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Old 05-31-2005, 08:28 PM   #1
chicagobluesman
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Default Lagering... Questions....

Howdy,
I'm considering making my first lager.

Questions:
1. Does the 'lagering' process occur while still in the fermenter? or in your bottles after bottling? (don't laugh).

2. When 'lagering' for a couple of months, is this still in the fermenter?

3. 2. Will 'lagering' in a refrigerator be acceptable? (vs. freezer)

I'm going to do an Oktoberfest this weekend and not crack em' until September. Any tips would be appreciated.

Prost!

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Old 06-01-2005, 02:26 AM   #2
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From what I understand, lagers are often fermented in the 50s degree range, then "lagered" at temps in the high 30s low 40s. As far as time frames are considered, the cooler ferment temps translate into longer fermentations, even as long as a month or two for stronger brews. I have seen some recipes that call for long periods of cold conditioning either in the fermenter or the bottle -- the main thing is not to bottle before the fermentation has finished, which can be a long slow wait if it is pretty cold. For lagers, I would say that having a hydrometer and using it is a very good idea, since the fermentations are likely to be less rapid and harder to visually monitor (like for the bubbles to die down, which usually works for ales). Check the gravity once it looks done, then check it again in another week, and if the gravity is the same, its time to bottle. Hope this helps, even though I'm not sure I directly answered your questions

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Old 06-01-2005, 11:45 AM   #3
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I tried lagering my last brew and this is what I found out by trial and error(mostly error). The primary fermentation took place in the 50-55 deg range. I then rack to my secondary and placed in a fridge for 3 weeks. My error came in that I lowered the temp too quickly and stopped the fermentation. When I pulled it out to bottle the yeast woke up and fermentation took off again. I had to wait another week before it stopped. I did some more reading and found that you need to bring the temp down slowly over the course of a couple of weeks from the mid 50s to high 30s. then bring it back up to room temp the same way. My beer came out ok but I plan to do my next batch following the steps I just described.

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Old 06-01-2005, 02:04 PM   #4
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I did my first lager last December. It was a Bock and I was able to ‘lager’ it in the garage during the winter. I’d like to do an Oktoberfest this month, too. I think I’ll need a dedicated refrigerator or some other means of keeping it cool for the summer months. With my Bock, I used a half-gallon starter of White Labs WLP820 Oktoberfest/Marzen Lager Yeast. I lagered it at 40o- 45o F for six weeks and then racked to a secondary for an additional 6 weeks at the same temperature.

The best advice I got was to let the secondary come to room temperature (~70o -72o F) over 3-4 days before bottling, then letting the bottles sit at room temperature to carbonate before returning them to 40o- 45o F to cold condition. I cold conditioned my Bock for 3-4 weeks. Here is my original post: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=892

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Old 06-01-2005, 03:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhoobarb
The best advise I got was to let the secondary come to room temperature (~70o -72o F) over 3-4 days before bottling, then letting the bottles sit at room temperature to carbonate before returning them to 40o- 45o F to cold condition. I cold conditioned my Bock for 3-4 weeks. Here is my original post: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=892

Just like you said.

You need to let it come to room temp in order to prime. It's similar to adding sugar to iced tea. The sugar will not dissolve.

If you add it (I know, it's already dissolved in the water for priming) at room temp it blends much better.
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Old 06-01-2005, 03:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagobluesman
Howdy,
I'm considering making my first lager.

Questions:
1. Does the 'lagering' process occur while still in the fermenter? or in your bottles after bottling? (don't laugh).

2. When 'lagering' for a couple of months, is this still in the fermenter?

3. 2. Will 'lagering' in a refrigerator be acceptable? (vs. freezer)

I'm going to do an Oktoberfest this weekend and not crack em' until September. Any tips would be appreciated.

Prost!
don't worry, we don't laugh at people because there are no stupid questions on the forum. just have'n fun and lerning all we can from each other......

1. lagering occurs during secondary fermentation for homebrewers. can either be in the glass carboy or pin lock/ball lock soda style kegs.
2. yes. refer to #1.
3. if you can get the fridge down to at least 40 degrees, it might be okay, just may need to lager for a longer amount of time. a freezer with an external thermostat is better for controling your temps. they go up to 70 and down to 25-28. you can get them at most HBS or on-line from several HBS sites.
ferm temp's will vary a little with the lager yeast strain you use. most will be 50-58 degree range. once primary ferm is complete (usually 10-14 days), then you'll want to give it a diacetyl rest @ 60-64 degrees for 1-3 days. then start dropping the temp by 2 degrees a day until you reach 30-32 degrees. once it hits 30-32, lager for at least 3-4 weeks, no longer than 6 months. i keg, so don't know about the temp raise back to room temp before bottling, but sounds like sound advice. i have a vienna lager in my freezer right now, should be ready to tap June 18 after 4 weeks of lagering. temp control and mad sanitation are the keys to lagering. just my $0.02 worth.
if your really wanting to learn about lagering and get all geeky, check out Greg Noonan's "New Brewing Lager Beer". good book and pretty technical about lagering and German style brewing.

