Bottle conditioned?

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I'm a relative youngster in real ale drinking terms, and I don't know
much about beer but I know what I like - variety, character, and a
willingness to experiment with tastes that may not cater to the mainstream.

I have heard of bottle-conditioned beer, which (correct me if I'm wrong)
is beer which undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle and so
contains yeast sediments; but I've never seen it on sale anywhere. Is it
still on sale to any great extent, and if so where could I get some in
the South or Central London area?

Also, is bottle-conditioned beer really any better than plain old
bottled beer?


Re: Bottle conditioned?
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Suggest for advice and purchases you visit the Utobeer stall in Borough
Market during Friday/Saturday market hours.

Whether it's any better is a matter of personal taste however.

Re: Bottle conditioned?
On 14 Jan, 14:05, Jim Brittin < [wake up
to reply]> wrote:
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if Boro Mkt is tricky to get to, most supermarkets, some off-licences
& ssome smaller stores (e.g. Co-op) have some bottle-conditioned beers
(aka bottled "real ale") - I've not tried all of them recently, but
good bets in my mind - Hopback 'Summer Lightning', Freeminer
'Goldminer (Coop exclusive?), Fuller's '1845', Young's 'Special
London' (now brewed in Bedford!?), Brakspear's 'Triple' & 'Live
Organic', Worthington 'White Shield'.

Additionally (1) there's a list of brewers who've signed up to CAMRA's
"real ale in bottle" logo scheme here - (it links to a PDF file)

Additionally (2) bars, shops & supermarkets often have a few Belgian
bottle-conditioned beers.

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I'd certainly say it's not as simple as "all RAIB is better than all
filtered bottled beers" - it's very much a case by case (punintended)
thing - I've had some superb bottle conditioned beers & some
undrinkable as well as fountainous!

If I'm honest, I've probably had more truly awful beers in BCA form
than filtered ones. That's why I'd recommend getting a few of the
above BCAs, as IMO they're consistently well brewed & bottled.
good luck & let ys know what you think.

Re: Bottle conditioned?
On Mon, 14 Jan 2008 14:05:12 +0000, Jim Brittin wrote

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UTOBEER at Borough Market is undoubtably the place to go - I strongly
recommend going on a Thursday afternoon when they're good for a chat.
Friday and Saturday they're too busy for anything but brief

Re: Bottle conditioned?
Philip Potter wrote:
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Sainsbury's do 75mcl bottles of Meantime stout and IPA, plus you can get
750cl bottles of Duvel, and some other Belgian beers. M&S now have a
range of BCAs (bottle conditioned ale), and Tesco has recently released
their own "finest" BCA.

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It can be, but you have to be careful how you store it - and pour it!


Re: Bottle conditioned?
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Hey, I want one of those 750cl bottles! Seriously, the wine-style
bottles with corks are great for laying down if you can find them...
just remember to swill 'em round and stand them up again at least a
month before you want to drink them, unless you are skilled in
uncorking a bottle on its side without disturbing the sediment [which
some Belgian cellarmen have made an art in itself].

Some beers have a jelly-like yeast which is almost impossible to
disturb, while others cloud up at the slightest nudge and take weeks
to drop bright again. You can see if the sediment has settled by
holding the bottle up to the light, just don't tip or knock the bottle
or you'll be back to square 1. I decant the big bottles into a jug in
one go so as not to stir up the sediment, and then serve, because I
don't want to run the risk of cocking the process up when switching
glasses. Even then you need a steady hand, don't tip up the bottle too
far, let the beer level in the bottle drop slowly as you reach the
horizontal and be ready to stop pouring as the sediment finally creeps
up to the neck of the bottle [it won't do you any harm if your beer
ends up cloudy, but you may spoil the taste a bit]. Warming the glass
or the jug beforehand will reduce foaming when you pour - this can be
a real problem if you don't have enough space to pour the bottle into
and it froths up to four times its original volume - Duvel can be like
that. 75cl bottles are quite common [and amazingly cheap compared to
UK prices] in Belgium if you ever get the chance to pop into a beer
warehouse or supermarket over there.

