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Lagering - Fermentation Cycles?

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CowboyShootist

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Greetings,

I am working on my next batch of beer and found an interesting recipie in Papazian's Joy of Home Brewing. The recipie is the Rocky Raccoon Honey Lager and it look pretty straightforward to prepare. The instructions are a little vague on the actual fermentation process, however, and that is my question.

I have looked at other lagering recipies and it would seem that you need to do the primary fermentation at 50-55 degrees for 1-2 weeks (or sometimes longer) and then a secondary fermentation at 35-45 degrees for 2-4 weeks (or longer).

What I am looking for is a basic recommendation. Is there a good rule of thumb, say Primary at 55 for 2 weeks and then Secondary at 45 for 4 weeks? I've seen some comments that you can do the secondary in the bottle while carbonating the brew. Good idea or total nonsense?

Thanks in advance.
 

menschmaschine

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In your case, I'll refer to "secondary" as "lagering". You can lager in the bottles, but if you have the equipment/ability to lager in a secondary container, I would do that, then bottle.

To answer your questions, it's somewhat dependant on OG, but here is a typical lager fermentation cycle:
1. Primary for ~ 2 weeks @ 50°F
2. Near end of primary fermentation (krausen falling), allow temp to rise to 60-65°F for a diacetyl rest (1-2 days). Then slowly (5°F/day) cool back down to 50°F.
3. Rack to secondary container.
4. Slowly cool (~5°F/day) to ~33°F. (Some brewers prefer to "crash" cool it right to ~33°F)
5. Lager at this temp for ~4 - 8 weeks depending on OG and how dextrinous the beer is (for simplicity's sake, we'll say how high or low the FG is). For medium OG lagers (1.050) of a medium attenuation (FG... say 1.012), lagering for about 6 weeks would be good.
 
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CowboyShootist

CowboyShootist

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Thank you for the info. This pretty much falls within the various responses I have seen on other sites and have read about in various Home Brewing manuals.

We'll give it a try and see what happens.
 
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CowboyShootist

CowboyShootist

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One other dumb lagering question...

If you're lagering at or near freezing temperatures what do you do about your airlock? Do you need the airlock for the lagering? Maybe you could use a different liquid, like Vodka instead of water in the airlock? :) :)
 

mrburnsbud

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In your case, I'll refer to "secondary" as "lagering". You can lager in the bottles, but if you have the equipment/ability to lager in a secondary container, I would do that, then bottle.

To answer your questions, it's somewhat dependant on OG, but here is a typical lager fermentation cycle:
1. Primary for ~ 2 weeks @ 50°F
2. Near end of primary fermentation (krausen falling), allow temp to rise to 60-65°F for a diacetyl rest (1-2 days). Then slowly (5°F/day) cool back down to 50°F.
3. Rack to secondary container.
4. Slowly cool (~5°F/day) to ~33°F. (Some brewers prefer to "crash" cool it right to ~33°F)
5. Lager at this temp for ~4 - 8 weeks depending on OG and how dextrinous the beer is (for simplicity's sake, we'll say how high or low the FG is). For medium OG lagers (1.050) of a medium attenuation (FG... say 1.012), lagering for about 6 weeks would be good.
This is great information. I don't have the means to keg with co2. After going thru the process above. How would you recommend naturally carbing and bottling. Im doing a pilsner urquell clone with Wyeast (Urquell) and 1.052 OG
 

menschmaschine

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This is great information. I don't have the means to keg with co2. After going thru the process above. How would you recommend naturally carbing and bottling. Im doing a pilsner urquell clone with Wyeast (Urquell) and 1.052 OG
You can just bottle like normal... corn sugar, store at room temp, drink in 3 weeks. If you use a malt-based sugar (DME, LME, saved wort), I'd recommend carbing at primary fermentation temps (~50°F).
 
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