Conical Fermenters and Lagers

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auburntsts

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I realize that one of the benefits of a conical fermenter is that there's no necessity for racking into a secondary. However, for lagers that would tie the fermenter up for a considerable amount of time wouldn't it? So to get more utilization out of a relatively pricey piece of kit (e.g. a SS model) do folks rack into a secondary for lagering in order to free the conical up for the next beer (of any type)?

Also, if you want to perform a diacetyl rest, how do you determine when to begin the rest absent a visual indicator that primary fermentation is slowing down, like the krausen being fall? A SG reading that's a certain percentage from the OG or the predicated FG? Some other way?
 

eujamfh

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I think you can do either option. I usually leave my lagers in the conical for two months and then keg cold conditioning in the keg. As for the D rest, I base it on time...after a week or so I raise the temp a bit to get things cleaned up and then drop it back down...my method is not precise but it works for the Vienna lager that is usually in the rotation. I used to put them in secondary but I got away from that with buying more containers from CL. :)
 

CRZ

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I make my lagers in the cold winter months. I turn my whole heated garage into a temperature controlled environment. You have to do some trial and errors to see what works best for yourself.
I use to tie up my conical (fast fermenter) for 2 months but not anymore. Now I just use the "quick lager method". From yeast to wort to beer to keg in 9-12 days.
I make a big yeast starter the week before around 2-3 liters and put it in the fridge. I pull the yeast out and decanter the beer from it leaving around 1/2 inch on the yeast cake. Swirl it up and leave it on the counter for an hour.
I'll get the wort into the conical and add about 1 cup or a bit more to the yeast jar. In about 1 hr the krausen will be pushing the lid off. I'll then take the yeast jar and dump it all into the conical at low temp depending on the yeast you use.
In 3 days my SG will be 1/2 way from FG or a bit closer. I take readings to achieve this.
I'll then ramp up the temp for a diacetyl rest of 3 days. I'll take another reading and see I hit the FG.
I then lower the temp to above freezing for 24hrs then take the yeast off and put it in the fridge.
I now fin with gelatin for a day or 2. I get rid of the first liter or so of beer and keg the good remaining beer. Put it on gas in the kegerator and slowly start drinking it after 2 weeks.
That's the first one, now I'll start another. I start the same procedure but I'll just take that saved yeast out of the fridge. No need to make another starter.
Once the beer is kegged this time I'll leave it for 2 months or so on gas.
I'll keg around 5 different lagers in about 2 months this way. I start with the light lagers first and end with the dark one using the same yeast.
I'll then have all my lagers for the year.
I personally don't taste a difference from fermenting long compared to the quick lager method, but some do. This is MY way that I made to work the best for me. Oh and the people that drink my beer also say I should sell it :) legally of course.
 

Sadu

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If you have kegs then the keg is the best secondary. I give mine 2-3 weeks in the conical total. Start off at 50f then ramp up once things start to slow down. Then crash cool in the conical and rack to keg after a week. I don't bother with gelatin if the beer is getting a good lagering period, but otherwise I add gelatine in the conical. Kegs are great for long term storage since they are sealed, a good shape, not fragile, and relatively cheap. They fit into fridges way better than carboys / bottles / buckets too.
 

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