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Old 02-09-2013, 10:25 AM   #1
Unclewillis
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Default Not sure what equipment to buy

Well I am finally lagering but only because the temp allows my 1st floor to stay at lager temps. So now Im hooked and I dont know what to buy to be able to lager whenever I want (5gal batches) Do I buy an old fridge and put a temp controller in it and then make a kegerator as well? or do I buy a pre-made fancy kegerator that would double as a place to lager when I dont have a keg.

Help and Thanks in Advance.


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Old 02-09-2013, 11:35 AM   #2
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It really depends how much you brew. For me, it was easier to buy a separate freezer for my lagering. I brew fairly often and if I wanted to lager, that means I would have to take beer off one if my 4 taps in order to make room for the lagering vessels.

This way, I can have all 4 taps going and have 2 lagers fermenting/lagering at the same time.

I would also go with an old freezer. Some older fridges can't get that low and that thing would be running almost non-stop to keep it at a steady lager temp.

An old freezer and a temp controller are fairly cheap. You could be fermenting lagers and serving out of your kegerator without any sort of disruptions.

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Old 02-09-2013, 11:58 AM   #3
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Theres a difference between fermenting a lager yeast beer, and lagering. Lager yeast typically ferment in the mid 40s to 50s depending on the strain and desired characteristics. Lagering refers to a cold conditioning phase that happens after fermentation is complete. This is usually at close to freezing temperatures (similar t temps that most finished beers are served).

So, unless you are serving your kegged beer at 45-55, you wouldnt be able to ferment a lager in the same kegerator. You could however lager that beer.

To answer your original question I would get/build a dedicated fermentation chamber with temperature control... This way it could be used for both ales (temperature control is as important if not more important with ales) and lagers.

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Old 02-09-2013, 02:10 PM   #4
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So, kpr121 or anyone else:

I just brewed a Partial mash Czech Pils yesterday and pitched a packet of Saflager 34/70 in the fermenter while the wort had been cooled down to 66*F. The temp in the fermenter is now down to 58*F. But I see no bubbles in the airlock. Did I do this correctly? Do I have to get the temp lower for the yeast to begin fermentation? Or do I have to wait a few days?

This is my first Brew that is not an Ale so lagering is a little new to me.

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Old 02-09-2013, 02:17 PM   #5
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Lagers are going to be slower to start and seem like they are fermenting slower. Give it a few days and it should start showing signs.

Also, at 58°, you are at the top of the optimum fermentation range. When fermentation is at its peak, it can raise the temp inside 5° or more and then you will be outside that range. I would try to drop it to around 50 if possible. That way when your fermentation kicks off, you won't be stressing the yeast and causing problems with excessive temps.

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Old 02-09-2013, 05:31 PM   #6
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Cool! thanks PJoyce. I am at 56*F right now and getting colder. I suppose I should leave it like that for 5-7 days and then place it at higher temps? The recipe call for 6 weeks of fermentation.

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Old 02-09-2013, 05:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerealkiller
Cool! thanks PJoyce. I am at 56*F right now and getting colder. I suppose I should leave it like that for 5-7 days and then place it at higher temps? The recipe call for 6 weeks of fermentation.
When the gravity hits 1.020, get the temp to around 65° for a diaceytl rest and let fermentation finish. Once that is done, transfer and begin lagering as close to freezing as possible but do not let it freeze. I usually do around 34° just to be safe.
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:45 PM   #8
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+1 to what PJoyce said, lager yeasts generally take longer to get started and generally do not show signs of vigorous ferment like ale yeasts would.

I will also add that it is most optimal to try to pitch your yeast when the wort is at the lower end of the yeast’s temperature range, and then allow the temps to gradually rise through the ferment. Going the other way (starting high and dropping the temps) could potentially cause your yeast to be stressed and not function properly. At large, rapid temperature swings they could give up and drop out altogether. (I wouldn’t worry about this yet in your case, give it a couple days before you start worrying).

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Old 02-12-2013, 12:18 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the advice. My first Lager is a partial kit Pilsner. It's been in primary for about 2 weeks at 50 deg and looks likes it goin great. I never realized that they bottom ferment unlike ales. Should be a nice drink for spring/summer time

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