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Lagering Techniques

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DeRoux's Broux

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Well, I've been looking for a decent sized chest freezer to start my lager beers, and can't seem to find one w/out spending another $200 bucks. A brew-dude in my HBC said he had an extra fridge that he would give me to start lagering. What the hell right? All I need is the external thermostat control and I'm ready to go.
So, to the question:
1. Who lagers? Do you wait for visual ferm in the ferm lock then move to cooler temps? Or do you move it to 55 temp right after pitching yeast?
2. What's your technique? Do you set your temp around 55 and primary ferm for 10-14 days, then drop to 33 and lager for 4-6 weeks?
3. Do you use carboys or corny's for lagering?
4. Do you worry about condensing wort that draws in "air" from inside the cooling vessel?

I figure I can brew two days in a row and have two brews lagering in a fridge at one time.

Cheers!
DeRoux's Broux
 

Janx

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I lager old-school...ie make lager in the winter and ferment it in the shed ;)

If I got a chest freezer, I might get more particular about it, but doing lagers in the winter works pretty darn well. We made a few bocks and pilsners this winter. In all honesty, I prefer ales to lager very much anyway.

Good luck in your project! :D
 
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DeRoux's Broux

DeRoux's Broux

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Janx said:
I lager old-school...ie make lager in the winter and ferment it in the shed ;)

If I got a chest freezer, I might get more particular about it, but doing lagers in the winter works pretty darn well. We made a few bocks and pilsners this winter. In all honesty, I prefer ales to lager very much anyway.

Good luck in your project! :D
i wish i was so lucky to live somewhere that has 4 seasons! winters here are crazy. 35 one day, 79 the next. hell, i can't tell you how many times we wore shorts and flip-flops at christmas and had ice at new years. too unpredictable. i'd probably end up w/ the "funk" beers :D
i like ales to, but i would like to be able to do a good bock, octoberfest, and even a plzen every now and then........
 

BitterRat

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DeRoux's Broux said:
Well, I've been looking for a decent sized chest freezer to start my lager beers, and can't seem to find one w/out spending another $200 bucks. A brew-dude in my HBC said he had an extra fridge that he would give me to start lagering. What the hell right? All I need is the external thermostat control and I'm ready to go.
So, to the question:
1. Who lagers? Do you wait for visual ferm in the ferm lock then move to cooler temps? Or do you move it to 55 temp right after pitching yeast?
2. What's your technique? Do you set your temp around 55 and primary ferm for 10-14 days, then drop to 33 and lager for 4-6 weeks?
3. Do you use carboys or corny's for lagering?
4. Do you worry about condensing wort that draws in "air" from inside the cooling vessel?

I figure I can brew two days in a row and have two brews lagering in a fridge at one time.

Cheers!
DeRoux's Broux
1.) I pitch a large starter and I put the fermenter into 50ºF right away and let it go.
2.) I primary for about 7-10 days at 46-50ºF, then take the fermenter and put it at room temp for about 4 days for a diacetyl rest, then put it back into the cooler and drop back to primary temp, rack to secondary, hold at 46ºF for a week then drop to lagering temp for 3-4 weeks and keg it. Seems like alot of steps, but it really isn't bad and 3-4 weeks lagering is pretty short.
3.)carboy for lagering
4.)no
 

ryser2k

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Janx said:
I lager old-school...ie make lager in the winter and ferment it in the shed ;)

If I got a chest freezer, I might get more particular about it, but doing lagers in the winter works pretty darn well. We made a few bocks and pilsners this winter. In all honesty, I prefer ales to lager very much anyway.

Good luck in your project! :D
Doesn't it ever freeze on you? I was thinking of trying the same thing but I'm afraid Pennsylvania winters might get too cold... How important is it to maintain a steady temperature after the primary fermentation has taken place?
 
