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Old 06-05-2007, 03:53 AM   #1
fungusamungas
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Default Lager fermentation schedule

Been doing some digging on various web sites about lager fermentation. I currently age a lager in primary for around three weeks, after two day diacetyl rest at room temp, rack and lager in secondary for four weeks around 40 degrees. After I bottle I will allow two weeks for carbonation at room temp and then cold storeage, around 55 degrees for 4-5 weeks more, quite a long time to wait.
Now I've been reading how some brewers advocate just cooling the beer for much shorter time in secondary then bottle, having the longer lager time during bottle condition time. Maybe temps could be lowered to 40 or less degrees during bottle conditioning. I have noticed the beer at bottling time tasted great, just alittle flat, then the second week after bottling, you could taste "green beer", the priming suger created another mini fermentation, kind of negating all the lagering time in secondary.
To sum it up, perhaps the greater lager time should be during bottle conditioning not in secondary lagering, has any one experimented with this,
cheers

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Old 06-06-2007, 04:16 PM   #2
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This is a hell of a question and given that 36 hours have passed without a reply, a difficult one to answer. I suppose 90% of all the beers brewed by all the regular posters here are ales.

I LOVE brewing and drinking lagers, but didn't do my first til I started kegging, so maybe I'm of no use here. Without question, in my experience anyway, lagers benefit dramatically from a long secondary at cold temps. This is the ESSENCE of lagering (storing). You are going to get a yeast bite anyway (that green taste) upon bottling. I wouldn't use this fact to suspend with the long secondary lagering.

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Old 06-20-2007, 05:11 AM   #3
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bumpity Bumpity Bump
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Old 06-20-2007, 05:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fungusamungas
Been doing some digging on various web sites about lager fermentation. I currently age a lager in primary for around three weeks, after two day diacetyl rest at room temp, rack and lager in secondary for four weeks around 40 degrees. After I bottle I will allow two weeks for carbonation at room temp and then cold storeage, around 55 degrees for 4-5 weeks more, quite a long time to wait.
Now I've been reading how some brewers advocate just cooling the beer for much shorter time in secondary then bottle, having the longer lager time during bottle condition time. Maybe temps could be lowered to 40 or less degrees during bottle conditioning. I have noticed the beer at bottling time tasted great, just alittle flat, then the second week after bottling, you could taste "green beer", the priming suger created another mini fermentation, kind of negating all the lagering time in secondary.
To sum it up, perhaps the greater lager time should be during bottle conditioning not in secondary lagering, has any one experimented with this,
cheers

I've yet to do a lager yet so take this for what it's worth...

I would think that even with bottle conditioning the lager would need to mass lager to help promote clearing and mass conditioning, then in the bottle the conditioning would continue after priming. It would seem to me that the time in 2ndary vs. bottle would be proportionate, what i mean is, say you have 5 gallons lagering at 40 degrees for 5 weeks, you get 50 bottles out of it, lager at 40 degree's for a proportionate amount. Each bottle is 1/10th of a gallon (about), so in the bottle it would need 1/10th as much time as it would en mass because of the lesser amount, plus time to prime, bottle condition as every beer must, and a little more time to age well....

The only real way to know for sure is to experiment yourself to find out just what differences there are between mass lagering and bottle lagering.
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Old 06-20-2007, 06:37 AM   #5
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My answer to you is no...I have not experimented with different lagering conditioning

i've made eight five gallon batches - two extract, one partial mash and four all grain

One extract batch was a lager - I followed Papizian's recipie for a steam bear (granted not a real lager) and it turned out to be infected...it started carbing in the secondary

My last all grain was a lager that didn't ferment fully after a Marzen WL yeast slant and a Munton's dry yeast pack...I drank most of it but the ABV was low and I was generally unhappy with it

I'll try another lager maybe next year...my plan will be to fement in glass carboy in primary then rack to a keg with an airlock inserted in the pressure release valve so it will take up less room in the fridge...no more bottles for me

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Old 06-20-2007, 12:24 PM   #6
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Sorry, no answer to this, but it is a bit discouraging. I just bottled my lager last night. Four week in the primary, Four weeks secondary. I was hoping that all this time would be a substitute for some of the time required in the bottle. My plan was to bring it to a 4th of July party.

Fungusamungas, it’s been some time since the original post, so you may be the expert here. Did you do weekly tests during bottle conditioning? How long did it take for the “green beer “ taste to go away?

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Old 06-20-2007, 12:59 PM   #7
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I think that this question is proving difficult for many people to answer because most people who undertake lagering also keg.

I can't answer directly as I have never made a lager (it is on my short list) but maybe I can offer some advise. I read somewhere that said that lagering at warmer temperatures can produce the same results as longer time at cooler temperatures.

The fermentation of the priming sugar really shouldn't hurt the flavor of the beer even if it is done at higher temperatures (it will produce some off flavors but should be barely detectable).

Here would be my suggestions:
--Ferment a batch like normal, split it half and test to see if you can shorten the lager time, increase the bottle conditioning time
--Try using DME instead of corn sugar for priming
--What kind of yeast are you using? Have you seen the same results with different strains?
--Check out what John Palmer has to say: http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter10-5.html
Don't know if it will answer your question but may offer some insight.

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Old 06-20-2007, 04:39 PM   #8
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One of the best pages in the Wiki is the one on lagering. Your question is addressed, I think:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/ind...e_conditioning

Quote:
bottle conditioning before lagering
When you bottle condition before lagering, you wait until the beer has completed fermentation and prime the beer with corn sugar or DME. Since the yeast is still fairly healthy and active there shouldn't be any problems in getting the beer carbonated. Let the beer caronate at room temperature for a week. Give it a taste to ensure complete carbonation before moving it to cold storage 32 - 42 *F (0 - 5 *C) to lager it.

Because the beer is bottled before lagering, all the yeast and other sediment that settles out during lagering will remain in the bottle.
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:03 PM   #9
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Something you might want to consider is when you move to lager, you lager in a keg with an airlock. Then, force carbonate after 4 weeks in the keg, and once the beer is carbonated properly, counter pressure fill any bottles you want.

You'll avoid the carbonation fermentation, and ensure that you have crystal clear beer with no sediment (once you've cleared the trub that is on the diptube).

I've been doing this for my ales in secondary, and I'll be doing the same with my schwarzebier this weekend when it gets moved to lager. Great results, clear beer, no risk of contamination from the carbonation ferment, and I can start drinking the beer right after bottling.

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Old 06-21-2007, 02:10 AM   #10
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Default Thank you so much for your replies

you all have given me much material to work with, I know this thread was bumped up and more replys were added after my complaint thread. Please read my response in that thread, "strange response from homebrew."

I will continue to work with lagers and will start some experimenting myself regarding lagering, conditioning and will post my findings on future threads. I'm still at a level where I'm wildly experimenting with different recipes, not settling down yet, to refine and perfect. My next recipe may be a chocolate rye, oatmeal munich lager, Yeaoww!!!

This community has really impressed me with your responses and I hope I can be a contributer to the forums!

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