.
Is it true that bottle conditioning raises alcohol levels? However, yes, the process has an impact on beer’s alcohol content.
If you’re curious about why conditioning boosts the ABV of a beer, it’s worth looking into. Read on for more details on bottle conditioning and the quantity of alcohol it will add to your drink!
Bottle Conditioning – What is it?
A technique used by brewers to carbonate lager is known as bottle conditioning. The brewers add a small quantity of sugar to the beer right just before it is sealed in a bottle.
It makes use of the live yeast that is still suspended in the beer after the brewing process. As the beer is tightly closed in the vial, the CO2 has nowhere to go but into the beverage, and causes fermentation.
The beer and brewing will proceed to age, revealing a profound character in the flavours, just like champagne. This procedure also adds lovely, gentle carbonation.
The flavour and final carbonation of beer are mainly produced by this re-fermentation.
A thin layer of dead yeast cells accumulates at the bottom of the bottle as a consequence of bottle conditioning. These are safe and an important part of the characteristics of some beer styles.
Process of Boosting Alcohol Content by Bottle Conditioning
Many people overlook the significance of conditioning as negligible, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Beer’s ultimate flavour and carbonation level are affected by the conditioning process.
Continued fermentation leads to a rise in alcohol content. The ABV won’t rise, for example, if you opt to force carbonate, which also skips secondary fermentation.
Carbonation Strengthen the Alcohol Content
You should know how to carbonate during the fermentation of your homebrewed beer unless you chose non-carbonated brews.
The bottle conditioning technique takes more time. But it has the benefit of being less expensive than forced carbonation which results in costly more upfront and over time.
For bottle conditioning, the beer is subjected to a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The alcohol content is slightly raised during this procedure.
Several microbreweries add some yeast to the bottle to ensure carbonation. The yeast can continue fermenting the sugar and carbonating the beverage even after the bottle has been sealed.
Carbonation during fermentation has two byproducts: carbon dioxide and alcohol.
Due to carbon dioxide buildup within the bottle during secondary fermentation, your drink’s alcohol content also may rise a little.
Effect of Priming Sugar
Priming sugar is any sugar added to a fermented beer to initiate a secondary re-fermentation in the bottle. The outcome is natural carbonation and enhanced flavour development.
Sugars are converted to alcohol through fermentation. An interesting point is, the sugar is diluted with liquid, allowing for such an addition of alcohol on the whole without raising the quantity of alcohol.
Any sugar can be utilized for priming, including honey, molasses, brown sugar, and even maple syrup. If sugars have been absorbed, the ABV will rise but not significantly.
The longer the duration of the fermentation process, the more sugar is transformed into alcohol. If you were not adding any water to your priming sugar, the difference in ABV would be approximately 0.2-0.3%.
Alcohol by Volume (ABV) After Bottle Conditioning
To bottle condition of homebrew, additional yeast and sugar are usually added. It can raise the alcohol content of your lager, but the difference from the ABV produced by primary fermentation is not substantial.
This fermentation might well add 0.1% to 0.2% ABV to the finished product, with the precise amount dependent just on the amount of CO2 produced.
There are estimated ABV calculators available online. However, it may be difficult to accurately measure beer without risking inadvertent contamination.
How much ABV produces depends on how concentrated the priming sugar is that you add to the beer. The ABV will increase slightly if the sugar is added to the beer before even solubilizing it in anything.
Naturally, the ABV will be reduced by almost half if the sugar is dissolved in 5 gallons of water and then added to 5 gallons of beer.
Factors Affecting Bottle Conditioning
The bottle conditioning procedure may be impacted by several variables. All of these seemingly less important elements have a significant impact on the beer’s conditioning and final flavour.
The following causes highly influence bottle-conditioned beer with the secondary process.
Beers with a high hop content, such as pale ales and regular or double IPAs, are finished in a matter of weeks. A beer like an English Porter, on the other hand, takes a little longer.
A secondary fermentation’s pace may be slowed down by yeast colloidal particles. As a result, your yeast halts fermenting sugar and a portion of it turns inactive, leaving your beer unfinished.
This indicates that some of your yeast stops fermenting sugar and turns inactive, resulting in an incomplete beer.
Moderately warm temperatures cause the yeast to become more active, hastening the process. The optimum temperature range is 68 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your beverage receives the crucial finishing touches during conditioning. The procedure enhances the depth of flavour of your lager while adding carbonation. The beer would be flat without it.
Your beer still needs to be gassed up after the primary fermentation is finished. Adding more sugar & yeast, which produces carbon dioxide that enhances the alcohol by volume.
Beer begins to soak up carbonation at a certain point. Based on how long the beer spent conditioning, this may have some effect on how it tastes.
Bottle conditioning once again becoming more popular, albeit on a small scale, as craft brewing becomes more popular around the world.