Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Question to the Community: Can Conditioning?

I originally thought of the idea of can conditioned beer on our trip to Colorado two years ago. I talked to the brewmaster about it at Keegan Ales last October (and promised him he could be the first to do it.) He told me he'd ask another brew master about it and get back to me. Well it's been over a year and he never responded to my follow up email, so I guess it's time to let the cat out of the bag.

There's a lot online about Bottle Conditioning and if you've ever had a really fine Belgian ale (or brewed your own beer without using a secondary fermenter) you're probably very familiar with the results. There's a layer of sludge in the bottom that, while not poisonous, can cause some very undesirable results in your lower GI should you drink it. Some people have no problem downing the bready residue but it's never recommended.

My question is this: since canning beer is the new rage in craft brewing, can you "can condition" a beer and still achieve carbonation and a quality product?

I can think of a few potential negative effects of using this method. These are all uneducated guesses (are they ever not?):
  • The top of the can is held on by pressure (like a bottlecap) but might not have the same threshold.
  • Pouring beer out of a can might agitate it a lot more than pouring from a bottle (resulting in more sediment being poured out.)
  • You can't see the sediment layer so it's hard to judge when to stop pouring
  • With the total absence of light, the yeast might not perform correctly.

A quick google search on the topic results in several hilarious yet unhelpful results. This was my personal favorite:
  •  Can conditioning my hair with mayonnaise really help prevent hair loss?
While you work on that gem and discover quickly that body heat makes mayo go rancid all that much faster, if you've ever tried bottle finishing a beer in a can please let me know in the comments below. Even if you've never commented below but think you know the answer, I'm dying to know your guess.

Post a Comment