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Old 01-30-2013, 10:11 PM   #1
elixir
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I plan on doing my first lager (Northern Brewer Pre prohibition lager) I have a chest freezer with a temp controller that I use for my fermentations, but I am wondering if I can use my refrigerator for the secondary lagering phase. I put a thermometer in my kegerator fridge and the ambient temp inside the fridge is 30 degrees farenheit. Is this cold enough to lager? I imagine the tempature of the beer may not take on the ambient fridge temp but would it be close. I want to do this because if I use my fridge it is much closer to where I can rack my beer into a bottling bucket and I would rouse it much less because I wouldnt have to haul 5 gallons all the way across the house, not to mention I would free up my chest freezer again to do more ales!

 
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:00 AM   #2
Nuggethead
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I lager around 34f. Anywhere in the low 30's is good but not so low as to form ice.

 
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:46 AM   #3
dermotstratton
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The lower the temperature the shorter the necessary lagering time. You can lager at 50 F if you wait long enough.

 
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:29 AM   #4
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I brewed Northern Brewer's Bravarian Dunkel Lager at 50 degrees for a month and it was a great beer. It's was more Negro Modelo than Schell's Dark, but I like it.

 
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:35 AM   #5
rbenn
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I've had good results at 32*F for around 4 weeks.

 
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
The lower the temperature the shorter the necessary lagering time. You can lager at 50 F if you wait long enough.
I'm fairly certain this is not true. The crispness associated with lagering a beer will not happen at temps much higher than 36-38F or so. You can't effectively lager a beer at 50F, no matter how long you wait. Lagering is basically attaching precipitation (basically frost) to the uber fine proteins in a beer to weigh them down and pull them out of suspension. It's basically ultra fine chill haze, which is only possible at near freezing temps. Otherwise, those uber fine proteins would practically never fall out of suspension because they are less dense than the beer. If it isn't cold enough to frost over the fine particles, you aren't lagering.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but that's how I understand the science of it from the books I've read.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:40 PM   #7
dermotstratton
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Youareright in that lagering at lower temperature can produce "better" results. Iwata just trying to answer the question on whether or not you can lager at elevated temperatures. Remember that lagering was invented before refrigeration , so Mother Nature used to determine lagering temp.

Excerpt from how to brew by Palmer:

A common question is, "If the beer will lager faster at higher temperatures, why would anyone lager at the low temperature?" Two reasons: first, in the days before refrigeration when lager beers were developed, icehouses were the common storage method - it's tradition. Second, the colder lagering temperatures seem to produce a smoother beer than warmer temperatures. This would seem to be due to the additional precipitation and settling of extraneous proteins (like chill haze) and tannins that occur at lower temperatures.

 
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Youareright in that lagering at lower temperature can produce "better" results. Iwata just trying to answer the question on whether or not you can lager at elevated temperatures. Remember that lagering was invented before refrigeration , so Mother Nature used to determine lagering temp.

We are kinda talking semantics here. "Lagering" at 50F would produce almost NO results distinguishable from typical conditioning. I get that this type of conditioning is a continuous spectrum, but 50F just is not within the defined spectrum of lagering. Lagering is a defined type of conditioning at near freezing temps. I don't want your earlier post to make someone think they can get "lagered" results at 50F. You can't, no matter how long you wait, anymore than you can lager at 100F.

Lager yeast are even still plenty active at 50F, and you definitely at least want your yeast to be dormant and fall out of suspension to clear a lager-style beer!

You are right, Mother Nature, i.e., science, STILL determines lagering temps - it is the same today as it was XX hundred years ago. The fact that they used to lager in iceboxes and caves instead of refrigerators is pretty irrelevant, it just has to be cold enough to produce frosty condensate on the finer proteins in the beer to make them more dense and fall out of suspension. The colder it gets, while staying above freezing, the finer and finer particles you are affecting, and the cleaner and cleaner the beer gets.

You can't lager at 50F, no matter how long you do it. 50F will not pull the finer protein particles out of suspension. It's not cold enough. At 50F, you are just plain "conditioning."

I think it's grey as to what temp you would consider "lagering" to start at, but by definition it's as near to freezing without freezing as possible, and I don't know many that would consider 50F near freezing. That's probably short sleeve weather in San Fran this time of year.

In my experience, you don't really start to get the clean crispness associated with the lagering process until about 38F at the top end, but if you intend to lager, you should definitely do it right, which is closer to 30F.

OH, BTW.....GO 49rs
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:27 PM   #9
elixir
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My real question is do you think the beer will become cold enough in the 30 degree fridge?

 
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:37 PM   #10
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Yes. After a few days, the beer will be at the average temperature inside the fridge. A Google search suggests that a typical beer will have a freezing temperature around 28F, so you shouldn't get a block of ice.

I run mine at around 34F, though I don't know what sort of results I'll get yet.

 
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