Cold conditioning, or cold crashing versus lagering

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VikeMan

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I'll take a whack at it.

Cold Crashing: Reducing the temperature of a finished beer for a relatively short amount of time, i.e. days, in order to get much of the suspended matter to drop out before packaging. Usually done in a primary fermenter.

Lagering = Cold Conditioning: Reducing the temperature of a finished beer for weeks or months, in order to get suspended matter to drop out and get a very clear beer, i.e. clearer than what can be obtained from just cold crashing . Usually done in a secondary vessel or serving keg. Technically, every beer that's stored cold for an extended period of time is being lagered.
 

hotbeer

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Pretty much what he said above. I'll add:

Lagering is usually done with bottom fermenting yeast. Cold crashing is something you usually hear being done by those of us making ales and IPA's with top fermenting yeast. However I don't cold crash. I feel that I get better or at least just as good a result by waiting additional time for everything to drop out of suspension. Might take 3 days longer or might take 3 weeks longer. I'm not in a hurry.
 

Cloud Surfer

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Many of my beers I cool to 2C for a few days before bottling to clear them up. I call that cold crashing.

My big beers, such as Imperial Stouts, Barley Wines and Belgians I transfer from primary to conditioning keg for 3 to 6 months at 10C before bottling. I call that cold conditioning.

My lagers I transfer from primary to conditioning keg for up to 3 months at 2C before bottling. I call that lagering.
 

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