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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Lees in the bottle

    Recently a poster asked why many people have the habit of leaving the last ounce or so of beer in the bottle. I think the reason is that when bottled beer first came out over 100 years ago, the beer was not filtered. A sediment would form on the bottom. To avoid pouring the yeasty lees into the bottle (or mouth), the drinker left it in the bottle. This practice is still followed intentionally for Belgian and certain other beers that are bottle-conditioned. Some people pour the beer "all-in" but many like myself like to separate the clear part from the yeasty sediment. Once the habit became ingrained to do this in the 1800's, drinkers kept doing it out of habit, even after bottled beer became filtered.

    Another explanation might be, the beer at the bottom was flat, or perhaps through a kind of contrariness, or wariness, drinkers did not want to be seen draining the bottle, it was uncouth or perhaps was felt to show too ardent an interest in the drinking experience.

    But I favor the first explanation above, it seems to make the most sense.

    Gary

  2. #2
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    Re: Lees in the bottle

    Hmmm, I always drink the whole thing, even with bottle conditioned beers. That yeast is good for you!

    Tim

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: Lees in the bottle

    Shoot far Gary,

    You are right about "stuff" in the bottom of the bottles of beer...

    I was give a incredible amount of specialty beers from some of my guest. Many of them were really good. Working at a bottling house for all these years I always check "clarity", just a haibt. There are several of those beer's that have incredible amounts of sediment in there!

    Ya know what? They are still in the fridge . It's like trying to drink flocked bourbon...ain't nothing wrong with it, it's gonna taste just fine but it looks awful...Same with "deer meat" taste just like steak ... Yeah right ...

    Bettye Jo

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Lees in the bottle

    Yes but Bettye Jo I advise with those sedimented beers to "decant" them. I pour mine in one steady pour and then lift up the bottle to leave the last ounce or more in the bottle. With practice, you can pour a nearly clear glass. As Tim said some people like to drink the beer with the yeasty sediment but many do not. By decanting in this way, you are doing what the brewery does in the plant, that's all, they decant it there into bottles or kegs, but if not filtered at that stage, the consumer can do the same by decanting into his glass or a pitcher (for larger bottles).

    Gary

  5. #5
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    Re: Lees in the bottle

    Not sure about anywhere else, but the small amount most leave in the bottle here in St Louis is termed "backwash" even in filtered beers. For some reason, many feel that the last little bit of beer in the bottom contains any impurities that may have transferred from the drinker's mouth back into the bottle. Of course some of it is the foam that forms in the bottle as it is being poured as well. I have had several people turn up there nose at the site of my habit of sucking the last drop dry out of a bottle followed by a comment about my lack of worry about the backwash.

  6. #6
    Enthusiast
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    Re: Lees in the bottle

    If you don't like the lees, the worst place to keep the beer is in the fridge... every time it goes on , it giggles up the beer and swirls the contents. Store the beer in a cool calm place and the lees will settle to be easier decanted.

 

 

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