I am planning on brewing a California Common this weekend. I am brewing partial mash (mostly 2-row with some Crystal 80L).
I read the entire section on Designing Great Beers and decided I want to brew this in the traditional way as it was Pre-Prohibition. I am going to do a single infusion mash at 158. Ferment in the low 60's and then lager in the 50's. Now I have a few questions. The way it was explained in Designing Great Beers, they used krausening to carbonate their beer as the gentlemen brewing these beers in San Fran were of German descent. Now for the questions:
1 - Has anyone used krausening to carbonate the beer and am I crazy to do this?
2 - If I do choose to krausen to carbonate, should I draw off an approximate 1/2 gallon (total batch would be 5 gallons) before pitching and store it in the fridge until I am ready?
3 - When do I add the unfermented wort to the beer? Basically, do I lager in secondary for 2 weeks and then add it in the keg?
3a - Can I skip the secondary, add the unfermented wort to the keg and lager in the keg? If I choose this method, should my lager period be 2 weeks or 4 weeks?
This is my first lager (I just bought a Cool Brewing cooler), so I am not sure how much trub will form in the lagering stage. If I lager in the keg I will be serving from, I dont mind pouring a few beers off, but if it will be a huge amount of trub, I most likely would want to lager in secondary and transfer to the keg for krausening and conditioning.
I know, these questions illustrate that I am slightly crazy and that the chance that anyone else has tried these methods in a homebrew setting on this forum is slim. If not, I guess I will be the first?