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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > How low can you go? (lagering)
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Old 12-18-2007, 03:07 PM   #1
Bromley
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Default How low can you go? (lagering)

I brew lager batches with a friend from work and then he does all the lagering in his chest freezer. He is someone who always has to push the envelope, so he currently has our latest batches (a schwarzbier and a light American lager) at 25F. He has slowly lowered it to this point and neither of them are freezing. This is obviously due to the alcohol content, but is there any benefits/drawbacks to going this low? You would think the colder the better when lagering.

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Old 12-18-2007, 03:31 PM   #2
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You truly are pushing the envelope at 25f. I don't know if there is any additional benefit to lagering at that temp. What I do know is that lagering in the 30-33f range shortly after secondary fermentation will reduce your lagering time.

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Old 12-18-2007, 03:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bromley
You would think the colder the better when lagering.
I don't know why I would think that. Lagering isn't just about clearing out the beer. There's some cleanup that has to happen, as well, especially with DMS and other sulfur compounds, and you may need more energy than sub-freezing temperatures can provide.

I need to look back at it, but I recall that, in "Brewing Lager Beer," Noonan recommended 34°F for lagering. That's where I lager, and I've been very happy with that.


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Old 12-18-2007, 04:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexLaw
I don't know why I would think that. Lagering isn't just about clearing out the beer. There's some cleanup that has to happen, as well, especially with DMS and other sulfur compounds, and you may need more energy than sub-freezing temperatures can provide.

I need to look back at it, but I recall that, in "Brewing Lager Beer," Noonan recommended 34°F for lagering. That's where I lager, and I've been very happy with that.


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Ok, I worded that wrong. Maybe YOU wouldn't think that. But the guy with the lagering freezer certainly does. I thought all of the DMS reactions happened in the warming up process.
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Old 12-18-2007, 04:19 PM   #5
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It sounds like the guy with the lagering freezer is just trying to push things as far as he can to see where it breaks. That's fine and all, but it's also fine to read a book about lagering and gain from the wisdom of those that already pushed it. Then, you can find another, more fun place to experiment.

I'm not sure what warming up process you are talking about. There might be a lot of funky sulphury stuff in that lager right after fermenting. I remember the first one I made. When I racked it, it smelled like rotten eggs, and I thought it was all messed up. I tried it again after two or three months of lagering at 34°F, and it was fantastic. Those compounds need some energy to break down or get cleaned up.


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Old 12-18-2007, 04:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bromley
I thought all of the DMS reactions happened in the warming up process.
Two good ways to reduce DMS
  1. good rolling boil,without a lid on your kettle
  2. Force cooling the wort quickly (15 -60 minutes)
Are you possibly thinking about a Diacetyl rest, and not DMS?
Some Brewers (like myself) swear by performing a Diacetyl Rest to scrub the Diacetyl out of their lagers. This involves raising the temp to 60-68f for ~24-48 hours prior to the end of primary fermentation.
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Old 12-18-2007, 04:26 PM   #7
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Did he give it a couple days of diactyl rest after fermentation and before the lagering?

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Old 12-18-2007, 04:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Did he give it a couple days of diactyl rest after fermentation and before the lagering?
Yes, the warming up process I was talking about was the diacetyl rest. According to Scott (dude with chest freezer), he warmed up slowly over the course of a week to 70F, racked, then slowly brought it back down to low 30's over the course of another week. That is the point at which he decided to push things and continue to lower as long as there were no signs of freezing.
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