Lagers kept at 33 degrees? Freezing danger? - Home Brew Forums

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Old 09-04-2008, 07:03 AM   #1
Tankard's Avatar
Oct 2007
Santa Barbara
Posts: 712

When the lagering process has begun, the accepted rule is that the temperature should be at 33-34 degrees for a month or more. My chest freezer and ranco controller will turn on until the target temperature is reached, but the temperature often dips lower than that and then slowly climbs back up.

I ran a test on my setup at 48 degrees with a 3 degree differential. At 51 it would turn on the compressor until it got to 48. It would turn off at 48, but it would go down to about 43 before it started going back up. This was the ambient air temperature and not the liquid temperature, but still, if 33 is the target temperature, and it dips to 28 or so before it starts climbing, won't the freezing temperatures harm the batch? Has anybody lagered and ran into this problem?

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Old 09-04-2008, 10:59 AM   #2
Professor Frink
Professor Frink's Avatar
Sep 2006
San Diego, CA
Posts: 3,085
Liked 19 Times on 16 Posts

Shouldn't be an issue. Pure water freezes at 32 degrees, but the freezing temperature of beer is actually lower due to the alcohol content and other things dissolved in the beer.
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:48 PM   #3
Sep 2007
Central Coast
Posts: 544
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Most breweries keep the beer stored at -.5C. Just under freezing the whole time during storage.

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Old 09-04-2008, 01:59 PM   #4
menschmaschine's Avatar
Jun 2007
Posts: 3,272
Liked 41 Times on 33 Posts

Yeah, I think most beer won't freeze until around 28dF. I use an analog Johnson controller, which has a 4 degree differential. So, if I want it at 34dF, I'll set the controller to 32, knowing that the freezer will kick on at 36dF and turn off at 32dF. This will keep the beer at a constant temp of 34. I also attach the probe to the fermenter and insulate it (tape and bubble wrap) to get an accurate reading of the beer temp instead of ambient temp. The only time I froze beer was when I accidentally left the probe out of the freezer all together. Luckily I use Better Bottles which are flexible and didn't crack like glass would have. Turned out to be one of my clearest and tastiest beers!

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