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Lagering an ale?

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Dude

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Is there any benefit? Drawbacks?

The reason I ask is I have a really cloudy batch in secondary right now and I wanted it clearer without adding gelatin or polyclar to it. Will the colder temps help that yeast settle to the bottom?

I'm assuming ale yeast at lager temps will make it go dormant and the beer won't age properly, but I wanna hear it from the experienced brewers first....

Thanks!
 

homebrewer_99

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As you already know, there are not real set rules, but there are actions and consequences.

Leaving an ale in the secondary to clarify is a good thing, but I would not lower the temp to lagering temps. Just let the brew sit. It'll clear in it's own time.

Meanwhile, "Relax, Have a Homebrew!"

Quick question...is there something you don't like about clarifiers?
 

bikebryan

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I have to disagree with the above post. It is perfectly acceptable to take you ale and put it in the refrigerator for a while. It's not usually referred to as "lagering" and ale though; usually you hear this referred to as cold conditioning. I do it with all my ales, for anywhere from one to two weeks (so one week in primary, one week in secondary at room temp, then one to two weeks cold conditioning time).
 
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Dude

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bikebryan said:
I have to disagree with the above post. It is perfectly acceptable to take you ale and put it in the refrigerator for a while. It's not usually referred to as "lagering" and ale though; usually you hear this referred to as cold conditioning. I do it with all my ales, for anywhere from one to two weeks (so one week in primary, one week in secondary at room temp, then one to two weeks cold conditioning time).

Sounds like the same thing to me. Lager means "storage" in German.
So is the purpose of cold-conditioning to clarify it?
 

DeRoux's Broux

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homebrewer_99 said:
As you already know, there are not real set rules, but there are actions and consequences.

Leaving an ale in the secondary to clarify is a good thing, but I would not lower the temp to lagering temps. Just let the brew sit. It'll clear in it's own time.

Meanwhile, "Relax, Have a Homebrew!"

Quick question...is there something you don't like about clarifiers?
it is okay to "lager" an ale. usually called "conditioning" for ales, but same concept. i was at a little micro-brewery in Blanco, TX this weekend. they ferment their ales @ 68 degrees for 4 days, then condition @ 32 degree for 3 weeks, force carbonate, then bottle/keg. and let me tell ya, my next ale is gonna go through the same process. their beers are damn good too.....

cheers!
DeRoux's Broux
 

bikebryan

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ORRELSE said:
Sounds like the same thing to me. Lager means "storage" in German.
So is the purpose of cold-conditioning to clarify it?
Close. Lager needs to be cold-conditioned during the fermentation process; ale doesn't - and that's the only major difference.

I don't know all the reasons why cold-conditioning is done, but I can testify that it seems to help with clarity, at least a little, and it also affects the taste as all yeast activity stops.
 

homebrewer_99

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True, the "cold conditioning" does aid ales and lagers in clarification, but I read his question as though he were still "fermenting" in his secondary.

Fermenting (while still in the secondary) and bottle conditioning (after bottling) are two different processes that should not to be confused with each other.

Bottle conditioning is not lagering. Lagering constitutes beer setting for months prior to drinking, not 2-3 weeks. Remember, Oktoberfest (which actually starts in September - 6 months later) beer is made in March (hence a "Marzen" or March in German).

As far as "fermenting" ales at lower temps there is always the risk of the yeast going dorment because it is not designed for those temps. If you can get it to work at the lower temps then go for it. It'll work, but it'll take much longer.

Lager mean "to store" in German, we (Americans) translate that into "aging". Of course, lagering is not a term generally referred to when speaking about ales.
 
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I saw interesting commentary from the White Labs web site related to "Cold Conditioning". To quote:

[ When fermentation activity subsides, check the gravity. If fermentation is complete, bottle the beer or transfer the fermentor to 40°F for 1 week to cold condition. Bottling or transfer to cold should take place 14 to 30 days after brewing. http://www.whitelabs.com/homebrew.html ]

They're referring to primary ferment BTW. They don't say why to cold condition but thought of this thread when I read it. This of course won't work for Janx :D (where is he anyway; Hawaii?)
 
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