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Old 10-16-2005, 05:50 PM   #1
brewmaster27
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Default Brewing a lager (help a noob)

Hey guys, I'm new to this forum and homebrewing in general.

I'm in my junior year in college (I'm a Comp. Sci. major), and recently decided to pick up homebrewing as a hobby, which gives me plenty of stuff to talk about in school. At some point, I may want to pursue a professional career in brewing in the future, but right now I'm still trying to learn the basics of beer brewing and have a few questions.

That being said, I'm curious about how to brew a lager. I just (successfully?) brewed a pale ale using very basic ingredients. I know that lagers must be brewed at lower temperatures (45-55deg F) and know that the wort undergoes a primary and secondary fermentation cycle, but how long does it take for each cycle? Does the secondary cycle need a lower temperature? I'm a little confused.

Also, I had a question about the malt itself. I use a 2.5 gallon fermenter, and most cans of pre-made malt make about 6 gallons of beer. How long is the shelf-life of the unused malt if refrigerated? I want to make sure I don't waste it, as a 3.75lb. can of premium brand-name malt costs about 15 bucks.

Looking forward to some help here from the pros... keep in mind I'm new!

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Old 10-16-2005, 06:21 PM   #2
Fudd
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I've never brewed a lager but here is what I've read. First of all you are going to need some temperature controlled fridge space, so if you don't have that then your making a steam beer(lager that was not cold fermented). Other than that, the actual making is the same as an ale just follow the recipe and make sure you use a Lager yeast. While it is fermenting in your primary fermentor the temperature should be steady and below 65 degrees F. After bottling leave it at the same temperature for around 6 days to let the yeast carbonate the beer easier and then store in a fridge for at least 4 weeks(I heard seven is a good amount of time). I'm not sure if fridge temperature is important though, they mention something like 55 to 60 degrees F but that doesn't seem much colder than the primary ferment. Maybe someone who has actually made one can comment.

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Old 10-16-2005, 10:01 PM   #3
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You can make "lager style ale" with lager recipe and ale yeast (which performs at higher temperatures). If you want to go to lager yeast, you do need a much cooler environment, and the process takes a much longer time because of it. I would just try the ale process again with a lager recipe, and see what the result is if the equipment side of things is a hassle for you.

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Primary: Lager

Secondary: Sangiovese, Honey Nut Brown, some Pilsner/ale kinda thing that just won't quit...

Bottled:
Tar Sands Porter, Special Dark Bitter,Oaky Red ale, Hammer & Tongs Black Ale, Black Draught, Cooper's Bitter, Baron's Pilsner
Super Saazy Saaz Pilsner Saaz (It's a little green, yet)

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Old 10-17-2005, 12:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasquatch
You can make "lager style ale" with lager recipe and ale yeast (which performs at higher temperatures). If you want to go to lager yeast, you do need a much cooler environment, and the process takes a much longer time because of it. I would just try the ale process again with a lager recipe, and see what the result is if the equipment side of things is a hassle for you.
Actually, the equipment end of things will not a problem for me. While I currently only have 1 fermenter and a bottling bucket, I am going to get another fermenter soon, and a refrigerator thermostat to regulate the temperature of the fridge I'll be making the lager in. However, if I use "lager yeast" as opposed to an ale yeast, how long will the process take?
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Old 10-17-2005, 01:49 PM   #5
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I typically allow my lagers about 10-14 days to ferment in the primary vs 7 days for an ale. After that, for a proper lager you need to "lager" the beer in the secondary...generally for several months. I am not a patient man so I try to let mine lager for 2-3 weeks (not nearly enough). I do find that the beer tastes so much better after a month in the keg.

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