Our bottle sales are increasing all the time, as the number of outlets grows, and we’re often asked why we bang on about them being bottle conditioned – what’s the difference between this and other bottled beers?
Most bottled beers (and lagers) are filtered (to remove yeast and any hop residues) and then artificially carbonated with CO2, as they are bottled. When a beer is bottle-conditioned the process is different. Instead of artificially carbonating the beer, bottle conditioned beer allows the yeast to naturally carbonate the beer after fermentation is complete. This is why CAMRA call it Real Ale
Fermentation works by the yeast eating the sugars in the wort and giving out alcohol and CO2 as waste products. During fermentation at the brewery the CO2 bubbles off and escapes. Once fermentation is complete and the yeast has magically transformed the sugary wort into lovely alcoholic beer, it’s bottled while still containing some live yeast in suspension. Sometimes a few grams of sugar are added to help keep the yeast going, and the bottles are then kept warm, at about 20 degrees celcius, to keep the yeast active. During the period of warm conditioning (about 2 weeks) the yeast produces a little more alcohol and CO2. Since the beer is now bottled and capped the CO2 produced by the yeast has nowhere to go and dissolves into the beer, carbonating it. The carbonation is smoother and creamier than the forced carbonation of filtered beers, and helps the beer achieve a creay head and lacing down the glass as it is drunk.
The best way to pour a bottle conditioned beer is slowly, down the side of the glass, in a single pour, to avoid disturbing the yeast sediment, which naturally falls to the bottom as the beer matures in the bottle. However some people like to mix it in and drink the yeast as well!
If you want to drink our bottle conditioned beers with a meal out, why not visit one of these lovely bars/restuarants?
If you want to buy bottles, head to Boda Home, Centrale or Fenwick in Newcastle, Coppers of Gosforth, Blagdon Farm Shop or Nicholsons the Butchers in Whitley Bay.