Brewing your own beer at home can be a great experience. You can experiment with different flavors and types and watch as your progress grows. Once you have your recipe done, it is time to condition your beer. There are two major ways to do this. You can bottle the beer or you can put the beer in to kegs. Here is a look at the differences between the two.
There are many advantages to storing your beer in bottles. One obvious one is cost. Bottles are cheap and reusable. You don’t have to invest a lot of money in purchasing bottles and caps. You can also buy a cheap tool to cap your bottles, and it will last you for as long as you need it. Cleaning the bottles is also very easy, and caps are easily replaceable. Bottles are also good if you want to have something to remember each of your beers buy. For example, you can label one bottle and place on a mantle so you can remember the various beers you have made. They are a great way to showcase a collection of beer you made on your own.
As far as the beer itself goes, bottles have several other advantages. One advantage is that you can open one bottle to test the readiness without compromising the rest of your batch. If that one bottle is not ready, you haven’t lost too much. You can wait patiently and try another bottle at a future date. Also, a bottle enables you to see the beer as it ages. This is good for two reasons. For one, you can see if the beer is ready to drink. If the beer is cloudy, it means it is not quite ready. The other reason is that you can check it daily to see how beer looks at different stages of growth. This helps you learn to improve your craft in the future.
The biggest advantage to kegs is that the beer is ready in a much shorter time frame. While bottles could take several weeks, kegs often take only a few days. Kegs also offer more protection against light and oxidation than bottles do. You can pretty much store a key anywhere and not have to worry about the beer being ruined by external elements. Buying a keg is more costly than bottles, but if you really stick with it the quality of the beer could outweigh the cost. Also, kegged beer requires less sugar, so it could save you money on ingredients.
There are some disadvantages to using kegs. For one, cleaning them is a lot more involved. You also have to make sure you the carbon dioxide system is working properly. The keg also needs to be sanitized. Otherwise, you run the risk of contaminating of your next batch. Kegs also make it harder to test your beer. This is somewhat aided by an efficient carbon dioxide system, but tapping the key too early could cause the oxygen to spoil the batch.
Putting the beer in to the key is generally a more complicated process than putting it in to bottles. However, an efficient transition in to the key will definitely improve the quality of your batch of beer. They key is limiting the amount of oxygen and light as you pour. The less of both, the better your batch will turn out.
Both methods have their pluses and minuses. Depending how serious you are about your home brewing, you might want to consider using both systems. You can compare the quality of the resulting beer along with the other factors and decide which method suits you best.