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Carbing a Lager

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gresc

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I'm about to brew my first Lager. I think I know what to do but I'd like to transfer to a corny keg as my secondary. The only reason is that it fits nicely in my fridge and I can control the temp down w/o a problem.

So, my question is will it naturally carb over the month or so spent in the keg ? I'm guessing the yeast will still be busy as the temp lowers but I'm not sure if it produces any signficant amount of CO2.

:mug:
 

PeteOz77

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Is it a good idea to bring the brew back up to room temps for a while to make sure the yeast has finished off, even if you are going to force carbonate it in a keg?
 

moger777

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PeteOz77 said:
Is it a good idea to bring the brew back up to room temps for a while to make sure the yeast has finished off, even if you are going to force carbonate it in a keg?
You might need to do a diacetyl rest after fermentation is complete and before cold lagering depending on what style lager you are doing and whether or not you started out at lager yeast temperature and than gradually dropped down to 54 degrees or not. When force carbonating you do not need to add sugar and raise back up to room temperature. In fact you wanna keep it cold because CO2 will dissolve in beer better at lower temperatures.
 

Kaiser

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This is an article that explains the carbonation process for lagers to some extend.

Force carbonation works for most brewers. I like to carbonate my lagers naturally since it makes sampling easier (no CO2 hook-up nessecary) and the beer is ready to drink once it comes out of lagering. Given healthy enough yeast you can also force carbonate at 50*F. It just takes longer. I'm currently doing this with most of my lagers since my basement doesn't get warmer than 52 *F and the temp in the house flucculates way to much.

Kai
 
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gresc

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OK I'm reading my question again and it's vauge. Sorry.
I'm wondering if the yeast is active enough or at all during the lagering period to produce CO2. If so, can that CO2 be trapped in a corny kegged such that it ends up carbing the beer. In this case you're not connecing a CO2 tank rather you're just relying on the fermentaion process similiar to naturally carbing but you wouldn't add additional sugar. I found a technique called Spundungsapparat but there's just not enough detail on how this works.
 

Kaiser

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gresc said:
I'm wondering if the yeast is active enough or at all during the lagering period to produce CO2. If so, can that CO2 be trapped in a corny kegged such that it ends up carbing the beer. In this case you're not connecing a CO2 tank rather you're just relying on the fermentaion process similiar to naturally carbing but you wouldn't add additional sugar. I found a technique called Spundungsapparat but there's just not enough detail on how this works.
Most of this should be decribed in the article.

It's actually a matter of 2 things: enough sugars and enoug yeast activity. The first one is easy if you add sugars or make sure there is enough extract left in th beer when racking to the corny. Yeast activity is tricky. Sure the yeast is active during lagering, but it may not be active enough to consume all the sugars it is supposed to consume and you end up with an overly sweet beer. I recommend getting within 0.4-0.2 *P (1 to 0.5 gravity points) of your target FG (if you know it from a fas ferment test) before starting the lagering. Or you can monitor the pressure increase and/or blow-off from the Spundungsapperat and start lagering when that dropped significantly. I's not as preceise as the FG method though.

I get most of the carbonation from a secondary fermentation (with Kraeusen) in a corny keg before I move the keg to the lagering fridge and because the fermentation temp is around 50*F it takes a long time for the yeast to finish the last few % of fermentable sugar.

Edit: It's your first lager and for that I suggest 4 weeks in the primary at 50 *F and then another month of lagering. Use force carbonation to carb it and try more advanced approaces later. There are lots of ways you can get the fermentation stuck and you'll end up with a sweeter than desired beer.

Kai
 
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gresc

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Thanks Kaiser, agreed I'm keeping the first one simple. The articel that you referenced is what got me thinking of this; it just wasn't clicking. I just never heard of Spundungsapperat but it seemed like a neat technique. Thanks for the advice.
 

PeteOz77

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moger777 said:
You might need to do a diacetyl rest after fermentation is complete and before cold lagering depending on what style lager you are doing and whether or not you started out at lager yeast temperature and than gradually dropped down to 54 degrees or not. When force carbonating you do not need to add sugar and raise back up to room temperature. In fact you wanna keep it cold because CO2 will dissolve in beer better at lower temperatures.
I started fermentation at 19°C (66F) and dropped it within 24 hours to 10°C (50°C) It has been fermenting for 8 days and still gurgling away. I plan to keg it in snother 6 days, carbonate it and then push it to the back of the ridge adn forget about it for at least a month. I don't have a seconday, or enough room in my lagerator for one if I did have one.

Does this process sound adequate?

Would it be better to not carbonate the brew and just fill the headspace with C02, or won't this affect the lagering process?
 

Kaiser

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PeteOz77 said:
I plan to keg it in snother 6 days, carbonate it and then push it to the back of the ridge adn forget about it for at least a month. I don't have a seconday, or enough room in my lagerator for one if I did have one.
That sounds fine if this is what you have. Most of my lagers remain at fermention temp for a few weeks while already in the secondary. And they start tasting pretty good after a while. There is no problem in having the beer carbonated already.

Kai
 
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