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Old 01-24-2013, 06:56 PM   #1
Bramstoker17
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Default To Lager or not to Lager...

So here's my situation. I've got a five gallon batch of IPA going already, but I have a mr. beer keg open, and that means wasted opportunity. I usually use the thing for small/test batches. I'm in the mood to brew a lighter oktoberfest/slightly darker helles, but I've never done a proper lager before.

Here's my question. I live in a condo on the second floor. I have a staircase directly to the outside in my condo, no common hallway with other units or anything, if that makes sense. We don't keep the heat on in the staircase, so it gets pretty cold this time of year in our coat closet at the bottom of the stairs. I'm wondering if I could stick the Mr. beer keg in there to ferment with lager yeast, do a d rest, and then stick it in the fridge to lager it. the only thing I'm worried about is temp fluctuations....and my wife being pissed about a keg in the fridge for two months, but I digress....

Would this be worth trying in order to get a true lager, or should I just use Kolsch yeast to get it close and keep it simple? My normal temp control method with the Mr beer keg is to keep it in a cooler with frozen water bottles. That will be enough for any ale yeast including Kolsch, but I'm not sure I'd be around enough to keep swapping bottles to keep it in lager temps just using my cooler. Thoughts?


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Old 01-24-2013, 07:31 PM   #2
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Doing it in a cooler under your steps with some frozen water bottles would probably limit the amount of temperature fluctuations that the fermenter would experience and the colder temps would lessen the number of times you would have to change the bottles out. It's worth a try.

It may be worth doing it overnight with a thermometer and frozen bottles in there, then check it in the morning to see if it drops below freezing or reaches lager temps, however. No sense in wasting time and materials to get a shot or two of eisbock.


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Old 01-24-2013, 07:40 PM   #3
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It may be worth doing it overnight with a thermometer and frozen bottles in there, then check it in the morning to see if it drops below freezing or reaches lager temps, however. No sense in wasting time and materials to get a shot or two of eisbock.
That's what I was going to say- stick a thermometer in there to see the temperature. You need to maintain 50 degrees for about 10 days for this to work.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:09 PM   #4
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Yea I suppose a test run with water to check the temps would probably be a smart choice. Ill give that a try. Thanks!
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:36 PM   #5
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Ok, provided I'm able to get stable and proper lager fermentation temps, my next question would involve the actual lagering process. If I'm keeping this in the fridge for about two months, do I need to by a small carboy to rack this into, or can it sit on the yeast for that long in the mr beer keg. If I do have to rack it to a caboy, I'm assuming it would be a 3 gallon one. I can cram about 2.4 or 2.5 gallons into the mr beer keg tops. If I rack that to a 3 gallon carboy, am I leaving too much headspace to age for 2 months?
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:52 PM   #6
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I made a Oktoberfest earlier this year before getting a fermentation chamber using the Wyeast Bohemian Lager at about 60* and it turned out pretty dang good.

Brewing TV's
video turned me onto this idea and I had always wanted to try it out. Beer was good and that keg vanished very, very quickly. Just another option if you don't want to mess with frozen water bottles.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:03 AM   #7
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Ok, provided I'm able to get stable and proper lager fermentation temps, my next question would involve the actual lagering process. If I'm keeping this in the fridge for about two months, do I need to by a small carboy to rack this into, or can it sit on the yeast for that long in the mr beer keg. If I do have to rack it to a caboy, I'm assuming it would be a 3 gallon one. I can cram about 2.4 or 2.5 gallons into the mr beer keg tops. If I rack that to a 3 gallon carboy, am I leaving too much headspace to age for 2 months?
The 3 gallon carboy has too much headspace, unfortunately. And you don't want to lager on the yeast, either.

What you can do is ferment it at 50 degrees, bottle it, let it carb up, and then lager it in the bottle for 2 months at near freezing temps.


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