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Old 01-01-2011, 03:41 AM   #1
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Default Lagering & fermentation temps

So, I've run into a bit of a dilemma. I have beer lagering in my Kegerator at 34F and I want to chuck a new batch in the kegerator to ferment. Unsure of what to do with the temps.

Anyway, I just started all grain about 5 weeks ago. I made two batches - munich dunkel, and czech pilsner - using wyeast munich lager and wyeast czech pilsner yeast.

They sat in the kegerator @ 52F for 2 weeks, then out at 58F for 1 week to finish up. Then back into the kegerator @ 34F for the last 2 weeks. I'm thinking about giving them 2 more weeks to lager in the keg while carbing them.

Now, my problem is that I'm impatient... I'm in the middle of making a starter to try a new yeast - Wyeast Bavarian 2206. I'm planning on letting the starter do its thing in my fridge for 1 week and then pitching it next weekend into a couple new 5 gal batches of wort. But, there will be a problem with temps...as the lagering needs to stay low, but the yeasties need the warmer temps.

So, is 3 weeks long enough to lager? If I raise the temp up to 50-ish, will it hurt my lagering enough to notice? I could ferment the new batches in my basement, but it'll only go down to 60F...seems high for fermenting lagers. (but the wyeast website does say that Bavarian 2206 will do ok from 46F-58F)

Help? Thanks.

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Old 01-01-2011, 03:45 AM   #2
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In my opinion, lagers are smoother and better when lagered longer, lower. By that I mean that I'd lager at 34 degrees one week for each 8-10 points of OG. So, for a 1.060 OG lager, I'd lager for 6-8 weeks at 34 degrees. The cooler temperature isn't strictly necessary (you can lager in the 40s) but it makes a cleaner, crisper, smoother lager. It's worth it, I think.

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Old 01-01-2011, 03:52 AM   #3
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I agree with you...but it still leaves me with issues

How long can I keep a yeast starter without screwing it? I could just park it in the fridge @ 48F for 2 weeks before I pitch..that would seriously help the lagering time....thoughts?

And what about fermenting the new lagers @ 60F? Would it really hurt the quality? I could put them in coolers and pop in some ice blocks...that would probably help... but, I hate not having consistency. I loved that my first patch was fermented at EXACTLY MEASURED temps...seems uncool to just "Hope" that the temps will be good with ice and a cooler.

Arrggh- if beer wasn't so damn good, I would be so impatient to get another couple batches going

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Old 01-01-2011, 03:54 AM   #4
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I can see that I'm going to have to beg the wife to let me park ANOTHER kegerator in the basement - so I have one strictly for lagering and one for fermenting...hehe...

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Old 01-01-2011, 03:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthson View Post
I agree with you...but it still leaves me with issues

How long can I keep a yeast starter without screwing it? I could just park it in the fridge @ 48F for 2 weeks before I pitch..that would seriously help the lagering time....thoughts?

And what about fermenting the new lagers @ 60F? Would it really hurt the quality? I could put them in coolers and pop in some ice blocks...that would probably help... but, I hate not having consistency. I loved that my first patch was fermented at EXACTLY MEASURED temps...seems uncool to just "Hope" that the temps will be good with ice and a cooler.

Arrggh- if beer wasn't so damn good, I would be so impatient to get another couple batches going
I would NEVER ferment a lager too warm. Off-flavors, sulfur, etc would be an issue. I like to ferment at the lower range of the optimum fermentation range, so I'd probably ferment at 48 degrees. The yeast starter can stay in the fridge for a LONG time if you want.

Patience is usually rewarded with brewing, while rushing is not. You can brew an ale in the meantime at room temperature if you feel that you have to brew, don't mess around with trying to rush a lager!
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Old 01-01-2011, 04:02 AM   #6
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No, I don't HAVE to brew...I can get by with the meager stores of "kit" beer I have...and yes, I will follow your advice...slow and steady, and I'll never regret the final product.

One more quick question on the starter. The gallon jug I have for it is pretty big in my fridge (scowling wife)...once it has fermented for a week, can I just transfer it to a couple mason jars until I'm ready for it? and then what? It'll already be at pitching temps, so just pour of the top, swirl, and pitch?

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Old 01-01-2011, 04:28 AM   #7
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No, I don't HAVE to brew...I can get by with the meager stores of "kit" beer I have...and yes, I will follow your advice...slow and steady, and I'll never regret the final product.

One more quick question on the starter. The gallon jug I have for it is pretty big in my fridge (scowling wife)...once it has fermented for a week, can I just transfer it to a couple mason jars until I'm ready for it? and then what? It'll already be at pitching temps, so just pour of the top, swirl, and pitch?
If the starter is fermented out (room temperature for a lager starter is fine), and you stick it in the fridge after it's done, the yeast will fall to the bottom after a couple of days and you can pour off most of the spent wort. Then just swirl the yeast up and pour into sanitized mason jars.

And yes, when you're ready to pitch, just swirl and pitch. It should be fine for a couple of weeks, but if it's more than three weeks you should make a new mini-starter by adding fresh wort a day or two before brewday (and again, not in the fridge) to "wake up" the starter a bit and get it going again.
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Old 01-01-2011, 06:12 AM   #8
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Awesome! Thanks for all the help Yooper

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