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IME, Morrisons own brand is a gusher and best avoided. :{
I like the Hop Back beers and the Coniston Bluebird. Also Guinness
Foreign Export stout at 8% abv.

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As much as I love a good BCA, I have to say that there are plenty of
filtered beers with enough character to get them over the finish line.
Like the Batemans range, and a lot of the Marstons hoppier beers too
[not so much the cooking bitter, which is a bit lame]. Cheap at Aldi!
Don't be afraid to try as many as take your fancy, Philip, and don't
be afraid to prefer what you like, rather than what you think people
think you ought to like. There are hundreds of character ales on the
market now, you have never had a better time for picking and

All that said, there is nothing to beat a good ale from the cask in
peak condition. The only problem is finding a reliable outlet.

Re: Bottle conditioned? wrote:
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In a senior moment I said stout when I actually meant porter! Great beer
whatever the style though.


Re: Bottle conditioned? a écrit :

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After a few unhappy experiences with nasty corky flavours appearing in
belgian beers, I'm not that enthusiastic about them anymore. (Looks like
good quality corks are not that easy to find in Belgium anymore)
Crown caps are a lot safer to that respect, and do hold very well up to
25 or 30 years if stored properly.

Warning : you may encounter French language beyond this point.

Bon, écoute, je te dessine la boîte, ton berger et dedans ! Attends, et là je te
fais la clef pour ouvrir la boîte !

Laurent Mousson, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland

Re: Bottle conditioned?
Philip Potter wrote:
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Thanks for all the advice! I'll try to get to Borough Market on a
Thursday sometime. Seems if I buy now, I won't be trying them til
mid-February though in order to let them settle :S

I was a little surprised (though I probably shouldn't be) that the
general sentiment of bottle-conditioned versus filtered is "whatever
tastes good", and I've certainly been through most of the filtered beer
that my local Tesco's sells.


Re: Bottle conditioned?
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My husband and I have drank our way through about 60 bottled beers,
differing between  BCA and "normal" bottled beer this Crimble. I have to
say my absolute favourite was the Hobgoblin, closely followed by Marstons
Oyster Stout, neither of which are BCA. Personally (committing heresy here
I know) I'm not really bothered whether a bottle contains BCA or not - I
ask a question before - is it from a craft or traditional brewer, and then
a question after - was that nice?

Christine Pampling

Re: Bottle conditioned?
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I wondered where they had gone, because (obviously) I rarely have a drop
touch my lips.

It has to be said though that it was an effort to recover from the shock of
being side swiped by a 17 tonner on the M40. (have I annoyed my Great
British Beer Festival transport "pals" perhaps?)


Steve Pampling

Re: Bottle conditioned?

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Much BCA is filtered and then reseeded with a specialist yeast for
conditioning. To my mind this defeats the object of RAIB because the
filtering must have some effect.

Re: Bottle conditioned?
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I agree - filtration strips out flavour & colour, which can perhaps be
added to, in order to counteract the loss?

But I do find it a bit odd that CAMRA turn a blind eye to this when
promoting the 'Real Ale In Bottle' logo, or awarding 'Champion Bottle-
conditioned Beer Of Britain' - I can't think of a non-filtered BCA
that's won CBOB?

If it was common knowledge that a brewery filtered & reseeded its cask
beer, I think there'd be a big stink (no, not literally - I'm sure it
would smell OK) - incidentally the only time I've known a brewery to
do this was at Brakspear's trying to brew a veggie cask beer by rough-
filtering & reseeding with a small amount of yeast.

I really am in 2 minds about this, though & I strongly suspect that
(like my experiences) by far, the vast majority of really bad BCAs
haven't been filtered & how much damage does that do to a company's
reputation or that of real ale as a whole?

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