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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Can lager be left in Primary?
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:58 AM   #1
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Default Can lager be left in Primary?

Ok, i know everyone has a different opinion about using a secondary or not for Ales. Sometimes i do and sometimes i don't depending on style and if i need to free up a carboy.

Right now I have a Pilsner Urquell cone, my first lager, and has almost finished primary fermentation, is down to 1.012 after 8 days. I used 2 packets of saflager s23 yeast.
Is there more of a reason to use a secondary for a beer like this, than there is for an Ale.
Or can i just lager it for about a month in the primary?


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Old 12-17-2007, 01:04 AM   #2
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Well, lagers are different in a variety of ways. After you do the diacetyl rest (if needed), you really should get it off that yeast cake before you lager. What I do is this: primary until about 75% done and taste for diacetyl. If no diacetyl, let it finish and then rack to secondary. If I taste diacetyl, or am using a yeast notorious for producing it, I'll raise the temp for the diacetyl rest and then when it's 100% finished fermenting, rack to secondary. I leave it at 50 degrees for a few days, and then begin dropping the temperature 5 degrees per day until I'm at 34 degrees. And then I lager it at 34 degrees for 4-12 weeks.

If you're doing a diacetyl rest, you have to do it on the yeast cake. When that is over, there is no reason to keep that yeast in there. It will prevent any off flavors if you rack off of the yeast cake and allow to clarify and condition. I think lagers should be clean and crisp with no yeast flavors, so it's good to get it off that yeast cake when it's done with cleaning up after itself. This is just my opinion though and not based on any "real" expertise.


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Old 12-17-2007, 02:31 AM   #3
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I have the same gut feeling than YB, 4 weeks on that much yeast are pushing it even if the temperature is near freezing. Technically you should be able to lager in the bottle, though most brewers prefer to lager the beer in bulk.

Jamil from The Brewing Network is a big proponent of keeping the beer at fermentation temp and in the primary for 4 weeks and then bottle or keg. Theoretically there is nothing wrong with this though I prefer extend lagering near freezing for my lagers.

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Old 12-17-2007, 04:19 AM   #4
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ok, here is my dilemma, and apparently my choices. I do not have a free carboy right as my other one has an IPA in it. Which is the lesser of evils here:
1. Leave it in the primary for a 3 week lagering at near freezing.
2. Leave it in primary for just a one week lager, then bottle it and lager in the bottles for 2 more weeks.
3. Transfer it into my bottling bucket now, then back into the carboy it just came out of (after remvoing the trub/yeast and sanitizing), thus possibly leaving too much yeast behind from doing an extra transfer, that when it comes time to prime in the bottles, there is not enough yeast? Also might cause excessive oxygenation from transferring twice? Although I suppose if i did it that way, when it came time to bottle, i would bottle directly out of the carboy instead of transferring it to a bottling bucket, so in the end it would be transferred the same number of times as usual...Any reason not to do it this way?
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Old 12-17-2007, 05:03 AM   #5
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The yeast in #3 shouldn't be an issue. It will only be in the bucket a few minutes and you shouldn't have much settle out in the time it takes to clean and resanitize your carboy. I'd be much more concerned about oxygenating it. One question. Why would you not bottle from your bottling bucket just because you used the bottling bucket as a temporary holding tank while you cleaned and santized your carboy? It seems to me bottling directly from the secondary defeats much of the purpose of doing a secondary since you'll be stirring all that sediment back up when you add priming sugar.
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Old 12-17-2007, 05:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IowaStateFan
The yeast in #3 shouldn't be an issue. It will only be in the bucket a few minutes and you shouldn't have much settle out in the time it takes to clean and resanitize your carboy. I'd be much more concerned about oxygenating it. One question. Why would you not bottle from your bottling bucket just because you used the bottling bucket as a temporary holding tank while you cleaned and santized your carboy? It seems to me bottling directly from the secondary defeats much of the purpose of doing a secondary since you'll be stirring all that sediment back up when you add priming sugar.
The reason i mentioned skipping the bottling bucket is because i already would have had 1 more transfer than usual....so i was thinking i would leave much more yeast behind than usual. I see what you mean though about it not having settled out by doing it right away, so the loss would be lessened. So i guess then by transfetting 1 extra time, the only real issue is oxygenation from the extra transfer? So would that still be better than option 1 or 2?
Since it is not a cellarable beer, it would all be drunk within a few weeks anyway, so would the extra oxygenation from extra transfer step even matter much?
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Old 12-17-2007, 05:27 PM   #7
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my 1st choice would be bottling, closely followed by lagering on the yeast. I wouldn't move the beer between vessels unless it is really necessary and I don't think it is.

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Old 12-17-2007, 05:34 PM   #8
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Transferring shouldn't introduce oxygen if you do it right. To me that shouldn't be a factor.
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Old 12-17-2007, 06:05 PM   #9
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I agree with everyone's comments so far, but how about buying another carboy? Is that out of the question right now?

How about borrowing one from another brewer close-by?? Is that possible??


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