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Old 08-27-2013, 01:47 PM   #1
medleblute
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Default How long before Kegging?

This is a very general question and I'm sure my answers will be questions back to me - but if I'm brewing an average lager (I know, what exactly is an average lager) how long can something sit in the secondary? Or can I transfer to a tirtiary? How long can the beer sit before I bottle or keg it? I'm thinking about brewing again soon - I only have to corny kegs and currently they are both filled. OBVIOUSLY, I could work to empty them - but if I brew now, and it sits primary for 7-10 days, secondary for 4-6 days roughly... that is 2 weeks... what if it takes 4-5 weeks to get a keg empty?

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Old 08-27-2013, 02:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by medleblute View Post
This is a very general question and I'm sure my answers will be questions back to me - but if I'm brewing an average lager (I know, what exactly is an average lager) how long can something sit in the secondary? Or can I transfer to a tirtiary? How long can the beer sit before I bottle or keg it? I'm thinking about brewing again soon - I only have to corny kegs and currently they are both filled. OBVIOUSLY, I could work to empty them - but if I brew now, and it sits primary for 7-10 days, secondary for 4-6 days roughly... that is 2 weeks... what if it takes 4-5 weeks to get a keg empty?
It's not an issue so long as you don't have significant headspace with air (vs. CO2) possibly causing oxidation.

If you have two taps running, it's a good idea to have 4 kegs, especially if you're doing lager beers. You can ferment the normal time in the primary, cold crash, go straight to the keg and then cold lager it. It's nice to have one ready to hook up right after a keg kicks.
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Old 08-27-2013, 02:42 PM   #3
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Are you lagering in the keg? 4-6 days in secondary isn't really lagering. Since you'll need to lager for a while anyway I'm not sure what the rush is. If you're talking about an ale, I wouldn't worry about it until it's 6-8 weeks in the primary.

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Old 08-27-2013, 02:45 PM   #4
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If you truly want to make a Lager you should Secondary it at lagering temps for 8-12 weeks. That should give you plenty of time to open up another keg. I feel your pain though, I have 4 Taps and 4 Kegs. I can't consume it nearly fast enough to brew as much as I like. One of these days I'm gonna buy more kegs.

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Old 08-27-2013, 02:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Yankeehillbrewer View Post
If you truly want to make a Lager you should Secondary it at lagering temps for 8-12 weeks.
That is way outside the necessary lagering time, if you ask me. Palmer recommends 8 weeks on the outside, and at the coldest temps:

http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter10-5.html

If I were the OP, I'd rack direct from primary to keg, tap it, and put at lager temps, then try it every few days, when your palate tells you its ready, its ready.

I bet if this is a normal lager-type beer (thinking 1.040ish, 3.5% ABV, light-body), it will be good to go in 2-3 weeks.
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:02 PM   #6
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My standard brew schedule is:

Primary - 4 weeks - all beers
Secondary (beers with odd additions or dry hopping) - 2 more weeks then into the keg
Lagering - in keg 8-12 weeks to taste.
Once in the keg I have various schedules. Some beers will get topped with CO2 and put in the keezer to cold crash or lager. Some will get dry hopped at room temp with a minimal CO2 topping. Some will go right to the keezer to carb up for serving. I'll often transfer to a second keg for clarity after 2 weeks in the cold temps to leave sediment behind.

I'll keep sours, barley wines etc in the primary for much longer.

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Old 08-27-2013, 03:49 PM   #7
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I gotta hand it to you guys, if I was waiting around 18-20 weeks for a beer to finish with 4-5 rackings to various containers, I would have given up this hobby a long time ago.

I'm skeptical of what sort of value you are adding in such a process (i.e. does this really improve the beer?), but whatever works for ya...

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Old 08-27-2013, 04:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broadbill View Post
I gotta hand it to you guys, if I was waiting around 18-20 weeks for a beer to finish with 4-5 rackings to various containers, I would have given up this hobby a long time ago.

I'm skeptical of what sort of value you are adding in such a process (i.e. does this really improve the beer?), but whatever works for ya...
I should clarify - in the case of a lager my process looks like this:

4 weeks primary, racked carefully to keg, lager for 8-12 weeks to taste, drink.
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:38 PM   #9
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I should clarify - in the case of a lager my process looks like this:

4 weeks primary, racked carefully to keg, lager for 8-12 weeks to taste, drink.
So 16 weeks at the max...much better than 18 weeks!

Seriously, if you don't mind me asking...why so long? I'd be surprised if isn't at FG within 2 weeks of yeast pitch (and a diacetyl rest will get it there quick), then how much better does it get from say 3 weeks of lagering to 8? Are you really seeing a real taste difference there?
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:48 PM   #10
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I think it depends on the beer. I've got a maibock lagering for 6 months. As that's what the author said when he thought it peaked. I do oktoberfests about the same. Lighter beers i'd do less time on.

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