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Old 02-20-2010, 02:12 AM   #1
Lefe21
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Default First lager brew

With a few ale batches under my belt, I feel then need to try and brew a nice lager. My question concerns the use of a secondary fermenter for this type. I will be using a mini-fridge which can fit my 5 gallon carboy, but not my 10 gallon plastic pail.

My previous brews I used the plastic as my primary and then racked into the carboy to finish up. Given that I can only fit my glass carboy into my fridge, what is the best way to approach fermenting the lager? I've never had to use a blow off hose and not sure at what stage I would add that.

Would appreciate a quick run down of the best way to go about fermenting this lager.

Thanks!

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Old 02-20-2010, 08:54 AM   #2
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When I did my lager it didn't seem to need a blow off, but my starting was about 1.055, not sure what your's is going to be. Do you keg or bottle?

You would want to rack to a secondary, but with your size limitations it seems like you'd have to primary in the carboy, rack to the pail while you clean your carboy, then rack back to the carboy for secondary and lagering. The risk being of course infecting your batch and creating a little more opportunity to oxygenate it. Do realize that either way you'll have to lager for at least 4 - 6 weeks in your fridge if that's the only way you'll keep temp control.

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Old 02-20-2010, 03:15 PM   #3
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I might just give in and buy a second carboy. It would be useful to have around this summer anyways as I could brew two at a time.

I bottle my beer. What would be the difference between using the carboy as my primary as opposed to using my plastic pail. I cover my pail for the first ~5 days till krausen falls. Would I still be covering the carboy? If so what is the best way to do this. As far as I'm aware I shouldn't attach the air lock till after the krausen drops, so just not sure how I should cover the carboy up before this.

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Old 02-21-2010, 05:15 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lefe21 View Post
I cover my pail for the first ~5 days till krausen falls. Would I still be covering the carboy? If so what is the best way to do this. As far as I'm aware I shouldn't attach the air lock till after the krausen drops, so just not sure how I should cover the carboy up before this.
No sure what you mean by this. Do you not have an air lock/blow off tube on your bucket lid/carboy normally? Are you letting it release CO2 while still protecting it from "wild things" falling in? You may have heard to not put on an airlock until after the krausen falls because you might use a blow off tube up until that point, but either way you have to use one or the other.

As for the difference between pail and carboy for primary...well there are some differences, but I thought you said you couldn't fit your pail in the mini-fridge? You do have to primary ferment at around 50F which would likely require you to use your refridgerator regardless of what you're fermenting it in as a primary or secondary.
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:34 PM   #5
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No sure what you mean by this. Do you not have an air lock/blow off tube on your bucket lid/carboy normally? Are you letting it release CO2 while still protecting it from "wild things" falling in?
What I use for my primary is a plastic bucket with lid, there is no blow off hose (not worried with it being a 10 gallon bucket) and no air lock. The lid sits on top and does not let anything in, but it doesn't really snap on tight which I thought was to let the CO2 release. Is there something wrong with this setup?
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:56 AM   #6
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well in theory you're probably releasing gas while it's not fully snapped on and likey minimizing what can crawl in. However, I would imagine many brewers shocked that you don't have a direct water/liquid barrier between the outside world and your fermenting brew. I'm so cautious that I put vodka in my air lock because of blow outs that were unexpected or temp changes/vibrations that have allowed a few drops of water in my primary early on. The fun thing about brewing is that we all do it different for different reasons Did you end up getting your carboy? I'd highly recommened a better bottle, because I've grown tired of lugging around my glass carboys and was shocked how much i like the BB. Plus throw in some PBW for cleaning and you never have to scrub a carboy again!

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