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Old 01-14-2007, 06:11 PM   #1
mcody2005
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Default how long to lager?

Im brand new to home brewing, and just started my first batch of beer friday night. I bought a pre packaged receipe kit for octoberfest lagger, threw away the packet of dried yeast that came with it and used a white labs liquid yeast instead(wlp830 german lager). Ive gotten a lot of conflicting information on how long and at what temperature i should forment the brew. the guy at the brew store said 55-65 degrees for a week. this seems like an awfully braod range. the liquid yeast specs call for 50-55 deg. but dosent specify any length of time. i have also heard that the temp should be raised after a while than brought back down for a while!
here is where i stand right now. i have my beer fermentor in a "quick and dirty" homemade chill box and have been able to maintain a temperature floating between 53 and 54 degrees. any advice? Thanks!

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Old 01-14-2007, 06:47 PM   #2
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Ferment at as close to 50f as you can get and when your ferment is winding down (about 3/4 done) rise the temps to 60f until fermentation is finished. Then rack to secondary and lager as close to 34f as you can get for 2 months (if you are patient enough) bottle or keg as usual. If bottling then bulk prime and leave the bottles at about 60f for 3 or 4 weeks to prime before moving them back into the cold to store. If kegging then you can force carb or naturally carb acording to your preferences.

Good luck and welcome to this board and the great people who haunt it, lol.

Cheers

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Old 01-14-2007, 07:12 PM   #3
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my kit didnt come with a secondary. can i leave the brew in the primary? what is the purpose of using a secondary if fermentation is complete? Boy i have a lot to learn! what would happen if i skip the whole 2 month @ 34 deg. thing? and last but not least, do i detemine that fermentation is 3/4 of the way finished by checking the s.g. or by the ammount of elapsed time in the fermentor? Thanks again-Matt

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Old 01-14-2007, 07:43 PM   #4
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The purpose of the secondary is to clear the brew. Calling it a secondary causes confusion, but it is a holdover from wine making that is unlikely to go away. A separate lagering vessel is necessary, as the brew needs to be off the yeast to lager properly.

If you skip the lagering period, you will have green beer. It won't taste right, even though it might be drinkable. Lagers are not for people in a hurry.

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Old 01-14-2007, 08:01 PM   #5
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O.K. i'm convinced. anything worth doing is worth doing right. does my lagering vessel need to be vented, or should I seal up the brew tight. I seem to remember hearing someware that very long brew times lend to contamination and possable off flavors.

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Old 01-15-2007, 12:05 AM   #6
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It still needs to have an airlock on it to release any co2. When racking take care to avoid any splashing of the beer as it could get oxidized. Keep the ends of your racking cane below wort levels.

Long brew times at very cold tempertures retard spoiling nasties, but make sure your sanation regime is spot on. secondary also conditions the beer and blends flavors as well as clearing sediment from the beer making it clearer

Making lagers take time and patience and a "little" knowhow to get right, but don't let anyone discourage you from trying. I'm still learning. Do some research here and ask questions. There is a lot of reading to be done before your next lager. Keep your brew cold after it is finished and when you bottle it make sure it is kept at 60 or so to carb the beer for a minimum of 3 weeks before putting back in the cold to store it.

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Old 01-15-2007, 01:22 AM   #7
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I've done two lagers so far but I've never thought about what would happen if I didn't "lager" it because I think that's really the whole point. Maybe it would still be a cleaner than the ale equivelent, but I'd say not to brew lagers if you don't want to do the cold storage.

Once my lager is in secondary, I put the two solid caps on my carboy cap because they don't fit really tight on better bottles.

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