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Old 08-06-2013, 01:54 AM   #1
TAK
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Default Cool Later Fermentation, but with Secondary Conditioning at Cellar Temps

Iíve seen a few posts suggesting this topic, but each person seemed to be unable to actually ferment at a good lager temp. Something like 40-55 degrees, whatever the particular strain likes. Iím not looking to do a steam beer.

Myself, I am able to ferment at these temps. Technically then, of course, I am also able to lager in the secondary at these temps (or lower). I am, however, unwilling to lager this cold. I donít mind holding up my fermentation fridge for 3-4 weeks to ferment a lager in its primary. After that though, I just canít justify dedicating my fridge for another 4-6 weeks to lager in the secondary at the proper temperatures. After a month, Iíd be itching to brew again and would need the fridge for the next beer.

So, is it worth it to primary a lager nice and cool for 3-4 weeks, whatever it takes to finish with a D-rest and all, and then give it a long secondary conditioning at cellar temps? My basement is in the mid 60ís in the fall/winter. Does anyone have experience with this?

Thanks and cheers.


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Old 08-10-2013, 10:39 PM   #2
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:42 PM   #3
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It's a good question. I'd anticipate a nice clean lager after a little cool time in the keg or bottles. Why not? The beer's primary fermentation was cold and controlled. The cellaring time could be thought of as an extended D-rest. Go for it and let us know how it turns out.
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Old 08-11-2013, 10:47 PM   #4
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I brew mostly lagers. I have 7 lagers on tap and one in D-rest right now.

Leaving a lager sitting at 60 degrees after a 3 week primary is not going to do anything to improve its flavor. You need to flocculate the yeast to give a lager its clean flavor. That takes temps colder than fermentation temps.

If you can allow 3 weeks in the fridge, then you can do your lager some good. Here's what works well for me:

1. Make a proper sized yeast starter (~4qts on a stirplate) Allow a week to make your starter--it'll take 3 days to completely flocc out in the fridge after a room temp fermentation on the stirplate.
Pitch the decanted yeast into wort cooled to fermentation temps--even if you have to pitch the next day after chilling all night.

2. Ferment until the krausen drops/airlock activity slows/gravity is ~ 1.018-1.020

3. Raise temp to ~ 65F for a couple days for D-rest

4. Check gravity after ~ 3days at 65F

5. Taste the sample. If it tastes good--no acetaldehyde(green apple)/diacetyl(butter) or anything funky, start chilling at 5F per day until you reach 32F
If it doesn't taste good then wait until it does before chilling.

6. When you reach 32F beer temp, gel the beer and let it sit for 3-4 days at 32F. How to gel is here, post #47: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/cold...81/index2.html

7. After it's clear, rack to bottles or keg. Let bottles sit at room temp for 3 weeks to carb, then refrigerate or put the keg in the fridge and start carbing.
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