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Question about lager conditioning

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Dr_Horrible

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I am doing my first lager recipe, and typically my LHBS's recipes tell you to rack to a secondary, which I normally skip unless I'm dry hopping.

Well for the lager, since it has been fermenting for about 2 weeks and it'll condition another 3-4 weeks in cold temperatures, is it important to rack to a secondary? I've heard that if you keep it in your primary for too long you can get off flavors, but I'm not sure if this would be that situation or not.

My second question is - can I condition directly in the keg? My keezer is at 40F, and this is the temperature that they recommend conditioning the lager at. If I just siphon directly into the keg and give it 3-4 weeks before drinking, would this be essentially the same thing? The benefit here is that it will be carbonating at the same time, so it would save me 1-2 weeks trying to get it carbed up because it will be conditioning and carbing at the same time (and my Oktoberfest will be ready by October!)

The only catch here is that they recommend you drop to 40F over 2 days, and if I just throw it in the keezer, I imagine it'll drop to 40F in less than that (maybe 6-12 hour?). Not actually sure how fast it would drop in the keezer, since the probe is on one of the kegs so it probably has good thermal mass.
 

Yooper

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You can definitely lager in the keg. After the diacetyl rest, you can rack to the keg and begin lagering. I always rack off of the yeast cake before lagering, and a keg is the perfect lagering (and serving) vessel.
 
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Dr_Horrible

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Great, thanks!

The recipe says to lower to 40F over 2 days, how necessary is this? What is the gradual decrease trying to accomplish?
 

Justdrumin

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Great, thanks!

The recipe says to lower to 40F over 2 days, how necessary is this? What is the gradual decrease trying to accomplish?
I learned a lot about lagers from Yooper. She told me the gradual decrease is to get to lagering temps without knocking the yeast down. Yeast cleans up a bit while lagering, hence the clear crispness. I've done exactly what you're explaining because of time restraints and it came out great!
 
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