I've recently been reading the labels a bit more on one of my favourite beers and have discovered that the brewers bottle condition their Pale Ale. Yet it's sold with no signs of any flocculated yeast in the purchased product.

How is this possible? Is some sacrifice made to prevent the sediment? Can I do this at home?

  • 1
    Is the beer clear when you pour it? And I mean brilliantly clear.
    – brewchez
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 17:32

9 Answers 9


Someone told me about these sediment catchers.


I've not used them before, but it seems like the basic idea is that you bottle-condition with the bottles upside-down. The sediment ends up in the bottom part of the two-piece cap. When you remove the bottom part, it seals the top part so your beer remains carbonated, but you've removed the sediment.

Here's a video of someone showing how it works.


Maybe that's what you're looking for.


I believe Little Creatures filter and re-inoculate with a lager strain - keeping the total yeast count very low will help in minimising the sediment. I'm not sure how easy it would be to do at home - assuming you can filter, you'd need to accurately measure an exact quantity of very healthy yeast. You'd probably need to use trial and error and be prepared for poorly carbonated beer.

The other option is using methode champenoise - I've heard of this being done with beer (eg Deus), but I imagine it would be extremely challenging to do at home.


Yes, bottling without a lot of sediment is possible. The commercial breweries filter and then repitch a known amount of yeast. While this does leave sediment on the bottom it is usually a very small amount - a light dusting. To do this on the homebrew scale without filtering you would cold-condition your beer for a few weeks after fermentation is complete, allowing all the yeast to drop out. Then you re-pitch about 1/10 of a pack of dried yeast or 1/5 of a vial of liquid yeast, along with your priming sugar.

Remember that after fermentation is complete, even as the beer starts to clear, you still have 20-40 times as much yeast as the commercial brewers use to bottle condition thier beer. That is why homebrewers who bottle immediately after fermentation ceases get a large amount of sediment in the bottom.


I don't see any way to bottle condition without having some sediment in the bottle. The sediment is the flocculated yeast that consumed the priming sugar to create the carbonation. Without viable yeast in the bottle there is no way to produce the carbonation.

The definition of bottle conditioning used by your favorite brewery may be slightly different than the traditional way homebrewers bottle condition. They may be carbonating the beer through priming and then bottling afterwards.


If you consider bottle conditioning to be using yeast to generate the co2 to carbonate the beer instead of force carbonating with an external co2 source, then you could keg condition your homebrew and transfer that to bottles once it's carbonated.


There are some brewers in the UK who tank condition their beer. Once they have the correct level of carbonation, they put it through a centrifuge to remove the yeast, but retain the carbonation and put in a bottle. If you leave the bottle for long enough it will throw a sediment as there is still some very, very small yeast particles in suspension, as the centrifuge only removes them down to a certain size.

By using a centrifuge, rather than filtering, you don't need to re-pitch and you don't lose the carbonation you've already gained from the tanks. You can't call it bottle conditioned though, as it's not.


For a quick answer for a homebrew definition of "Bottle Conditioning". No Not without a lot of extra work and or using gimmick devices.

Bottle Conditioning in homebrew generally means to allow suspended yeast after fermintation to carbonate the beer to a desired c02 volume by feeding it a small amount of fermentable sugar, usually 4oz Corn Sugar for a 5gallon batch. Then bottling to allow the yeast to produce c02.

Commercial Bottle Conditioning is typically just aging to allow flavors to meld, producing a sediment free bottle. In some styles live yeast is added like brett, which will still have sediment.

In your example Little Creatures they don't use the term bottle conditioning instead they use live-yeast conditioning which suggests they carbonate in a sealed secondary. In that situation the sediment is left behind before bottling. This is similar to process of kegging, force carbonating, and then bottling giving sediment free beer in bottles.


I do a two step bottling method. Carbonate the beer in one bottle then transfer it to another bottle recapping before it losing carbonation. You will definitely need a second pair of hands for this. But you vastly decrease the amount of sediment.

  • This sounds like an insane amount of work and a great way to introduce oxygen into bottles and lose carbonation, rather than just letting the beer sit in primary or even transferring to a secondary before bottling. Sediment is sediment: time and temp will make it … sediment, and careful racking with prevent disturbing it when transferring.
    – jsled
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 12:49

I read somewhere, maybe Dave Line's old book (sorry I cannot credit the author with certainty), that you can invert twist-stopper with rubber washer type bottles and place them upside down whilst they condition. The trick is to unscrew the stopper part way with the bottle submerged in a bucket of cold water. The higher pressure in the bottle pushes the lees out and you re-tighten the stopper. This technique may work with ceramic wired stopper. I have never tried it and I do not know anyone whom has.

  • Cool! I've never heard of that, but I bet it would work, given a bit of practice.
    – Dale
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 0:04

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