Originally Posted by DoctorDuvel
lol @ yooper...
since i'm still a bit "hazy" on the topic of lagers...i assume that the term 'lagering' really applies to the aging process in cold temps, and not necessarily the cool fermentation...?...so what's a normal lagering temp, what's the average length of time, and which vessel is used? sorry for so many questions...thanks peeps
Right! Generally, you keep a lager in primary for about 10-14 days or so. Any primary can work, glass or plastic. I usually kept mine at 50 degrees during this time, pitching a huge starter. When primary is winding down, it's time for the diacetyl rest (if doing one). I don't always do one, but it doesn't hurt if you do. The diacetyl rest is usually about 10 degrees warmer than primary.
When that's done, the beer is racked to a carboy and then the lagering phase begins. I generally lower the temperature gradually, 5 degrees per day, until I'm lagering at 34 degrees. I like to lager for one week per every 8 points of OG. So, for a lager with an OG of 1.064, that's 8 weeks.
As I mentioned in a much slower speed in an earlier posts, it's the lagering that really brings out the crispness in the mouthfeel, and really smooths out the flavors. If you can't lager for the recommended amount of time, sometimes less time is fine, and at a higher temperature. For example, if you can't lager at 8 weeks at 34 degrees, you might try 4 weeks at 40 degrees. Beer ages faster at a warmer temperature, and that may work ok if you want to give it a try. I think a colder lagering temperature really works well, especially if you can dedicate the time to it.
Still, I don't think any body can taste a beer and say, "Well, this beer was only lagered for 4 weeks!" so it isn't that it still won't be great. I just think a little longer can give a "cleaner" finish.