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Old 07-07-2009, 03:15 PM   #1
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Default question about cold fermentation!

as I stated prev. i am making my first lager. I have been fermenting it at 50 degrees for 7 days now and have read numerous places that after 6-7 days you should transfer it into a second fermenter. my questions is, is this correct or should I let it finish fermenting and then transfer it or do it now. and also once I do transfer it to a second fermenter will it also time to lower the temp. to 30 something? any help is greatly app.


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Old 07-07-2009, 03:28 PM   #2
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I'm only familiar with Lager brewing from what I've read, I have no experience. That being said, I have never heard anyone recommend racking to a secondary before primary fermentation is done. The rule-of-thumb I use is to wait until I have 3 consecutive days of no change in my gravity.

I know with Ale, which ferments notably quicker than lager, that 7 days is a pretty small amount of time before racking to secondary. I would recommend, at the very least, to make sure that your primary is done by using 2 hydrometer readings over a 3-4 day window. 2 weeks is usually the fail-safe time used before racking an Ale to secondary. So brewing a lager, I would think that 2 weeks should be your absolute minimum. Anybody with more experience with lager, please feel free to contradict my assumptions.

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Old 07-07-2009, 03:35 PM   #3
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I have not done a lager, but my memory seems to recall that you will want to wait until the major activity stops in the airlock before transferring. Now, some of us don't rely on the airlock to indicate fermentation, but the point is that you should let the heavy ferment get done before pulling the beer off the yeast.

Fact is, a bit of time on the yeast is not big deal. You can wait several weeks if you like, just to make sure. 7 days is ok for an ale, but I would think that a lager would have plenty of fermentation to do. Maybe up to 3 weeks or so, depending on the recipe, yeast and temps.
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:40 PM   #4
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Pretty much agree with DRoyLenz...

I think that racking a lager to secondary after 6-7 days would be a huge mistake. You need to let the beer sit on the primary yeast for a good 2-3 weeks minimum with a lager, IMO. There are a lot of fermentation byproducts that are probably still in the beer and the yeast will clean them up if given enough time. Removing the beer from the yeast will slow if not halt this 'cleaning-up' of the beer.

My best advise would be to taste it at 6-7 days (if you have had fairly vigorous fermentation). At this point if you taste diacetyl, you might consider a diacetyl rest. If it is at FG and tastes good, let it go another week or two. Then you can rack to a secondary, keg, or just bottle and start the "lagering" phase which I suggest doing as cold as you can (beer will freeze around 28F, I like to lager at 32F).
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