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Old 07-20-2011, 08:57 PM   #1
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Default First lager: Lagering on the yeast, filtering into kegs?

Hey folks, I'm about to do my first lager, and also interested in doing my first filtered beer (as I get annoyed by stirring up sediment every time I move a keg).

For various reasons, I'd prefer to avoid using kegs as brite tanks, so I want to essentially use this process:

1) Brew an Oktoberfest in the next couple weeks -- I brew 10 gallon batches, and ferment in a Sanke keg that I sterilize and completely seal (except for the blowoff), so I'm not concerned about permeability.
2) Ferment 2-3 weeks or so at 48-50 degrees.
3) Add gelatin, slowly drop the temp over ~2 weeks to 33 degrees, hold ~3-4 weeks.
4) Transfer under CO2 pressure through a 1 micron filter into serving kegs.

I typically don't worry much about autolysis, but even so I rarely have a need to leave beer on the yeast that long since I can usually bulk age my ales in corny kegs. But I understand lagers want to keep some yeast alive during that lagering phase for clean-up, so I don't want to filter prior to lagering, meaning I'd need a brite tank in the middle (and buying 2 more kegs).

Thoughts? Will this process have any serious flaws that I'm missing?

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Old 07-20-2011, 09:05 PM   #2
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How do you add the gelatin?

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Old 07-20-2011, 09:10 PM   #3
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How do you add the gelatin?
Heat up ~8 oz of bottled water in the microwave, pour in a bit of gelatin, swirl until it fully dissolves. Open the top of the Sanke fermenter, pour it in, and reseal...
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:13 PM   #4
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I would do a diacetyl rest after primary. Let the temp get up to 70 and hold for a couple days.

Then drop it to lagering temps (I do it quickly) and lager.

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Old 07-20-2011, 09:13 PM   #5
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I have never used gelatin but have my first lager just finishing fermenting and getting ready to lager.

Do you think that just pouring the gelatin in will distribute it enough, or will it only affect a small area of the volume?

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Old 07-20-2011, 09:32 PM   #6
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I would do a diacetyl rest after primary. Let the temp get up to 70 and hold for a couple days.

Then drop it to lagering temps (I do it quickly) and lager.
I was planning on pitching cold (mid 40's), and had heard that diacetyl rest isn't so much of an issue when pitching cold. But either way, I can do the diacetyl rest if necessary.

The big question is whether I'll have any negative effects of keeping the beer on the yeast ~8 weeks.
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:35 PM   #7
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I have never used gelatin but have my first lager just finishing fermenting and getting ready to lager.

Do you think that just pouring the gelatin in will distribute it enough, or will it only affect a small area of the volume?
I've only used it so far in ales. Gelatin seems to take a little effort to dissolve, so I'd consider dissolving it in water before going into the fermenter.

That said, I think with a lager, the gelatin is not as big of an issue as it is with an ale. The lagering process really clears the beer as it is. I typically use it with ales a few days before kegging (when I cold crash) to speed up the clearing process. But I don't see a downside to using the additional fining it gives me, and gelatin's cheap, so I might as well use it.
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:41 PM   #8
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To answer the actual question: Yes, you'll be fine leaving the beer on the yeast that long, especially at lager temperatures. I doubt you'll need to filter at that point, especially if you've shortened the dip tube on the keg, but if you have the equipment it couldn't hurt.

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Old 07-21-2011, 02:25 PM   #9
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why would you add gelatin soon after fermentation? Isn't the whole lagering process involves yeast that still in suspension? Gelatin will remove it. I would wait with gelatin untill last week of lagering process. And if you filter it really defeats the purpose of gelatin all together

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Old 07-21-2011, 04:08 PM   #10
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Chad -- thanks.

paraordnance -- gelatin helps things drop, but gelatin (in my fairly extensive experience with it) doesn't clear *everything* perfectly. So I don't think gelatin will pull all the yeast out, only speed up the process some.

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