Every time I find a bottle conditioned beer two of the first things I do are look for the date it was bottled, and turn it upside down to look for traces of sediment to see how much yeast is resting in there. This can tell me a few things. If the bottle is older, but there is no sediment whatsoever than the beer may not have aged very well – without yeast in the bottle the ageing process is really just age, rather than maturing. If there is a nice flurry of yeast than I know something has been happening over time, and hopefully this beer has matured into something unique!
I was at a friends house the other day, and as I was putting some beers in his fridge I saw a few bottles of Kwak, one of my favorite Belgian Ales. So I grabbed a bottle and did my standard test. No date shown on it, but when I turned it on end look what happened! I have never in my life seen a flurry of sediment like this.
Usually the sediment is a dusty spritz of yeast, but these were thick flakes. What is this? I had no clue what to think of it, and still don’t. Did this beer go bad? Was it a strange bottling? My first question to my bud of course was “have you tried it?” And sure enough he had, and said that it was delicious! So the beer hadn’t gone bad, yet these massive snowflake like yeast residues were pretty prominently featured in the beer.
If anyone has a better idea of why these exist, please let me know. Until then, it is still a mystery to me.