Given all the enthusiasm for keg at the moment, it's time to hear the views of brewing experts on the topic of forced carbonation. Experts from about 100 tears ago. Long dead all of them, so no chance of them arguing back.
Whitbread Family Ale: you remember me mentioning that recently. That was one of the bottled Light Bitters discussed in this article.It's a type of beer which, in the form of Light Ale, live on today.
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The ordinary process of bottling is so well known to every one here, that it is hardly necessary for us to state that all beer intended for bottling should be made from first-class materials, should be preferably brewed during the winter months, be well matured in cask, and only bottled when brilliant, and after the ordinary secondary cask-fermentation has taken place.
There can be no doubt but that such beers, brewed and bottled under most favourable conditions, present to the palate a peculiar pungent flavour and an invigorating freshness which is greatly esteemed amongst connoisseurs; but there is one drawback to all such beer, they must inevitably be accompanied by a deposit, and which in many bottled beers is more or less heavy. It was to obviate this effect that the carbonating system was first introduced, and although such a system was much decried at first, and described by one writer as " an aerated draught beer in bottle," the bulk of the carbonic acid gas being merely dissolved in the liquid, which on reducing the pressure
immediately came out of solution; and the writer goes on to explain why a glass of "natural" bottled beer will, as a rule, retain its gas and remain drinkable when exposed to the air for a much longer time than a glass of carbonated beer.
In all probability there was a good deal of truth in these remarks when the carbonating system was first introduced and for some years afterwards; but we think when you have tasted the various samples of beer which are before you, bottled on the carbonating system that we are now about to explain in detail, you will find that it is now possible to produce a carbonated beer in bottle in every respect equal to that produced on the old plan.
In order to successfully produce a first-class carbonated beer in bottle several points have to be observed. Amongst others, the beer must be specially brewed for this purpose, the object being to obtain a finished beer possessing as little fermentable matter as possible and a very low attenuation. The following analyses will perhaps show the differences, to a certain extent, between a carbonated beer on the system we suggest and light bitter beers bottled in the ordinary way where condition is brought about by after-fermentation in bottle.
Analyses of Bottled Beers.
Column I. Carbonated Light Bitter Beer.
Columns II and III. Two well-known brands of Non-carbonated Light Bitter Beer.
I. II. III. Original gravity 1044 1048.7 1045.3 Specific attenuation 1006.4 1009.8 1011.4 Absolute alcohol per cent, by weight 4.15 4.15 3.75 Proof spirit per cent, by -volume 9.1 9.1 8.2 Polarisation (200 mm.) tube 7 7.6 9 Matter fermented per cent 71.17 65.74 61.97 Maltose unfermented per cent 7.16 7.98 9.17 Dextrin unfermented per cent 11.1 10.86 13.72 Passive matter 10.57 15.42 15.14
"Journal of the Federated Institutes of Brewing, vol VIII, 1902", pages 297-299
So there you have it. The carbonation in a naturally-conditioned beer is different to that of a force-carbonated one. I'll be happy to discuss the topic, as long as you don't use the argument CO2 is CO2.