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DeRoux's Broux

DeRoux's Broux

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BitterRat said:
1.) I pitch a large starter and I put the fermenter into 50ºF right away and let it go.
2.) I primary for about 7-10 days at 46-50ºF, then take the fermenter and put it at room temp for about 4 days for a diacetyl rest, then put it back into the cooler and drop back to primary temp, rack to secondary, hold at 46ºF for a week then drop to lagering temp for 3-4 weeks and keg it.
hey rat, how are your lag times? i assume you chill the wort close to 50 before you pitch?
curious about the room temp for diacetyl rest for 4 days. why not raise the fridge/freezer to 60 for 24-48 hours?
not too worried about time. i can consume my ales while those puppies lager a bit :D

thanks for the feedback. not too many people here in SE TX do much lagering. right pain in the arse!

DeRoux's Broux
 

Janx

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ryser2k said:
Doesn't it ever freeze on you? I was thinking of trying the same thing but I'm afraid Pennsylvania winters might get too cold... How important is it to maintain a steady temperature after the primary fermentation has taken place?
I live in sunny Northern California, dude. We get some frosts, but it really doesn't freeze hard enough to freeze a beer, especially in the shed.

As far as stability of the temp...I'm sure serious lager folks would say it's important, but beers I make this way turn out just fine. I'd say you can get as particular about it as you want. I choose not to be too particular about it.

Remmeber, it's not like a lager yeast won't ferment if you don't hit the perfect temp for it. You just may not get the same profile if you ferment it warmer or the temperature varies a lot. This is another one of those things you can worry about or not. I don't, as usual :D
 
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DeRoux's Broux

DeRoux's Broux

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Janx said:
Remmeber, it's not like a lager yeast won't ferment if you don't hit the perfect temp for it. You just may not get the same profile if you ferment it warmer or the temperature varies a lot. This is another one of those things you can worry about or not. I don't, as usual :D
i don't know if you guy's have ever heard of Saint Patrick's of Texas (they made conical fermentors, brew kettles, etc)? they are/were a homebrew supplier for several years in Austin, TX. they have moved on to supporting microbreweries and wineries w/ equipment, but they alsways said you could brew a beer w/ lager yeast at ale temps. they even had a little write up on their homepage that they talked about it w/ several yeast suppliers, and they agreed. like Janx said, you may not fit the style profile, but i'm sure it will be a beer worthy of a good session! :p
 

Janx

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Anchor Steam is brewed with lager yeast at ale temps...lager yeast doesn't require cold temps and may ferment much more quickly at higher temps. But it *tolerates* lower temps and generates that characteristic clean lager profile at low temps. Ale yeast won't do its thing at cold temps for the most part.
 

BitterRat

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DeRoux's Broux said:
hey rat, how are your lag times? i assume you chill the wort close to 50 before you pitch?
curious about the room temp for diacetyl rest for 4 days. why not raise the fridge/freezer to 60 for 24-48 hours?
not too worried about time. i can consume my ales while those puppies lager a bit :D

thanks for the feedback. not too many people here in SE TX do much lagering. right pain in the arse!

DeRoux's Broux
I pitch at room temp, then drop it down to primary temp. For the diacetyl rest, I usually have beers being served in the same freezer, so I don't want to warmthemup, so I take the fermenting beer out of the freezer and place it on the floor.
 

AlaskaAl(e)

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Janx said:
I lager old-school...ie make lager in the winter and ferment it in the shed ;)

If I got a chest freezer, I might get more particular about it, but doing lagers in the winter works pretty darn well. We made a few bocks and pilsners this winter. In all honesty, I prefer ales to lager very much anyway.

Good luck in your project! :D

No way would that work in Anchorage in the winter....but spring?....hmmmmm :confused:
 

Janx

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rightwingnut said:
Someone explain diacetyl rest for me....
It's a fancy term for "leaving the beer in the fermenter a bit longer". Fermentation produces diacetyl, but then once fermentation is complete, yeast will reabsorb diacetyl. For most lagers, you really don't want diacetyl, so you warm it up to ~60 degrees or so (guessing) and let it sit a while longer.

It's just another reason your beer tastes better if you leave it in the secondary a bit longer. Cheers! :D
 
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