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Old 01-18-2008, 07:04 AM   #1
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Default A few lagering questions

My first time lagering. The lager has been in primary for about two weeks and seems to be mostly attenuated (doesn't taste sweet any more). So far so good but a few questions:

1. How cold can it get while in primary without hurting the yeast? Right now I have it in my laundry room and its right down near freezing in there.
2. I'm not going to do a secondary, just will bottle it in big 1.5 liter PET bottles (I don't care about clarity since its a Dunkel). I was thinking 4 weeks in primary and 4 weeks in bottles and then drink. Its not a very big beer so I thought that would be about the right amount of time. Would that work?
3. To get my bottles to carbonate should I just keep them at a bit above freezing like they've been at while in primary or should I keep them at room temp until they've been carbed up and then lager them?

On deck: Hoppyweizen.
Primary: waiting for the mail.
Bottled: Bold Deceiver Pale Ale (light on the IBUs, heavy on the hop stand), Munich/Summit Saison, Oatmeal Saison, and Black Saison.
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Old 01-18-2008, 02:15 PM   #2
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1. You can get the temperature waaay down, pretty much to freezing, without hurting the yeast. However, you won't get much (if any) fermentation at such temperatures. Different yeasts behave differently, but I don't know of any brewer's yeast that effectively ferments at near freezing temperatures.

2. You don't really need to rack to a secondary, but you do need to lager the beer. Typically, that involves keeping the beer at near freezing temperatures (typically 34F) for at least six weeks. Sometimes, you need to keep it longer than that to develop the crisp, clean, clear lager character.

On that, lagers should be clear, even dunkels. Even though it's fairly dark in the fermenter, you can tell the difference once it's in a glass. That clarity comes with proper lagering.

3. To get proper carbonation from bottle priming, you need fermentation. As I mentioned above, you will not get effective fermentation at near freezing temperatures. Keep the bottles at room temperature until they are properly carbonated. Then, you keep them in the laundry room at those colder temperatures.

There are a couple other things, though. Nearly every lager yeast does its best work around 50F, not at room temperature or near freezing temperatures. They also like consistent temperature. They were developed to ferment in cellars that provided those sort of conditions. If you are going to brew more lagers, give them those conditions, and they will make you happier.


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Old 01-19-2008, 02:33 AM   #3
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not to hijack this post. what about making a starter? should the starter be kept around 50 degrees? i'm doing my first lager next week and i'm going to do the starter in a few days. i'm using a wyeast activater pack.
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Old 01-19-2008, 03:09 AM   #4
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you can make the starter a normal room temp, but then cool to your pitching temp (usually 48º-50ºor even a couple degrees cooler)decant and pitch
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