Originally Posted by Beerdoc
Let me get this straight because I think I have it all wrong. For this upcoming lager, I should ferment at cool temps (50-ish) then rack to secondary. Does the lagering occur AFTER bottle conditioning? Assuming it does, at what temp should the secondary stay and for how long before bottling?
Lagering is a process that occurs at low temperatures when the yeast has to live of its fermentation by-products (mostly esters) because there is nothing left. Because of the low temperatures it does not autolyze during this time. It's usually done after carbonating the bottles. I would still keep the beer the secondary for about 2 weeks around 50F so the fermentation can complete and the beer can clear out further. Then you prime and bottle. It's up to you if you want to bother adding a small amount of fresh yeast. Once he beer has carbonated it's time to lager. Over the course of a few days bring it down to 32F-35F and keep it there for a month.
If you don't want to lager, you can also just age it at cellar temperatures (50F) after it has carbonated.