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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > When does lagering end and drinking begin?
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:48 PM   #1
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Default When does lagering end and drinking begin?

So I brewed my first lager, a czech pils. After fermentation and diacetyl rest, I put it in a keg and put it in my fridge to lager. I put some CO2 on it, just to purge out any oxygen. After about a month I transferred it to another clean keg, figuring there was some sediment in there. Now, I have a carbed and servable beer. But it's probably been carbed and drinkable for several weeks. And some people say I should let it 'lager' another month or so.

I always though lagering was a special phase, but it sounds more like 'put it in the fridge and don't drink it for a month or two'.

I mean, you gotta put it in a keg and put it in the fridge to serve it anyway, Ale or Lager. Am I cheating by doing this in kegs so that I can carb at the same time?


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Old 10-12-2012, 01:56 PM   #2
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The only reason lagering is anything at all is because back in the day people would brew a ton of beer in the summer and then store them for the winter months. Yes, lagering has some benefits. It will mellow a beer out and if lagering in oak barrels it will extract the flavors of the oak. It will also clarify a beer more. I really don't lager for months on end because to me I'm not gaining anything huge from it. My beer isn't in oak barrels and after two weeks in the primary my beer is pretty clear. Also, I can't wait two months to drink my beer!


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Old 10-12-2012, 03:04 PM   #3
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Tad confused on this too. After 12-14 in primary I plan a Drest for a couple days, then thinking it would be safer to throw it in a keg so I can purge oxygen and hit it with a little c02. Probably wont carb it.

Or would it be better into a secondary glass fermenter to let more stuff settle out then keg? Bit worried about oxygen sitting on the beer as I will lager this for 7 months.

So would you guys use a secondary glass fermentor or just keg it and lager?
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:18 PM   #4
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After 2-3 weeks in primary for a standard gravity lager (< 1.060), I chill the primary down to 36F for a few days, then keg and purge with CO2. I do my lagering in the keg for a few weeks, then connect it to the gas at serving pressure and let it carb up for 3 weeks. By then, its ready to drink and has been lagering for 4-6 weeks.

Lagering does make a difference in my experience. It really tends to round out the flavors and make the beer more crisp. Its not a night and day difference, but it can turn a good beer into a great beer.
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:25 PM   #5
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I am one of those traditionalists that brews lagers in the early spring for fall (Oktoberfest, bocks, dopple bock styles) or early winter for summer lagers (pils, helles) and yes, lager for 4-6 months as close to freezing as possible. The result is a clean, crisp,brew with a real difference in the ability to distinguish ingredient notes, as well as being extremely clear with amazing color.

I'd lager in a carboy and then transfer, just to be free of what accumulates on the bottom, but then again I do not keg so perhaps the vessel is less important than the time.
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Old 10-13-2012, 04:39 AM   #6
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Lagering is not just some unnecessary, old school mistake. It is truly a valuable tool in the brewers belt. Yes it takes more patience, but your patience will be rewarded. Consider 1 month of lagering a MINIMUM. The longer the better. Its not something that can be appreciated through reading a few posts on HBT, it is something that you must experience and taste for yourself. You have done very well in lagering it at least a month. One thing that helped me was to taste half a pint every week from weeks 4 on of lagering and it made me understand what is happening in there during its nice long, cold nap. By week 8, lagers take on a completely new flavor and mouth feel. You can drink your beer whenever you desire, and no doubt it will be excellent, but once you see the benefits of long term lagering, you will never try and rush a lager again. The very best pint will be the last. Keep up the good work!


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