Cheers and good luck!
DeRoux's Broux
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Old 06-01-2005, 05:39 PM   #7
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Default DeRoux, thanks!

DeRoux, that's exactly the kind of information I was needing. Even with the several brew books I have, none really addressed those specific questions. I'm pretty excited to give my Oktoberfest a run this weekend and see how lager #1 turns out. Drinkable is the goal. Tasty is the payoff!

Cheers!
Chicagobluesman

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Old 06-02-2005, 01:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeRoux's Broux
don't worry, we don't laugh at people because there are no stupid questions on the forum. just have'n fun and lerning all we can from each other......

1. lagering occurs during secondary fermentation for homebrewers. can either be in the glass carboy or pin lock/ball lock soda style kegs.
2. yes. refer to #1.
3. if you can get the fridge down to at least 40 degrees, it might be okay, just may need to lager for a longer amount of time. a freezer with an external thermostat is better for controling your temps. they go up to 70 and down to 25-28. you can get them at most HBS or on-line from several HBS sites.
ferm temp's will vary a little with the lager yeast strain you use. most will be 50-58 degree range. once primary ferm is complete (usually 10-14 days), then you'll want to give it a diacetyl rest @ 60-64 degrees for 1-3 days. then start dropping the temp by 2 degrees a day until you reach 30-32 degrees. once it hits 30-32, lager for at least 3-4 weeks, no longer than 6 months. i keg, so don't know about the temp raise back to room temp before bottling, but sounds like sound advice. i have a vienna lager in my freezer right now, should be ready to tap June 18 after 4 weeks of lagering. temp control and mad sanitation are the keys to lagering. just my $0.02 worth.
if your really wanting to learn about lagering and get all geeky, check out Greg Noonan's "New Brewing Lager Beer". good book and pretty technical about lagering and German style brewing.

Cheers and good luck!
DeRoux's Broux
Well, I guess I'm geeky!! Noonans book is an excellent resource!
First, ferment in primary between 50-55ºF until you are aprox 2/3 the way through , then go to diacetyl rest at 60-64ºF. (This is what Dr. White suggests!) Now, after diacetyl rest, drop back to primary temp for a few days, then rack to secondary. (This is from Noonans book, it will reduce lagering time.) When you go to lagering temp, I generally drop up to 8 deg per day, but according to a few sources, it doesn't matter , you can crash chill it without any negative effects, but I still drop my temps about 5 deg per day, but that's just me. I have done all of these steps and have had good results, my last CAP was lagered for 3 weeks and was wonderful!
Now, if you are in Oregon, how can you be "ChicagoBluesman" ?
But I love the name none-the-less!!
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Old 06-02-2005, 01:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BitterRat
Well, I guess I'm geeky!! Noonans book is an excellent resource!
When you go to lagering temp, I generally drop up to 8 deg per day, but according to a few sources, it doesn't matter , you can crash chill it without any negative effects, but I still drop my temps about 5 deg per day, but that's just me. I have done all of these steps and have had good results, my last CAP was lagered for 3 weeks and was wonderful!
Now, if you are in Oregon, how can you be "ChicagoBluesman" ?
But I love the name none-the-less!!
Hey, beer geeks are cool! I tell my wife that all the time

Noonan's book is real good. I just kind of do a compilation of different things I have read and heard from people who lager. And ChicagoBluesman is right. There isn't a whole lot of lagering info out there. Byron Burch's book has a few litttle tips on lagering, but not much. Even
"Brew Your Own" doesn't cover much lager tips.......

Hey chicagobluesman, ever heard of Tab Benoit? Check him out, good ol' cajun guy from Houma, LA, who plays some mean, raw, blues. Check out "Wetlands", "Sea Saint Sessions", "These Blues Are All Mine", and his newest, "Fever for the Bayou". He play's at Buddy Guy's joint Legend's pretty regular in Chicago. I don't think you'll be dissapointed!

Cheers!
DeRoux's Broux
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Old 06-02-2005, 02:36 PM   #10
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Default Thanks and the blues.....

I'm going to try a mix of all the recommendations I've received and hopefully do a little more homework over the weekend. Now about the blues...

I'm a Chicago native who 'Couldn't Stand the Weather....(SRV)' and headed out West. I've met Tab Benoit several times and have seen him many times and probably just about every other blues artist that is still alive.

I was thinking I should've changed my call sign to ChicagoBREWSman for this forum...haha.....

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