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Old 09-03-2008, 12:28 AM   #1
GraniteRiverBrewing
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Default Lagering beer...

I'd like to start lagering my beer. Are there any links or a step by step on temp control? I just got a freezer and a temp control.

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Old 09-03-2008, 01:53 AM   #2
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It should say in the recipe you are using what temp to do it at...udually around low 50s i think

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Old 09-03-2008, 01:55 AM   #3
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Yes, but aren't you suppose to lower the temp slowly?

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Old 09-03-2008, 01:57 AM   #4
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I agree that this is convoluted, but it is what I do... My schedule for a "normal" lager is 14 days minimum at 54 degrees; step up to 68 degrees over 2 days and then let it sit there for another 2 days; drop the temp in increments of 3 degrees per day for 11 days; keg and let sit in the cold room for another 6 weeks at 34 degrees.

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Old 09-03-2008, 02:01 AM   #5
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I ferment my lagers at 50 degrees until they reach 75% of their expected final gravity (about 10 days), and then taste for diacetyl. If I'm using a yeast that produces very little diacetyl, and I don't taste any, I go ahead and let fermentation finish at 50 degrees (another few days). If I am using a yeast that is noted for diacetyl, and I taste a little slickness in the sample, I raise the temperature to 65-68 degrees for 24 to 48 hours for the diacetyl rest. Then, I rack the beer into a carboy, and begin the lagering process. I start at 50 degrees, and then drop the temperature 5 degrees per day until I am at 34 degrees. I keep it at 34 degrees for 6-12 weeks (depending on what I'm making and how "big" of a beer it is) and then bottle.

I pitch my yeast cold, so I don't get a ton of diacetyl even with big diacetyl producers, so I skip the diacetyl rest about 75% of the time.

Here's some great info on lagers: How to Brew - By John Palmer - What is Different for Brewing Lager Beer?

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Old 09-03-2008, 02:05 AM   #6
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You might have to piece information together, but you can find most of it here. Lagers aren't talked about as much, so ask away. I can also highly recommend buying the book "New Brewing Lager Beer" by Greg Noonan. Invaluable for lagers and for brewing in general. Other than that, here's a quick run-down which will hopefully answer some of your questions:

-Yeast starter temp: You'll hear differing opinions on this... some say room temp is fine for lagers (but you definitely have to pitch ONLY the yeast slurry), and it probably is fine. Others say to ferment the starter at primary fermentation temps (50-ish) because then the yeast get used to fermenting cooler and you don't have to dump the the starter beer, and there's logic to that ideal, too.

Pitching temps: It's best to pitch low (in temp) and let it rise a few degrees to primary fermentation temp. So, you could pitch at 45dF and let it warm to 50dF. This is because more diacetyl and esters are produced if you pitch warmer and let it cool down to primary fermentation temps.

Primary fermentation temps: Keep it at your chosen temp... 50dF is usually good but check your yeast's preferred temps. The lower in the optimal range, the cleaner (but slightly slower) the fermentation will be. You can even go a few degrees lower than the listed optimal range. Don't let your temperature probe just sit in the freezer, attach it to the fermenter, insulating it with a couple layers of bubble wrap or similar insulating material. This will give a more accurate measurement of fermentation temp as opposed to ambient temp.

Diacetyl rest: I do these everytime whether I need it or not, just to clean up the beer. Raise the temp from primary temps (say, 50) to 60-65 for a couple days near the end of fermentation. Text book rule is 6 points shy of target FG, but since this is difficult to gauge, you can do it when the krausen is about half fallen and you should be fine.

Lagering temps: From either primary temp or diacetyl rest temp, lower the temp to lagering temps (33-34dF) by about 5 degrees per day. If you crash cool it, you might shock too much yeast out of suspension.... they still need to work during lagering. Lager for about 7 days per 8 points of gravity. So, a 1.048 OG beer would be 6 to 7 weeks lagering. This timing depends on other factors, including how dextrinous was your wort (mash temps, decoction mash). The more dextrinous the wort, the longer to lager. The lighter the beer (less dextrinous), the shorter you can lager.

Hope that helps.

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Old 09-03-2008, 03:24 AM   #7
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Is it possible to lager more than one batch in a fridge or a freezer at one time? I guess I would have to do two batches at a time..

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Old 09-03-2008, 03:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by GraniteRiverBrewing View Post
Is it possible to lager more than one batch in a fridge or a freezer at one time? I guess I would have to do two batches at a time..
Of course it is if you have the room! Just keep in mine that you want to ferment around 50-52 degrees, and lager in the 30s, so try to have the batches in the same time period.
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
Lagering temps: From either primary temp or diacetyl rest temp, lower the temp to lagering temps (33-34dF) by about 5 degrees per day. If you crash cool it, you might shock too much yeast out of suspension.... they still need to work during lagering. Lager for about 7 days per 8 points of gravity. So, a 1.048 OG beer would be 6 to 7 weeks lagering.
When is good time for priming and bottling, before or after this lagering period?
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Old 09-03-2008, 01:21 PM   #10
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When is good time for priming and bottling, before or after this lagering period?
It's better to lager to-be-bottled lagers at atmospheric pressure (not in bottle), then prime, bottle, and carbonate for a few weeks. You have to wait a long time for lagers!

EDIT: To add, after lagering, priming and bottling, you can have the beer carbonate at room temperature as long as you're using dextrose/corn sugar to carbonate. If you use a malt-based sugar for priming (DME, LME, saved wort), they need to carb at primary fermentation temps. This is because the lager yeast will ferment dextrose cleanly at room temperature, but when they ferment maltose at room temp, they will produce esters, etc.
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