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Old 08-30-2013, 04:28 PM   #1
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Default Aging lager

I fermented my lager in my wine cellar in the basement (around 17.5 celsius) for the first days, then changed it to room temperature (22-23 celsius) for the rest of the fermentation process. My question is: What would be the best temperature to age a lagger? Would it be better in a fridge (too cold??) or still in my wine cellar?

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Old 08-30-2013, 04:38 PM   #2
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Ideally a true lager should be fermented around 10 C (50 F) plus or minus a degree C. Once fermentation is complete, then the beer is cooled to just over 0 C and lagered for at least 3 weeks, generally 4 - 6 weeks for a typical lager. The higher the % alcohol, the longer it should be lagered


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Old 08-30-2013, 04:39 PM   #3
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According to Noonan's book, aging is typically done close to freezing, so I would go with the refrigerator.
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:42 PM   #4
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First off, the 17.5C (63.5F) fermentation was likely way too high. What yeast did you use?

A typical lager yeast would be much cleaner at about 45-50F (7.2-10C). This lager is likely to have some off flavors from the high fermentation temps. It will not be a clean, crisp lager at that temp.

As far as your question, you want to age a lager as close as you can to freezing without freezing. A 4% ABV beer freezes at about 28F at sea level. If you have the room, age the lager in the fridge for about 6-8 weeks. The wine celler is too warm for a lager.

Good luck!
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:35 PM   #5
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Basically, nobody does lagers because it is very hard to get a good environment? Hope my fermentation temp will not make a big difference. I bottled about half 3 days ago and the beer is very clear and pale (light lager). The rest tastes good and getting clearer!
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:03 PM   #6
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Temperature control is a must for lager brewing. Lager ferment temps are 45-55 F depending on strain and style. Acceptable lager storage temps are 31-40 F. If you store it on the cold side, it will take longer to mature, like up to 3 months, but will have better flavor. If you store it on the warm side it will not be as "smooth", but will peak in flavor faster, as soon as 2-3 weeks.

Storing any beer over-long is not great, unless you're looking for the raisin-like, vanilla-like and honey-like flavors that come with aging stronger beers for months. As above, the stronger the beer, the longer it will take to mature.

Leave some yeast in your lagering beer. That's critical. Only rack it if there is excessive sediment from trub or dry-hopping. If you're storing it cold, you have very little risk of developing off flavors from dead yeast.
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Math0 View Post
Basically, nobody does lagers because it is very hard to get a good environment? Hope my fermentation temp will not make a big difference. I bottled about half 3 days ago and the beer is very clear and pale (light lager). The rest tastes good and getting clearer!
Many people make lagers. They are no harder than an ale- it's just that they should be fermented at 48-50 degrees because they use a different strain of yeast than ales. Ales are generally fermented at 62-70 F, but that's far too warm for most lager strains.
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Basically, nobody does lagers because it is very hard to get a good environment?
I have a $55.00 temp controller hooked up to a $125.00 commercial display freezer to control the temps of my lager fermentations. You could do the same thing with a $45 controller and a $50 chest freezer off craigslist. So it's not "very hard," it's just a matter of having the correct tools.

Is driving a screw very hard? I'd say so if you don't own a screw driver
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:57 PM   #9
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Good one haha! Thanks again
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TopherM View Post
Is driving a screw very hard? I'd say so if you don't own a screw driver
Love it.

I lager (and cold crash) in a $60 craigslist upright freezer controlled by a $19 STC-1000 digital controller.

If you can pitch and ferment in the upper 40's followed by a couple months of cold conditioning, you can do lagers. Otherwise, it's best to stick with ales. Lagers are a bit more involved than ales, but the end result can be well worth the effort.


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