Been brewing beer for a few years. In my experience, bottle conditioning introduces unintentional flavours. It makes it very hard to make anything lighter than an IPA, IIPA and barley wine. The flavour from conditioning will dominate. I recall getting typical combinations of sweet, brown sugar, caramel, liquorice and sour (lime).

I typical get worst result on sucrose (table sugar made from beet sugar) and using residual yeast. Typically Mangrove Jacks M44 or Safale US-05.

I get the least amount of flavour additions when using DME in combination with Safbrew F-2. Honey also does a pretty decent job.

I condition at 21°C for 2,5-3 weeks depending on the gravity (and style) and then refrigerate it. I use Brewer's Friend priming calculator to get the amount to prime. I do not adjust the amount to prime depending on the gravity of beer (perhaps I should). I don't have a problem with "exploding" bottles.

EDIT I've only tried to bottle condition with table sugar, honey and DME.

  • Is your question how to get less unexpected flavours after bottle conditioning? If so, have you tried using dextrose/corn sugar for bottle conditioning? – Philippe Feb 21 '18 at 12:54
  • "sweet, brown sugar, caramel, liquorice and sour (lime). " The only time I have ever gotten theses kind of flavors from bottling, was due to contamination or yeast not eating all the sugars. as for brown sugar, i only ever get that when i prime with brown sugar. could you elaborate on your bottling process? and do you use a bottling bucket with a plastic spigot>? – jsolarski Feb 21 '18 at 16:07
  • Those flavors sound like oxidation or contamination. I’ve bottle conditioned for five years and rarely have issues. – uSlackr Feb 21 '18 at 20:14
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    @jsolarski I no longer use a bottling bucket. Now I rather use an Auto-siphon with a siphon valve. My initial thought was that these flavours came from contamination of sorts. But after replacing all my equipment, brewing at two friends places, I do not think this is the case. At this point, with help I've gotten here, I feel confident is that something is up with bottling process. Either oxygen enters the beer or I am not using proper sugars. I have not used dextrose/corn sugar. I now realise this is something I should have tried. – Martin Feb 24 '18 at 21:29

Bottle conditioning, not to be confused with bottle aging, is only for natural carbonation.

You want to use a monosaccharide sugar like powdered corn sugar so it's easily and completely consumed by the yeast.

Using DME, honey or anything more complex will leave unfermentable sugars and other compounds in the beer, resulting in flavor and mouthfeel changes.

  • This makes perfect sense to me. I will give grape sugar (dextrose monohydrate) a try. – Martin Feb 24 '18 at 21:37
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    Finished my first beer finished with a monosaccharide sugar and the odd sweet flavor was gone! This was it. – Martin Mar 23 '18 at 6:10

I have actually had pretty good experiences with beet-derived sugar. Do you by any chance sterilize your sugar by boiling sugar water or by heating the sugar? Sweet, caramel and burnt sugar tastes can come from actual burnt sugar, I have made that mistake once.

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    Yes, indeed. I have heated the sugar to boil for 10-15 minutes and even decreased the amount of water used. However there has not been any signs of burnt sugar. – Martin Feb 24 '18 at 21:09
  • I also didn't see any burnt sugar but still had burnt sugar taste in the finished beer. Make sure to fully dissolve all sugar crystals in the water before bringing the sugar water to a boil. – ritterasdf Feb 25 '18 at 17:37
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    Interesting. This is something I didn't take note of. I'll pay some more attention to this when preparing priming solutions going forward. – Martin Feb 25 '18 at 18:05

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